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Opera sets its sights on Microsoft

Just when we all thought that things were finally dying down for Microsoft in the European Commission-based anti-trust case there is now more fuel to add to the fire.

Opera Software ASA, maker of the Opera web browser, yesterday officially filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows. Opera wants the EU to force Microsoft to provide users with a choice of web browser to use.

"We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them," said Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. "In addition to promoting the free choice of individual consumers, we are a champion of open Web standards and cross-platform innovation. We cannot rest until we've brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide."

Opera is seeking the following actions from the EU to "keep Microsoft in line" with respects to its competitors:

  • Remove Internet Explorer from its Windows operating systems. Opera is also asking that Microsoft allow for other web browsers to be pre-installed with Windows along with desktop icons for each respective browser.
  • Force Microsoft to comply with open Web standards brought forth by Web-authoring communities.

"Our complaint is necessary to get Microsoft to amend its practices," said Jason Hoida, Deputy General Counsel for Opera. "The European Court of First Instance confirmed in September that Microsoft has illegally tied Windows Media Player to Windows. We are simply asking the Commission to apply these same, clear principles to the Internet Explorer tie, a tie that has even more profound effects on consumers and innovation."

As many may recall, Microsoft finally gave up its fight with the EU in late October. The Redmond, Washington-based company came under fire for its monopolistic business practices in Europe and was ordered to pay a fine of $710 million USD.

In addition, Microsoft was also forced to provide interoperability information to its software competitors and reduce the royalties for its software licenses and patents. To add insult to injury, Microsoft was also forced to pay 80 percent of the European Commission’s legal fees.



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RE: Tired of complaints.
By Screwballl on 12/13/2007 3:31:16 PM , Rating: 1
Does linux force you to use Konquerer or Firefox? No you have the option to use other browsers and several come installed on most distros.

When you buy a new car, are you forced to buy the cheap radio that comes with it or do they give you the option to remove it and use something else? Definitely.

So why should our OS be any different, It is an OS, not an OS + browser + media player + whatever else. We should not be forced to install its sluggish overbearing MS crap just to use the host OS. I have thought this for years.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By anotherdude on 12/13/2007 3:40:36 PM , Rating: 3
[quote]Does linux force you to use Konquerer or Firefox? No you have the option to use other browsers and several come installed on most distros.[/quote]

That's nice but so what? Should you be required BY LAW to include browser choices in an OS of YOUR creation?


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Micronite on 12/13/2007 3:42:59 PM , Rating: 5
It's brilliant, actually...

1) Get the EU to force Microsoft to distribute your browser with every copy of Windows.

2) Charge Microsoft royalties for every copy of Opera distributed with Windows.

3) Buy a summer home in Tuscany.

I'll be over here writing my own notepad app. This could get lucrative.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By dnd728 on 12/13/2007 4:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
MS should just sell windows without IE in Europe. Then they can go download Opera.

Or better, sell it with a million crapware from the internet to cover all corners.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By FITCamaro on 12/13/2007 4:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
They already do offer Windows XP without IE and Windows Media player in Europe. It's just not any cheaper than the version with it.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Mitch101 on 12/13/2007 5:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that stupid people having problems with the Opera browser will call Microsoft for support. But it came with my operating system.

I would agree Windows without IE is a good solution but you should never be forced to carry a competitors product in your own distribution. How would you download a Browser without one though. I can only laugh at the irony.

Its obvious that the EU commission has a dislike for Microsoft. If this passes I hope Microsoft charges even more for the software.

EU Govt sticks Microsoft and Microsoft sticks the users with the bill.

You think you will win if MS is forced to include Opera I'm betting even if Opera wins the consumer loses.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Oregonian2 on 12/13/2007 9:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
As mentioned in the news report I read about it earlier, the problem is the same as the media player, so the solution, if anything, would likely be the same as well. The version of XP they sell in Europe w/o media player can be sold w/o IE as well. And it'll continue not to sell.

Always thought they'd discount it proportionally to the byte-count of the entire distribution. Should knock off at least half a Euro for the IE/MP free version.

