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Parliamentary questions
4 March 2011
E-002007/2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Jens Rohde (ALDE)

 Subject: The preinstallation of Microsoft Windows
 Answer(s) 

On 8 February 2011 a review of the free software program ‘Ubuntu’ was broadcast on ‘Gratis og helt Ubuntu’ in the programme ‘so ein Ding’ on the Danish TV channel DR2*.

According to the review, the software program Ubuntu was quite satisfactory and considered to be comparable to Windows and Mac OS. But when users buy a computer in the EU, Microsoft is preinstalled. Users therefore have to remove the preinstalled Windows in order to install Ubuntu. This means that they are not free to choose which software program they want to install and use on their computer.

Tying two separate products may have an anti-competitive exclusionary effect on the tied market, because it can reduce the number of potential buyers in the market for the tied product (see TFEU Art. 102(2)(d)). In a related case — T-201/04 of 27 September 2007 — the Commission found that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position in PC operating systems by tying Windows to Windows Media Player.

This leads me to ask the Commission if it believes that, or will consider whether, the sale of computers with preinstalled Windows hinders competition as regards software programs? If so, will the Commission then consider putting an end to the preinstallation of Microsoft Windows on computers?

 OJ C 294 E, 06/10/2011
Last updated: 14 March 2011Legal notice