European Union Microsoft competition case

European Union Microsoft Competition Case

European Case
European Case Less

European Union Microsoft competition case

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The European Union Microsoft competition case is a case brought by the European Commission of the European Union (EU) against Microsoft for abuse of its dominant position in the market (according to competition law). It started as a complaint from Novell over Microsoft's licensing practices in 1993, and eventually resulted in the EU ordering Microsoft to divulge certain information about its server products and release a version of Microsoft Windows without Windows Media Player.

Initial complaints

In 1993, Novell said that Microsoft was blocking its competitors out of the market through anti-competitive practices. The complaint centered on the license practices at the time which required royalties from each computer sold by a supplier of Microsoft's operating system, whether or not the unit actually contained the Windows operating system. Microsoft reached a settlement in 1994, ending some of its license practices.

Sun Microsystems joined the fray in 1998 when it complained about the lack of disclosure of some of the interfaces to Windows NT. The case widened even more when the EU started to look into how streaming media technologies were integrated with Windows.


Citing ongoing abuse by Microsoft, the EU reached a preliminary decision in the case in 2003 and ordered the company to offer both a version of Windows without Windows Media Player and the information necessary for competing networking software to interact...
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