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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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Bundled vs Integrated and Standards
By Iger on 12/14/2007 4:00:21 AM , Rating: 2
I've been using Opera since version 6 and love it very much.

Their demand to remove IE from windows sounds strange, but I believe it is indeed a reference to the fact, that IE is _integrated_ into Windows (as was mentioned above). You can't remove it, because Windows' functionality depends on it. A direct effect of this, for example, is that you _must_ install IE updates even if you don't use it - which imo is wrong. So, ideally (imo again), IE would be _bundled_ with Windows (nothing wrong with IE 7.0 actually... it's worse than Opera, but has its uses - and it works for everyone who doesn't want to choose), but not _integrate_ it.

Still, as far as I understand, this is a bit secondary to the second part of Opera's demand. Usually web developers agree that main problem of IE's existence is the fact it does no adhere to standards. The arguement flow is following:
IE has big marketshare -> Everyone must develop web sites compatible to IE -> Other browsers adhering to the standards are considered buggy by consumers, because they don't display non-standard IE-compliant sites -> People prefer IE and give it even more marketshare -> Innovation in browser market stales.

Well... There are 2 ways how you can come to using Opera. 1 is if all the browsers are "equal" (standard-conforming) and you actually go and download Opera because it's better (in your opinion) - this is where the second of their demands points or if you don't have any browser at all and have to research for the options - this is where the first (more contradictory and less useful, imo) of their demands points...

Overall there is some logic in their lawsuit, and if the second part would be actually successful - it would be a win for everyone.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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