That news is only to be expected. It is a logical next step in the litigation. First you make a lot of noise on your reply brief to the allegation, then hope that the other side either back down or negotiate something more acceptable to you. Failing that, get powerful third parties involved. Regulators fit this bill perfectly. There is little downside if this does not work. At the minimum, if regulator accept the invitation to investigate, you gain a few years of delay. By then, the litigation might be decided by other factors.
Microsoft certainly expected this. It will be interesting to see how the regulator reacts. To me we do need clarification from it to see whether the way Microsoft’s goes about in this ‘Raise the cost for the competition’ strategy is legit. I have no doubt, as a strategy, ‘Raise the cost for the competition’ is a valid and legal strategy. However, this type of strategy has one major risk: One tend to be sail very close to, or being driven or drift to, dubious practices that the society and court will not tolerate. This is definitely one.