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Microsoft Under Fire Again for Alleged Antitrust Violations - 2003-02-11

A coalition of Internet, computer and telephone companies has accused Microsoft of violating European antitrust law with its new operating system for home computers, Windows XP.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which is based in Washington, has filed a formal complaint with European Commission antitrust investigators.

The complaint charges that Windows XP illegally eliminates competition in new software and service markets. The group argues that the program is biased toward Microsoft's own software, making it difficult to use competing products. The complaint also charges that Windows XP especially threatens competition in mobile communications, video distribution, digital music, and new Web services.

The European Commission is handling a more than three year long probe of alleged anti-competitive practices by Microsoft. Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres said the new complaint will be dealt with separately.

"As you know the ongoing case we have is well advanced. We are hoping to conclude this case in the first part of 2003. And therefore we will continue with our ongoing case and we will look at this complaint, which we have received, separately," Ms. Torres said.

Meanwhile, a Microsoft spokeswoman in Paris said some issues in the new complaint appear to have been addressed in existing U.S. litigation. Microsoft settled a major dispute with U.S. authorities last year.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which filed the new complaint, includes big names such as Kodak, America Online, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and others.