EU officials “vigilant” over Windows RT browser lockout

The EU has said it will keep a careful eye on the way Microsoft handles rival browsers in Windows RT following complaints from rival manufacturers.

EU officials

The Windows maker is facing criticism from Mozilla and Google over claims that rival browsers will have limited access to the desktop in the ARM version of the Windows 8.

Mozilla accused Microsoft of returning to the “dark ages” because although Windows 8 will support multiple browsers on its Intel-based varieties, ARM-centric RT will only give Microsoft’s Internet Explorer full access, with Chrome and Firefox relegated to Metro-style versions with reduced access to APIs.

Although the European Commission has yet to launch a full-scale investigation, it says it’s watching Microsoft’s behaviour to make sure it doesn’t breach competition agreements.

The Commission is aware of these allegations and will remain vigilant to ensure that Microsoft fully complies with its commitments

“The Commission is aware of these allegations and will remain vigilant [to ensure] that Microsoft fully complies with its commitments under the Commission’s 2009 decision on browsers,” Antoine Colombani, a spokesman the European Commission on compeition issues said in a statement sent to PC Pro. “This decision applies to Microsoft’s Windows operating system for PCs.”

The veiled warning to Microsoft relates back to a decision three years ago after European officials found that Microsoft had acted unfairly when it bundled Internet Explorer with Windows, prompting the browser ballot that forced Microsoft to offer other browsers to users.

The official wouldn’t be drawn on whether the market for tablets – where RT is expected to feature – would be treated in the same way as PCs.

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