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Parliamentary questions
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5 December 2012
Question for written answer E-011084-12
to the Commission
Rule 117
Amelia Andersdotter (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  UEFI Secure Boot and European Union competition law
 Answer in writing 

On 26 October 2012, all hardware manufacturers with products compatible with the Windows 8 operating system chose to adopt a system of secure booting which is created and implemented only by Microsoft Corporation. Keys for the encryption used by the so-called UEFI Secure Boot can only be obtained from Microsoft Corporation, and only at a price. UEFI Secure Boot cannot be disabled by the end-user who has acquired hardware compatible with the Windows 8 operating system, thereby effectively obliging him or her to buy an encryption solution from a vendor different from the hardware vendor in order to be able to run any software on that hardware, including software other than Microsoft Corporation software.

This appears to be an obvious case of vendor lock-in, whereby the end-user, by virtue of entering into an agreement with a party selling hardware, is also forced to make a purchase or rely on a product from a third party that he or she has not necessarily consented to enter into a business transaction with.

1. Has the Commission investigated, or is it planning to investigate in future, whether the hardware vendors who implemented these solutions without giving end-consumers the possibility of deactivating UEFI Secure Boot have breached EU consumer protection laws or EU competition law?

2. What resources are at the Commission’s disposal to remedy this infringement of end-consumers’ freedom to choose freely the software vendors with whom they wish to enter into business transactions?

 OJ C 339 E, 20/11/2013
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