Microsoft: Executive extends inquiry to Windows 8
By Sophie Mosca | Friday 20 July 2012
The European Commission will extend its inquiry into Microsoft, announced on July 17, to the software giant’s future operating system Windows 8, which has been developed for desktop PCs, smartphones and tablets.
A spokesman confirmed, on 19 July, that the EU executive was “examining allegations, not formal complaints, according to which Microsoft will use this version of Windows to discourage computer manufacturers from installing internet browsers competing with its own browser (Internet Explorer) on computers equipped with its future operating system, Windows 8”. In return for this ‘collaboration’ with partner manufacturers, such as Dell or HP, Microsoft would have co-financed their promotional campaigns.
The second target of the inquiry: Microsoft is suspected of not providing rival browsers with access to complete application programming interfaces (API) in Windows 8. According to Mozilla and Google, the companies that initally lodged complaints against Microsoft, this will limit the ability of its competitors to develop browsers other than Internet Explorer.
Moreover, in its new version of Windows for tablet computers, Microsoft does not give users the choice of browser (ballot screen).
All these actions, says the Commission, contravene Microsoft’s obligations, which became legally binding in 2009 for five years. However, the Commission’s decision only concerns software for ‘classic PCs’. It remains to be seen whether it will apply to software adapted specifically for tablet computers and smartphones, or whether the Commission should adopt a new decision taking into account the technological evolution that has taken place in the meantime. n