Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission
Microsoft's behaviour could infringe EU competition rules if Microsoft were to implement anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market(s).
It should be noted that Microsoft is not present on the PC hardware market. It is primarily the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who act as intermediaries on behalf of end users, and provide them with an ‘out-of-the-box’ product, by combining PC hardware, a client PC operating system and applications for which there is demand.
The Commission is aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. At the moment, the Commission is, however, not in possession of evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules as laid down in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Commission will continue to monitor the developments in this field so as to ensure that competition and a level playing field are preserved amongst all market players.