Opera files antitrust complaint with the EU

Opera Software ASA, the only company that can put the Web on any device, filed a complaint with the European Commission yesterday which is aimed at giving consumers a genuine choice of Web browsers.

The complaint describes how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards. Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer.

Video: Video of Opera CTO HÃ¥kon Wium Lie discussing Opera's antitrust action


"We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera. "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 requests the Commission to implement two remedies to Microsoft's abusive actions. First, it requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers preinstalled on the desktop. Second, it asks the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities. The complaint calls on Microsoft to adhere to its own public pronouncements to support these standards, instead of stifling them with its notorious "Embrace, Extend and Extinguish" strategy. Microsoft's unilateral control over standards in some markets creates a de facto standard that is more costly to support, harder to maintain, and technologically inferior and that can even expose users to security risks.

"Our complaint is necessary to get Microsoft to amend its practices," said Jason Hoida, Deputy General Counsel, 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. We are confident that the Commission understands the significance of the Internet Explorer tie and will take the necessary actions to restore competition and consumer choice in the browser market."

Opera has long held the position of innovator in the Web browser market, having introduced and pioneered features like tabbed browsing, Speed Dial, integrated search bar, mouse gestures, Opera LinkTM and many others. Absent Microsoft's abuse, Microsoft would have been forced to compete on a level playing field with Opera and other browsers. Instead of innovating, Microsoft has locked consumers to its own browser and only recently begun to offer some of the innovative features that other browsers have offered for years.

Both of Opera's requested remedies are intended to give consumers greater freedom and flexibility while at the same time ensuring that the Web further develops into a platform for innovation. Opera believes that the remedies will help promote consumer rights worldwide and force Microsoft to begin competing with Opera and others on the merits of its browser.

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Opera has a great idea,everyone that cant push their products should lodge complaints.

I am the owner operator of Tbob Tires I'm getting ready to file a complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist auto manufactures make choices for them.I'm not doing this so I can sell more tires.I'm doing it because it's unfair when a consumer buys a car and tires are bundle with the vehicle.I cannot and will not rest until I've brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide.

120 said,
Opera has a great idea,everyone that cant push their products should lodge complaints.

actually, opera is a profitable company with million dollars in cash, and a revenue growth of more than 50% last quarter.

I am the owner operator of Tbob Tires I'm getting ready to file a complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist auto manufactures make choices for them.

there are no monopolist auto manufacturers, because there is actual choice.

I'm not doing this so I can sell more tires.I'm doing it because it's unfair when a consumer buys a car and tires are bundle with the vehicle.I cannot and will not rest until I've brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide.

as i said, the comparison is invalid.

opera is not making ANY money from this.

it is not a lawsuit, but is part of the eu's ongoing antitrust investigation against the convicted monopolist microsoft.

it is not about the best tomatoes. it is about microsoft using its dominance to force others out of the market, and undermine standards so that it becomes extremely expensive to develop other browsers and even websites.

Name me one other market where 1) the majority of the "standards" (which are actually just "recommendations") are written by vendors with less than 20% total market share (remember it only takes 2 compatible implementations to make a W3C recommendation -- if Opera+Firefox+Safari all do something, it becomes a recommendation), and 2) one of those vendors claims that the 80% vendor has a legal obligation to follow those recommendations that the small group of competitors created?

Remember, even CSS 2.1 isn't an official "recommendation" yet. It's still in the candidate phase. And who is in charge of deciding *which* of the multitude of W3C recommendations, ISO standards, and RFCs a company is legally obligated to follow? It's lunacy.

PatriotB said,
Name me one other market where 1) the majority of the "standards" (which are actually just "recommendations") are written by vendors with less than 20% total market share

web standards aren't just written by vendors, but by several interested parties, including web developers.

2) one of those vendors claims that the 80% vendor has a legal obligation to follow those recommendations that the small group of competitors created?

microsoft participates actively in the standardization process. at the same time, it is actively undermining it.

And who is in charge of deciding *which* of the multitude of W3C recommendations, ISO standards, and RFCs a company is legally obligated to follow? It's lunacy.

it is not lunacy. it is just you who has a poor understanding of things.

the problem isn't standards that haven't been implemented. the problem is that microsoft uses its market power to get rid of standards and use its own proprietary technologies instead.

