Europe takes on MS again over IE antitrust concerns

The European Commission (EC) has taken on Microsoft yet again, accusing the company of harming competition by bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with the Windows OS.

The EC sent a statement of objections to Microsoft on Thursday, warning the software firm it may be violating EC Treaty rules forbidding the abuse of a dominant market position.

Because bundling the OS with Internet Explorer makes the product available on 90% of the world's PCs, it distorts competition and provides Microsoft with an artificial distribution advantage, the commission has argued.

The commission is basing its decision on an earlier court battle, whereby the European Court of First Instance found that bundling Windows Media Player with Windows violated the EC Treaty.

In response, the Commission ordered Microsoft to offer manufacturers a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player. Microsoft agreed, but retained the rights to also offer a version with Windows Media Player included.