The European Commission confirmed today that it is merging its two antitrust [anticompetition] investigations into Microsoft's operating systems.

The Commission said it is also investigating allegations that Microsoft is illegally tying its Media Player product with its dominant Windows operating system.

"This Statement of Objections supplements one sent to the company a year ago and adds a new dimension to the Commission's concerns that Microsoft's actions may harm innovation and restrict choice for consumers," the EC said in a statement.

The EC, the executive body of the European Union, said Microsoft may have violated European antitrust rules by 'using illegal practices to extend its dominant position in the market for personal computer operating systems into the market for low-end server operating systems'.

Low-end server systems are cheaper servers usually used as file and print servers as well as web servers, the Commission said.