EU prepares second case against Microsoft

European competition authorities are preparing a second probe into alleged anti-competitive behaviour by Microsoft, the world's largest software company.

Mario Monti, the European Competition Commissioner, will rule on Wednesday that the company abused its near monopoly in the PC operating-system market. The ruling, which centres on Microsoft's Media Player software, will come after talks over a possible settlement broke down last week between Mr Monti and Microsoft's chief executive, Steve Ballmer. Microsoft now faces a fine of up to €2.5bn (£1.7bn).

But this ruling will open the door to a fresh European investigation into wider claims that the company violated European laws though its Windows XP operating system. The complaint was made by Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade organisation whose members include Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo!

A spokeswoman for Mr Monti said: "We are in preliminary investigations."

Ed Black, the president of CCIA, said: "We are pleased that the EC didn't settle as this will allow the European authorities to deal with future Microsoft cases. The Commission is taking our complaint seriously. It has sent the letters to us. The process is going on.

"A lot of people do not want to live in a Microsoft-only world. Microsoft has a way of making its anti-competitive tools support the monopoly efforts in other areas. If the commission finds the scheme anti-competitive then it will need to impose sweeping, structural remedies."

Microsoft said of the CCIA allegations: "We will look at the issues when they are raised and address them if necessary."

Wednesday's ruling will see the commission force Microsoft to produce two versions of its operating systems: one with the Media Player and a stripped down version without it.

PC makers will then have the choice of buying the basic operating system and doing a separate deal with one of Microsoft's rivals to supply software to play music and videos.

However, it is unclear whether the commission will force Microsoft to sell the stripped-down version at a lower price. "If there is no difference in price then the ruling will have no impact," said David Smith, a research fellow at Gartner. He also cast doubt on Microsoft's potential fine: "Even if Europe imposes the highest fine then Microsoft has the money. It would be a bump in the road."

Microsoft is expected to appeal against the ruling. A Microsoft spokesman said: "Microsoft and the commission have agreed to disagree. But we need to find a single rule on how to address future issues of technology integration. One way to do that is to take it to the courts and test it."

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?