EU Opens Two New Microsoft Antitrust Probes

Antitrust regulators in the European Union (EU) apparently can't get enough of Microsoft: The European Commission (EC) announced Monday morning that it is pursuing two new antitrust probes of the software giant, this time focused on Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, respectively. The EU previously won an antitrust case involving Microsoft's Windows OS.

The probes are both the result of complaints from Microsoft's competitors, an increasingly easy way to get EU regulators on the case. The first complaint originated in 2006 by an industry group called the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which is led by IBM: They've complained that Microsoft refuses to release interoperability information for a wide range of products, including Office.

The second and arguably even more spurious complaint arose late last year when niche browser maker Opera complained that Microsoft was harming competition by continuing to bundle IE in Windows. Though Opera's browsers are popular on mobile computing devices, the company's PC-based browser is rarely used.

Both of these new complaints seem to be modeled after that investigation, using similar language and arguments. Microsoft says it will cooperate with the probes and intends to stay in full compliance with EU antitrust laws.

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