Microsoft has violated European competition law by including Internet Explorer with Windows, according to the European Commission.
The Commission said other browsers are prevented from competing with IE because Windows includes Microsoft's own browser.
Furthermore, the remedies put in place under the US government's landmark 2002 antitrust settlement does not make IE's inclusion with Windows lawful under European law.
Under that ruling, Microsoft agreed to separate IE from Windows and allow users to de-select IE as their chosen browser. The idea was that users didn't get IE as a default from start up.
The ruling came in a Statement of Objections from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission and was issued after browser specialist Opera filed a complaint with the Commission a year ago. Opera alleged Microsoft was continuing to abuse its dominant position by tying its browser to Windows and by not following web protocols.
Microsoft now has two months to issue a written response to the directorate general and can request a hearing.
The company said in a statement that it's studying the statement of objections and is committed to conducting its business in full compliance with European law. Microsoft has included IE with Windows since 1996. ®