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European Commission Takes a Close Look at the Impact of Windows 2000 on Competition

Competitors allege Microsoft designed Windows 2000 to leverage its dominance in PC operating systems.

Microsoft is being put through the wringer again, and this time it's by competitors that say the company is trying to unfairly dominate the electronic commerce world through the launch of Windows 2000. Competitors, including Sun Microsystems, allege that "Microsoft has designed Windows 2000 in a way which will permit leveraging of its dominance in PC operating systems onto the market for server operating systems and, ultimately, that for thriving e-commerce," according to a statement released by the European Commission.

The allegations suggest that Microsoft has bundled its PC operating system with its own server software and other Microsoft software products-such as middleware-in a way that permits only Microsoft's products to be fully interoperable. If other companies providing servers are not compatible with Microsoft 2000, it would put them at a serious disadvantage, as it is commonly thought that the companies that dominate the server world will dominate the e-commerce arena. In response to the allegations, the European Commission's Competition Directorate General has requested Microsoft to provide information about the new technical features of Windows 2000 in accordance with EU antitrust rules. And the Commission will examine whether the allegations infringe upon the EC competition law.

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