The two investigations follow recent complaints filed by European software concerns.
Just when Microsoft thought the bulk of its antitrust woes were behind it,
regulators in the European Union announced that they have opened two new such
investigations against the software maker.
The investigations will examine whether Microsoft abused its dominant
position in the market to unfairly tie its Web browser to the Windows operating
system, as well as look at the interoperability of Microsoft software with
The two investigations follow a recent complaint filed by Norwegian browser
developer Opera Software and a 2006 complaint brought by the European Committee
for Interoperable Systems, which counts Microsoft rivals
Nokia, Sun, RealNetworks and Oracle among its members.
A statement issued by the commission
said the ECIS complaint accuses Microsoft of illegally
refusing to disclose interoperability information across a broad range of
products, including information related to its Office suite, a number of its
server products and
also in relation to
"The Commission's examination will therefore focus on all these areas, including the question whether Microsoft's
new file format Office Open XML, as implemented in Office, is sufficiently
interoperable with competitors' products," the statement said.
The EU's challenge to Microsoft's desktop hegemony has been
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The complaint by Opera alleges that Microsoft is engaged in the illegal
tying of its Internet Explorer product to its dominant Windows operating
system, the commission said, noting that other allegations of Microsoft tying some
of its separate software products, including desktop search and Windows Live,
have also been brought to its attention.
"The Commission's investigation will therefore focus on allegations that a
range of products have been unlawfully tied to sales of Microsoft's dominant
operating system," it said. However, the commission noted "initiation of
proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of an infringement. It
only signifies that the Commission will further investigate the case as a
matter of priority."