In 2007, Microsoft finally conceded defeat in its battle against the European Commission following the Court of First Instance's judgement upholding the decision to impose a fine of almost 500 million euros on Microsoft for abusing its dominant position. In 2008, we may see a new battle taking place following the European Commission's announcement that it has launched two new investigations into suspected abuses of dominance by Microsoft.
On 14 January 2008, the European Commission announced that it has commenced two formal investigations into alleged abuses of dominance by Microsoft, namely:
1) an investigation into the alleged refusal on the part of Microsoft to disclose interoperability information for a number of products (focussing on the Microsoft Office Suite, a number of server products and the .NET Framework). This follows a complaint by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems; and
2) an investigation into the alleged tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system by Microsoft. This follows a complaint by a competing internet browsing software company, Opera. This investigation will also consider other alleged instances of illegal tying of other products with the Windows operating system (e.g. Windows Live).
These investigations relate to the same type of abuses heard before the Court of First Instance in 2007(albeit in respect of different products and circumstances). However, the European Commission has stated that the launch of the investigations does not imply proof of an infringement and that instead it only signifies that it will investigate the case as a matter of priority. Only time will tell therefore whether there will be a second Microsoft/European Commission battle.