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Europe Opens New Microsoft Inquiry

NYT - The European Commission said Tuesday that it was beginning new antitrust proceedings against Microsoft, saying the company had failed to live up to a three-year-old agreement to give users of its Windows software better access to competitors’ Internet browser software.

Microsoft immediately apologized, calling it a technical problem it had learned of only recently. “We deeply regret that this error occurred and we apologize for it,” the company said in a statement .

But the software giant could nonetheless face a substantial fine for breaching the Europe Union’s antitrust rules by defying the terms of a settlement.

“If the infringements are confirmed, there will be sanctions,” said Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission official in charge of antitrust enforcement. He vowed to use “legal instruments with all my capacity to deter and to punish.”