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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

September 20, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Spain opens anti-trust investigation into Microsoft

Spain’s National Competition Commission (CNC) says it has opened an investigation into possible restrictive practices on the part of Microsoft’s Spanish and Irish units on the grounds that the company allegedly blocked the sale by third parties of personal computer software licenses, according to The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.

[Update 10:53 a.m.: The issue apparently involves resellers who want to sell software second-hand under Microsoft’s volume licensing agreement.

CNC is looking into allegations that Microsoft, under its subsidiaries Microsoft Iberica, Unipersonal and Microsoft Ireland Operations, has abused its dominant position in impeding or unduly restricting the resale of software licenses for its products — notably operating systems for personal computers, according to a CNC news release. The investigation follows a complaint by Elegant Business. The authority has 18 months to investigate the case.

“We have received the formal notice on the CNC investigation, and will work closely with the authorities on the issues in hand,” according to a Microsoft spokesperson.]

Microsoft’s relationship with European anti-trust regulators has been rocky over the past decade, notes ZDNet.

The European Commission ordered the company to pay $613 million in fines in 2004, after an antitrust settlement over its Windows Media Player software was brought against the company, according to ZDNet. More recently, Microsoft was forced to display a ‘browser ballot’ screen for Windows users in Europe, allowing users to pick a browser of their choice, to open up competition away from Internet Explorer.

Earlier this year, Microsoft took an antitrust suit of its own against Google to the European Comission, alleging anti-competitive behaviour in Europe’s search market. Europe has been investigating Google’s search practices in the region, according to ZDNet.

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