Personally I still don't understand the problem. Firefox (etc) is what I use by choice w/o problem of IE being there. Likewise, other media players work fine too.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Eurasianman on 12/13/2007 5:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
MS should just sell windows without IE in Europe. Then they can go download Opera.


And how do they go about downloading their internet browser if there isn't one in the first place?

Yea, just type in apt-get... oh wait, you can't do that in Windows -.-


RE: Tired of complaints.
By TomZ on 12/13/2007 5:32:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And how do they go about downloading their internet browser if there isn't one in the first place?

That wouldn't be Microsoft's problem, now would it?

It would actually be pretty stupid for Opera to ask Microsoft to remove IE, since as you point out, it would make it even more difficult for users to download and install Opera.

But to answer your question more directly, Microsoft could choose to include within Windows a tool or tools that have the ability to, when run, download and install Opera and/or other browsers. This is actually quite easy to do.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By schkrat on 12/14/2007 2:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
Note! Windows explorer is also capable of web browsing.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By tomal on 12/14/2007 8:09:20 AM , Rating: 2
windows explorer uses IE to render the pages. That is why you cannot fully uninstall IE from ur system. Many other applications also use IE to render webpages within themselves.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Polynikes on 12/14/2007 12:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
That would be a pain in the ass, you'd have to go out of your way to download your browser of choice on another box, instead of quickly firing up IE and downloading it directly to your machine, which would be much faster.

Do I need or use IE? Hell no, but what happened to a free market? This would be akin to a car manufacturer putting their own brand of tires on a car they sell, and having a competitor whine about it. They're well within their rights to offer whatever accessories they want to package with their product.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By qwertyz on 12/14/2007 7:52:06 AM , Rating: 1
since Law and Justice are becoming more and more retarded and people are becoming more money greedy there's no wonder such stupid lawsuits take place.

This Opera lawsuit is more than stupid.
Now just imagine a similar case with a retarded justice like the one of these days when Antivirus companies sue Microsoft over it's secure OS and force them to infect every Windows version with dozens of viruses right out the box so the user should be forced to buy an antivirus to clean it from the factory infected OS.
Now how stupid this scenario sounds ? this is ultra mega incredibly stupid but it doesn't differ to much from what Opera asks right now from Microsoft.

So don't be to surprised to see lawsuits like these because as seen the Justice is becoming the most retarded thing in the world.

With a justice like this the present and future is start to looking more and more RETARDED.
And did you think the future will look rosy THINK AGAIN


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Spivonious on 12/13/2007 3:46:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
When you buy a new car, are you forced to buy the cheap radio that comes with it or do they give you the option to remove it and use something else? Definitely.


Umm...I don't know where you're buying your cars, but you're usually given the choice between 2 or 3 different radios made by the car maker. Of course, nothing is stopping you from buying an aftermarket radio and having it installed. Just as nothing is stopping you from downloading a different web browser.

And anyway, wasn't this case already decided way back when Netscape brought anti-trust litigation against MS?


RE: Tired of complaints.
By FITCamaro on 12/13/2007 3:46:10 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
So why should our OS be any different, It is an OS, not an OS + browser + media player + whatever else. We should not be forced to install its sluggish overbearing MS crap just to use the host OS. I have thought this for years.


So do you feel the same about Apple including Safari in OSX? How about iTunes? Quicktime?

You only don't like it because Microsoft doing it. If you don't like their programs, you don't ever have to use them. But yes they are bundled with the OS. It's called added value. And yes they highly integrate their software because it works better that way. They're not doing anything Apple doesn't do. But you anti-Microsoft people always forget this.

Besides, if they didn't bundle in a web browser, how would you go get other web browsers from the web? Oh right you couldn't. You'd have to have it on a CD or flash drive. Since you need to have a web browser bundled in so you can go get other ones, which do you suppose they're going to include? Theirs or someone else's?

Should they be required to provide someone else's with their software? No. It's theirs. They wrote it. If you don't like it, don't use it.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Mitch101 on 12/13/2007 4:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
The best comment I have heard by an attorney was in the Netscape trial where they were suing over IE being included with Windows and Netscape wanted their browser included with the sale of Windows and make the user choose.

