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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 kelmon on 12/14/2007 4:01:52 AM , Rating: 2
Where in the world does it say when you run a Microsoft Operating System, that you have to use Internet Explorer?!

The answer: on any web site that is designed for IE

Here's the crux of the issue - IE renders HTML differently to pretty much any other browser. Quite a lot of web sites and, particularly, corporate applications, require IE to render content correctly since most of the world uses IE and enabling the site to render correctly in other browsers requires more work. As a consequence of this, if you want to be able to access pretty much all web sites you need to be running both Internet Explorer and Windows. This, of course, has introduced a wonderful Catch-22 situation that Opera is trying to resolve since Microsoft won't conform to standards accepted by everyone else. Until IE renders according to the web standards site designers will continue to make IE-only pages that prevent people from switching to alternative browsers.

This situation isn't so bad on the Web in general these days but pretty much all corporate applications require IE.

So, is this an issue of Microsoft bundling IE with Windows? No. It's an issue with Microsoft (with the "help" of Netscape years ago during the Browser Wars) having created a 2-tier Web that should be accessible to all browsers but where parts of it are handcuffed to IE and Windows. This is not how the Web should be and it's not going to change unless IE conforms to standards. I highly doubt that anyone would argue against the merits of this - standards benefit all.

RE: Tired of complaints.
By tomal on 12/14/2007 8:10:38 AM , Rating: 2
i 100% agree !

lets hope firefox 3 & opera 9/9.5 pushes more adoption towards web standards

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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