US: Is Windows’ Skype bundle repeating antitrust history?

Eyebrows in the antitrust community rose as news emerged that Microsoft is bundling its Windows 8.1 software with online voice communication application Skype appearing automatically at the start screen.

The bundling, announced by the tech company on Thursday, seems similar to some antitrust experts and members of the tech industry to Microsoft’s major antitrust battle with regulators over Microsoft’s practice of making its Internet Explorer web browser the default browser on its operating system.

Microsoft was sued by the US Department of Justice over allegations the company was abusing its monopoly position; the two settled the case in 2001 to avoid a court-ordered breakup of Microsoft.

Now, some say Microsoft is “testing the waters” with the appearance of Skype on its new homepage, though others say features – like a custom set-up process for users and previous bundling – suggest Microsoft is safe from any lawsuit regarding the matter.

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