European Union launches Windows 2000 antitrust investigation!

The European Union (EU) has launched an investigation of Microsoft Windows 2000 in an attempt to discover whether the new operating system has broken any of its antitrust laws. EU competition chief Mario Monti confirmed Wednesday that the agency was investigating the software giant because of its attempts to extend its dominance in desktop operating systems to servers and eCommerce.

"I have given the green light to start an examination into certain new features of Microsoft's next generation of operating system, Windows 2000," Monti announced at a press conference Wednesday. "Microsoft's competitors would be put at a significant competitive disadvantage \[because of the bundling of middleware in Windows 2000\]."

At issue is Microsoft's bundling of server software in Windows 2000, such as IIS, a Web server, and other middleware. Monti says that Microsoft bundles the software "in a way which permits only Microsoft products to be fully interoperable."

"Customers would be obliged to purchase Windows 2000 for servers and thereby it would shift outwards to the server market the technical barriers to entry which so far have afforded it its arguably strong position in the market for PC operating systems," said Monti \[rough translation\]. "Whoever gains dominance in the server software market is likely to control e-commerce too.

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