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EU investigating Windows RT for allegedly blocking browser choice

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The EU will be investigating Windows 8 RT and its Metro environment browser restrictions due to complaints from other browser manufacturers.

Samsung Series 9 Windows 8 Release Preview
Samsung Series 9 Windows 8 Release Preview

Yesterday the European Commission revealed that it was going to be investigating whether Microsoft had properly complied with a 2009 commitment to allow users to choose their default web browsers in Windows — and now eyes are turning towards Windows RT as well. Reuters is reporting that the EU will be looking into the tablet-focused version of Microsoft's upcoming operating system, and the decision to make Internet Explorer 10 the only available browser in the Metro environment. Mozilla raised a complaint about the restriction this past May, with a Microsoft attorney reportedly stating that the decision was due to battery life and security concerns unique to devices like tablets.

The news follows Microsoft's admission yesterday that a technical error had prevented some computers with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from seeing the browser choice screen as intended; the company has volunteered to add an additional 15 months to the compliance period dictated in 2009 to compensate for the oversight. As for Windows RT, it's unclear how investigators will view the browser decision in light of a marketplace that has shifted radically in recent years, with Apple's iPad currently dominating tablet sales, and recent statistics indicating that Internet Explorer may have been usurped by both Firefox and Chrome in European browser marketshare.