26 August 2004 The European Commission (EC) has launched an investigation into an agreement between Microsoft and Time Warner to take joint ownership of a digital rights management company, ContentGuard.
The Commission is worried that the agreement to co-own ContentGuard will give Microsoft too much control in the digital management rights market.
ContentGuard develops copyright protection software for digital media distributed on the Internet, such as images and music files.
Earlier this year, the EC ruled that Microsoft abused its dominance in operating systems to kill off competition for digital media players.
Microsoft was fined and ordered to ship a version of its operating system that did not contain its media player. The penalties have been suspended while Microsoft appeals the decision.
Microsoft will comply with the investigation. Spokesperson Dirk Delmartino said: “We understand that this is a complex area.” He added that he was unaware of any such antitrust review in the US, as the deal did not cross any legal boundaries in the US.
The EC must report its findings by 6 January 2005.