Microsoft accused by EU of harming web browser competition, again

Gulp, here we go again. The European Commission is accusing Microsoft of unfairly dominating its competition by bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows OS. Yup, the very same argument heard in the US courts more than a decade ago after Netscape saw its 86% market share plummet in the face of a bundled IE. The commission, which already fined Microsoft $1.35 billion for anti-competitive practices in early 2008, has published the following preliminary view on the matter:

"Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice."

Microsoft has 8 weeks to reply to the charge. It's worth noting that while Apple bundles its Safari browser with OS X, Apple commands a much, much smaller share of the operating system and web browser markets globally, particularly outside of the US. The EU's ruling does, perhaps, shed some light on why Apple's App Store is suddenly stocked with a variety of browsers for the hot selling iPhone, eh? Regardless, we have a feeling that the Norwegian cats behind Opera are feeling pretty smug right about now; Google too, as it kicks back licking its Chromium chops on the road to dominating "The Cloud."

[Thanks, Marcus]