Microsoft Investigated in Europe on Browser Choice in Windows RT

Third-parties say that Microsoft withheld APIs from them

Windows 8, the next-generation platform from Microsoft, will arrive on shelves on October 26th this year on both x86 and ARM devices, with a brand new UI and new choices when it comes to applications.

Windows 8 comes to shelves with support for Metro-style apps, which don’t run in the usual desktop mode, and which are extremely important for Windows RT (Windows 8 on ARM) users, since they represent the only type of apps available for them.

For that, Microsoft is facing investigations from the European Commission, as browser makers complained of the lack of support for their software on Windows RT devices.

Of course, the issue is a bit more complicated, since Microsoft will enable the use of some of its own apps, such as Office and Internet Explorer, in desktop mode, but it will ban all other software from using it.

Antoine Colombani from the European Commission's antitrust agency has already confirmed that an investigation is undergoing, to determine whether Microsoft is being fair and square in the manner in which applications in Windows RT are handled.

This is not the first time browser makers accuse Microsoft of withholding APIs from them, so as to put its Internet Explorer in a better position.

According to Computerworld, said APIs are related to non-default browsers on the platform, but no further details on the matter were provided.

When launched on shelves, Windows 8 and Windows RT will have Internet Explorer 10 set as the default browser. To use another browser both as Metro app and in desktop mode, people will have to set it as the default app instead of IE10.

At the moment, Microsoft has to display a Browser Choice Screen to users who have Internet Explorer set as default browser on their machines, to offer them the possibility to install Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari.

Windows RT devices are allegedly set not to display this screen, and the European Commission is looking into the matter.

Additionally, the Commission is also investigating allegations regarding Microsoft’s practice to pursue OEMs by means of payments or delays in payments from loading other browsers as default applications on Windows computers.

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