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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 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
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
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.

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