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EU watchdog: Microsoft concessions don't go far enough

By Matthew Shaer / June 12, 2009



A day after Microsoft offered to sell a browser-less Windows operating system to European customers, a regulatory board in Brussels said the American company had not gone far enough. "Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less," the European Commission, a watchdog agency for the European Union, said in a statement on Friday.

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As of yesterday, Microsoft had decided against bundling a browser with the new Windows 7, which goes on sale in Europe in October. But a spokesman for the European Commission said that the decision did not give users enough "genuine consumer choice."

In January, the European Union ruled that including Internet Explorer with Windows unfairly blocked competition with other browsers. Lawmakers considered forcing Microsoft to include rival browsers, such as Firefox and Chrome. Yesterday's announcement was a major concession to the EU.

"I don't think it's enough. It's too little, too late," Hakon Wium, the chief technology officer of Opera Software, a Microsoft competitor, told a reporter for Dow Jones. The same article quotes Thomas Vinje, a lawyer representing the anti-Microsoft lobby at the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, as saying Microsoft's announcement yesterday was "essentially an acknowledgment by Microsoft that it has been breaking the law."

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