"What your asking is that for every six pack of Coke sold there should be one can that is a Pepsi."

If I want Opera I will download it but last I recall it was buggy and they wanted to charge me for it. No Thanks.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Clenathan on 12/13/2007 11:04:03 PM , Rating: 1
It's not buggy, they do not charge you for it, and there are no pop-ups, NEVER.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By Staples on 12/14/2007 9:23:59 AM , Rating: 2
I have used Opera for the last two years (when it went free). It is the best browser out there as far as I am concerned and it is not and never was buggy since I have been using it. However, there is a site or two that I have seen where I have to use IE because they do not like Opera and they do not load if they detect it.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By kelmon on 12/14/2007 5:01:13 AM , Rating: 2
There are merits to what you are saying and other areas where you miss the point of all this by a country mile. Let's look at where you hit the mark first:

Is the bundling of iTunes and QuickTime by Apple the same as the bundling of IE in Windows? Yes, if we are discussing the playback of proprietary file formats used by both applications. Both if both QuickTime and iTunes only played standard formats then there is no issue since then you could use another application to play back the media files but there is a problem with the likes of Apple Protected AAC since you MUST use iTunes for this. However, you can also argue that Real Networks has the same issue since you MUST use Real Player to playback Real Audio files.

Where do you miss the mark? Well, here:

Do you NEED a web browser to install a new application? Absolutely, categorically, no. Look at Linux (I don't use it, incidentally, but I'm not blind either) and you will see that almost all offer a GUI application that enables you to browser libraries of software and download without ever touching a web browser. Heck, I remember using FTP repositories before I ever touched Netscape.

Why is IE a problem when Safari is not? Simply because IE doesn't render the web correctly and the result of this and Window's dominant position in the market are IE-only sites and applications. Since Microsoft refuses to change the only way to break this Catch-22 situation, seemingly, is via litigation. Safari is not an issue here because it's a standards-compliant browser and therefore can be replaced by Opera very easily.

Finally, the "don't like it, don't use it" statement is either massively naive or just ignoring the real world. I don't like Windows or IE much but I still have to use it at work because that's what desktop applications and intranet applications need. The world is not as flexible as you suggest but does need to change if competition is to occur fully.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By MrPieGuy on 12/13/2007 5:27:54 PM , Rating: 1
Does Windows force you to use IE? Cause last I checked, I can download any internet browser I wanted.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By kelmon on 12/14/2007 4:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So why should our OS be any different, It is an OS, not an OS + browser + media player + whatever else. We should not be forced to install its sluggish overbearing MS crap just to use the host OS. I have thought this for years.


This sort of misses the issue. The problem is not the bundling of applications with the OS but rather the ease with which you can use a competitor's product (i.e. you should be able to switch without penalty). Because IE has resulted in IE-only web sites you can't switch to Opera, Firefox or Safari without penalty. Both Windows Media Player and iTunes are guilty of this offense - you need to use these applications to play DRMed media, although there are plenty of players that you can install that understand standard media formats.

Really, this issue boils down to file formats rather than applications. While HTML is supposed to be a standard, Microsoft has almost managed to create its own version by interpreting it differently to everyone else. If file formats are open and interpreted the same then competition can exist between the applications that read them as long as nothing prevents you from removing and installing them. Proprietary file formats or attempts to hijack open formats should be avoided.


RE: Tired of complaints.
By DragonMaster0 on 12/14/2007 7:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
What about Mac OS? It comes with Safari, QuickTime, iTunes, iBloat, etc. and no one sues them even if there are free alternatives. Safari renders lost of pages poorly and QuickTime has lots of security holes, still, no one bothers using other software. I hear lots of Mac users complaining that they can't use some websites. However, nobody takes the time to install Firefox, the reason they don't know how to do it. Mac's simple, right...

That's just because it comes with tons of preinstalled software, that's exactly what Apple uses in their advertising campaign, they say Mac can do lots of things, and Windows can't do anything... stock.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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