EU says Microsoft pledged to meet antitrust requests on browsers

CERNOBBIO, Italy Sat Sep 8, 2012 12:57pm EDT

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Nokia phone launch, with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system in New York, September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Nokia phone launch, with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system in New York, September 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - Software giant Microsoft is ready to introduce measures that would address the European Union's antitrust concerns about users' ability to chose between different browsers, European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Saturday.

EU antitrust regulators are investigating whether Microsoft blocks computer makers from installing rival web browsers on its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, following complaints from several companies.

Almunia is in charge of antitrust enforcement at the European Commission.

"In my personal talks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer he has given me assurances that they will comply immediately regardless of the conclusion of the anti trust probe," Almunia said at an economic conference in northern Italy, adding that he considered the matter a "very, very serious issue."

The affair is part of an investigation opened in July into the world No. 1 software company's failure to offer users a choice of rival web browsers which it had agreed with regulators three years ago.

In its latest spat with the U.S. group, the EU watchdog is also looking into allegations that Microsoft does not provide access to complete interfaces (APIs) for non-default browsers in Windows 8.

Separately, Almunia said he was in favor of extending a temporary authorization for state aid for stricken Franco-Berlgian bank Dexia beyond a September30. deadline.

"But the most important thing is to advance on a final, structural solution about the future of the Dexia group," he said.

(Reporting by Lisa Jucca)

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Comments (4)
majkmushrm wrote:
I have no idea why anyone would use IE. It’s the lousiest browser on the market.

Sep 08, 2012 8:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cyke1 wrote:
Sad how EU is going over MS over IE being included yet Apple has been left untouched in the matter, yea i know apple is only tiny market share buts its a matter of principle. EU was even looking to sue MS over IE in windows RT, but Apple’s mobile OS includes Safari and EU hasn’t done jack about it with them? Like some people have commented EU since apple has so little market share won’t get much from apple, Windows being a Huge share means big $ in fines for the nearly bankrupt EU

Sep 08, 2012 12:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
majkmushrm wrote:
Amusing comment considering that Apple is worth quite a bit more than Micro$oft is. Also, Apple’s market share isn’t really tiny. I think the principle involved here is that Apple conforms to Unix standards for their APIs whereas Micro$oft has a history of just modifying things so that they are incompatible with everybody else and you really need the technical details from them to be able to be compatible. That’s why the EU isn’t worried about Apple – they play by the rules, Micro$oft doesn’t.

Sep 09, 2012 8:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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