The European Commission (EC) plans to prevent Microsoft from taking partial control of UK cable operator Telewest, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal .

It revealed that a draft ruling by the EC recommended blocking the $3bn deal, which would give Microsoft joint control of Telewest and Liberty Media.

The newspaper claimed EC regulators were worried that Microsoft could end up with too large a market share of the digital television software sector. This software is used to control the set-top boxes Telewest manufactures.

EC spokeswoman Amelia Torres refused to confirm the report. “There is a draft decision which has been sent to the Advisory Committee of national competition experts,” she said, “But I am not allowed to say what the draft decision says.”

She added that the EC has until August 4 to make a decision on the acquisition.