Microsoft is dominant in several different software categories including the operating system, web browser and productivity applications segments. While in some areas like browsers, Microsoft is losing ground to the competition, there are still others where it is clearly dominate leading to frequent allegations that it is abusing its top position to stifle competition.
Microsoft’s most recent antitrust claim brought against it in the EU alleges that it is preventing competition in the browser market by bundling its Internet Explorer browser with Windows.
Microsoft announced this week that the deadline for it to respond to the charges against it in the EU had been extended by one week to April 28. A Microsoft spokeswoman said, "Microsoft confirms that the new deadline for the company to respond to the Commission's statement of objections is April 28."
The deadline for Microsoft to respond was changed last month putting it at April 21 and the original charges were leveled against Microsoft on January 15. Computerworld reports that while the deadline has been moved back, the courts have granted "interested third-party" standing to the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS). Members of ECIS include Adobe, Corel, IBM, Oracle, RealNetworks, and Sun.
ECIS attorney Thomas Vinje said in a statement, "This is an important case to ensure that browsers can compete on the merits and that consumers have a true choice in the software they use to access the Web. Smaller, more innovative browser developers need a level playing field."
This isn't the first antitrust case against Microsoft that the ECIS has been involved with. In January 2008, the group filed charges against Microsoft alleging that the software firm was preventing competitors from accessing needed information to make software work smoothly with Microsoft's Office productivity suite.
Computerworld reports that in May of 2008 the EU antitrust commission had stated that it would investigate whether support of the ODF format by Microsoft allows consumers to share information between software products of their choice.
Support for the ODF format is among the new features being added to Office 2007 in the second service pack for the application.
quote: Mozilla CEO John Lilly has hit out at Apple, accusing the company of doing a disservice to Windows users everywhere by including its Safari browser as a default add-on installation in the latest iTunes update, likening it to the way malware is distributed.
quote: Either the rules have to be followed by everyone or they should not exist or be changed.
quote: Since Apple is so much smaller what they do except with regards to iTunes is not really changing the world. If one has market control then that enables you to do all sorts of things because you're customers have no real alternative.
quote: Imagine for example that 90% of all car tires was made by one company. And that it meant the other brands was almost unknown the general public. This would of course mean that selling anything but the big brand would be difficult for car shops. Now imagine the big tire company moving into the lubricant business and them tell the car shops they must only sell their oil or they will get no tires. Guess what that would do to the lubricant market.
quote: We do certainly agree that the rules must apply for all but only when the conditions are the same. The logic you try to use is flawed. If it's the same for all despite different situations then that for example means everyone should be allowed to get a drivers licenses regardless of age or that everyone should be allowed to carry a gun (including terrorists, murderers, 10 year old kids...).
quote: Maybe Microsoft did not "force" web developers to write web pages for IE with a gun to their head. However they made it so that web pages had to follow Microsoft because the most people use IE.
quote: Maybe in 1998 this argument may have been valid but today if a webpage doesn't work on all current browsers then its time the web developer updated their code.
quote: They are selling the OS not IE, you can download IE for free, you can also download Firefox, Safari etc for free. They are pretty much selling the tire and giving the lubricant away for free. Microsoft does not restrict this in anyway.
quote: Yes the rules must apply the same for everyone meaning that ( where I live ) you must be 15 to get your drivers license, you must be 18 to get your firearms license. These rules apply to everyone no exceptions.
quote: The problem is where does it end
quote: What is wrong with IE8? For most peoples needs IE is more than capable....
quote: ...., so we should start forcing programs onto people that don't really need them?
quote: Security Software - Should be integrated IMHO, people can pay for other solutions if they really want to, but I think that security should not be an "add on" to and OS.
quote: Burning Software - Should be integrated as is now, let people pay for extra functionality (e.g. converting MP3 to CD audio) but data disk operations are a basic part of an operating system's duties, everything else is an extra.
quote: So, if Microsoft doesn't bundle a browser with their OS, how exactly are you supposed to get a browser from a different company?
quote: Are the EU stupid enough to expect MS to bundle another companies browser in their OS, and pay the fees for doing so (we all know there will be fees)
quote: I, for one, think the EU is being completely moronic on this one, as with most of their outlandish claims.
quote: So it's simple and fair.
quote: but is it "fair" for Microsoft to pay anything for what is in effect advertising for their competitors
quote: So the iTunes monopoly is OK, you're good with that one when it fits your need, just mot the one you still perciev MS has.
quote: Are you actually trying to incriminate them for building services that work with their own technology? The horror of it all. God forbid we ever wind up with a well integrated system. They've been opening their document formats and beefed up the APIs that are available for others to build into these systems, much more so than anyone else is doing.
quote: Perhaps antitrust cases against linux should arise too, as most of distros are now prepackaged with firefox.
quote: If MS doesn't include IE, then how will Firefox, Opera, or (ugh) Safari be downloaded?
quote: Software stores like Steam, the App Store, WiiWare, XBLM, PSN, Android Market, and Windows Marketplace are the future of software distribution and will end IE's dominance. Nobody will want to use that piece of crap when they realize they don't have to.