European Commission accuses Microsoft of illegally tying Internet Explorer to Windows

Oslo, Norway and Brussels, Belgium – 17 January 2009

Following its investigation of Opera Software ASA’s antitrust complaint, the European Commission confirmed today that it sent Microsoft a Statement of Objections yesterday, accusing it of illegally tying Internet Explorer to the Windows PC operating system. Opera’s complaint filed in December of 2007 described how Microsoft has been abusing its dominant position in PC operating systems and preventing competition on the merits for internet browsers in favor of its own Internet Explorer. Opera requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to allow consumers a real choice of browser.

“On behalf of all Internet users, we commend the Commission for taking the next step towards restoring competition in a market that Microsoft has strangled for more than a decade. The Commission’s Statement of Objections demonstrates that the Commission is serious about getting Microsoft to start competing on the merits in the browser market and letting consumers have a real choice of internet browsers,” says Jon von Tetzchner, Chief Executive Officer, Opera Software.

The Statement of Objections comes almost a year and half after the judgment of the European Court of First Instance confirming the European Commission’s 2004 Decision that Microsoft had illegally tied Windows Media Player to Windows.

“The Court of First Instance’s judgment was clear that Microsoft illegally tied Media Player to Windows. We are not surprised that the Commission has issued a Statement of Objections based on the principles in that judgment. We are confident that the Commission will ultimately conclude that Microsoft has violated European competition law again and that it will take all necessary actions to restore competition and consumer choice in this important market,” says Jason Hoida, Deputy General Counsel, Opera Software.

The Commission’s action has not come a moment too soon as the internet browser, now more than ever, is the most important application on the PC.

“The browser is the consumer’s gateway to the Internet and a critical platform for application development itself. Today the Commission has confirmed that it will do what it can to make sure consumers are able to continue to freely enjoy one of the most important innovations in the history of humanity: the Internet,” says von Tetzchner.