Way back in 1993, Novell made a complaint to the EU that Microsoft was indulging in anti-competitive practices. After much to-ing and fro-ing, the EU eventually decided (10 years later, in 2003) that Microsoft had to make a version of Windows without Windows Media Player available, and in 2006 hit the company with massive fines, totaling £1.07 billion.
Fast-forward to 2008, and the makers of the web browser Opera filed a similar complaint, claiming that bundling IE with Windows makes it tough for others to compete. I’m not convinced that’s true – Firefox has 20% market share – but clearly someone in the EU still has it in for Microsoft, because they’ve now filed a new complaint against Microsoft saying that IE must be unbundled.
Interestingly, a similar complaint was filed against Microsoft in the USA ten years ago, but it didn’t stick, and Microsoft still bundles IE with its operating systems. It’ll be fun to see whether the EU agrees, and could result in another massive payout. Poor Microsoft. In the meantime, I’m sticking with Chrome.