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European Union May Order Microsoft to Bundle Other Browsers

50°
296w ago - The European Union's antitrust investigation team has released preliminary statements on how it will rule on the question of whether Microsoft abused its dominant market position to push the adoption of Internet Explorer; the remarks are not encouraging.

The investigation is not over–Microsoft still has time to issue its own formal response to further concerns the EU raised in January–but the company may need a Hail Mary pass to escape the penalty the EU is prepared to level.

Jonathan Todd, spokesperson for the EU Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes, gave the Web site [Register or Login to view links] a peek into what the commission is planning in the event that Microsoft cannot successfully answer the EU's questions.

"If the Commission's preliminary conclusions as outlined in the recent statement of objections were confirmed," Todd said, "the Commission would intend to impose remedies that enabled users and manufacturers to make an unbiased choice between Internet Explorer and competing third party web browsers." There's also a hefty fine attached to the remedy, but it's the browser issue we'll focus on.

"Unbiased," in this case, means "bundled." Under the proposed penalty,...
 

Microsoft accused on net browser

200°
359w ago - A complaint has been filed to the European Commission accusing Microsoft of stifling competition by tying its browser to Windows.

Opera Software said the close ties between Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows made it hard for rivals to be a serious choice for web users.

Opera also said Microsoft flouted web standards, making it much harder for browsers to be interoperable.

Microsoft said putting its browser in its operating system benefited users.

Unfair advantage

The EC confirmed that it had received the complaint from the Norwegian software firm and said it would be studied carefully.

The complaint said the bundling of IE with Windows gave the software giant an unfair advantage and made competition much more difficult.

In a statement Opera said it wanted the Commission to make Microsoft separate IE from Windows and pre-install alternative browsers on new PCs.

It also wants Microsoft to be forced to follow web specifications rather than its own "de facto" standards.

"Our complaint is necessary to get Microsoft to amend its practices," said Jason Hoida, Opera Software's deputy general counsel.

'Free to choose'

In response Microsoft said the company would co-operate with any enquiries and added:...
 
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