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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 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.


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