A familiar, and expensive, battle is to due to begin again, as the EU is taking Microsoft to task over anti-trust issues.

In a near-repeat of a former EU vs Microsoft issue over Media Player, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has objected to the software company bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with Windows systems.

The Commission says Microsoft has "prevented rival browsers from competing and had infringed EU rules on abuse of dominant position".

Microsoft has responded to the EU's Statement of Objections with the following lengthy statement:

"Yesterday Microsoft received a Statement of Objections from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission. The Statement of Objections expresses the Commission's preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law. According to the Statement of Objections, other browsers are foreclosed from competing because Windows includes Internet Explorer. The Statement of Objections states that the remedies put in place by the U.S. courts in 2002 following antitrust proceedings in Washington, D.C. do not make the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows lawful under European Union law".

"We are committed to conducting our business in full compliance with European law. We are studying the Statement of Objections now. Under European competition law procedure, Microsoft will be afforded an opportunity to respond in writing to this Statement of Objections within about two months. The company is also afforded an opportunity to request a hearing, which would take place after the submission of this response. Under EU procedure, the European Commission will not make a final determination until after it receives and assesses Microsoft’s response and conducts the hearing, should Microsoft request one".

Microsoft has 8 weeks to respond.