An era ended Dec. 16, 2009, as the European Commission announced a formal close to its antitrust case against Microsoft, concluding an EU focus on the company that began in 1993. The most recent action comes after Microsoft agreed to include options for other browsers in its Windows operating system, leading the EU to drop charges it filed in January 2009 after a yearlong investigation.
Over the years, the EU has fined Microsoft $2.4 billion for antitrust violations. The original 1993 probe focused on Microsoft's licensing practices for its Windows operating system. More recently the EU centered on the bundling of its Media Player and Internet Explorer with Windows.
On the other side of the pond, also on Dec. 16, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission filed antitrust charges against Intel, which the EU hit with a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine in May. The U.S. charges allege Intel manipulated the market for computer chips, blocking rivals and forcing computer manufacturers into exclusive arrangements. The company faces a separate probe in New York, in addition to the EU fine it continues to fight.
In a Dec. 18 interview with USA Today, Intel CEO Paul Otellini called the entire case "misguided" and suggested the latest action will impede Intel's efforts to create new jobs.