Yay! About time that someone spoke up about this in a legal manner. Not only that, but it isn't an optional component. Neither is Outlook Express for that matter. Every time you "uninstall" it and delete the remaining directory with its contents, it comes back anyway with all of the contents that were deleted. Now tell me that isn't an issue. Microsoft is forcing their own software on users, even those that don't want it.

One might argue that a browser is required for an OS these days. That isn't the issue, however. The issue is the fact that it isn't optional. Since MS controls a large market share with its OS, they are a prime target, unlike Apple who is surely becoming more popular as MS bombs with so many of its customers because of Windows Vista.

Haven't we been through this already? Opera has always been my favorite browser so go Opera! I really just don't care that much tho.

Just a dumb set of questions...
A) Who came up with these "standards"? I got to their home page and even my Firefox fails their test page. From what I have read on the site they have a good quote... "Browser makers are no longer the problem. The problem lies with designers and developers chained to the browser–quirk–oriented markup of the 1990s—often because they don’t realize it is possible to support current standards while accommodating old browsers." (Reference - http://www.webstandards.org/about/history/) Even the people who made the standards that Opera is yelling about don't think the issue is the browser developers.

B) Second question is, if IE has such a dominant share of the browser market, then aren't they in fact THE STANDARD, regardless of what the researchers at the W3C think should be the standard?

Just an aside, I find it funny that on one hand these complaints claim the regular consumers are to stupid to go out and download an alternative browser, yet on the other hand they claim those same users would be smart enough to shop around and somehow get an alternative browser if MS just wouldn't install any browser with their brand new machines.

Seems no matter how you cut it, Opera is trying to hurt their competitor by using the courts to do their work for them. I realize they won't see a dime from this suite, but it will make MS look worse in the public eye even if the claims are totally baseless. Worse case for Opera, they get their name in the headlines for a few weeks for something other than making a good product. Their browser is good enough to stand on it's own, it doesn't need underhanded tactics like this.

standards should be independient of any big corporation, so its open for everyone which its not M$ case.

Anyways opera should do this long time ago its incredible how patience they have been.

eilegz said,
standards should be independient of any big corporation, so its open for everyone which its not M$ case.

"Open for everyone" in this case means a set of small competitors. Just take a look at the CSS 2.1 candidate recommendation, and current CSS 3 drafts, and see how many of them are written by employees of Opera, Apple, and Google/Firefox. How many of them have the "big corporation" Microsoft been involved with? Why does Opera think that Microsoft should be legally obligated to follow any standards that were written by its competitors? What other market operates this way -- name me one.

And who decides which standards are relevant? CSS 2.1 isn't even finalized yet. And why should CSS be more important than ____ (fill in the blank with some little standard that no one's ever heard of). Plus, why is XHTML in Opera's list? XHTML was a flop, and not just because IE didn't support it; even Opera/Mozilla/Apple realized this and thus their decision to independently come up with their own HTML5.

Lastly... this is setting a very bad precedent. Think of the effect this would have on the broader industry. For example, Apple doesn't want to add WMA support, despite some people's view that it would be good for consumers. (And no, if WMA were non-proprietary, that doesn't change anything. I don't see Apple forced to support Ogg Vorbis, for example.) What if Porsche and Lambourghini could write auto standards and force all automobiles to adhere to them?

PatriotB said,
Just take a look at the CSS 2.1 candidate recommendation, and current CSS 3 drafts, and see how many of them are written by employees of Opera, Apple, and Google/Firefox. How many of them have the "big corporation" Microsoft been involved with?

actually, microsoft is involved in many web standards. they just undermine them at the same time.

microsoft IS a member of the css working group, by the way:

http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/members.php3

Why does Opera think that Microsoft should be legally obligated to follow any standards that were written by its competitors? What other market operates this way -- name me one.

the car industry, the aviation industry, the hardware industry, etc. there are standards, and without them there would be chaos.

but that's irrelevant here. the relevant thing is that microsoft is subject to antitrust laws due to its market position.

Lastly... this is setting a very bad precedent.

the precedent is already set, in countries like the us and korea, and also in the eu (the real networks case, remember?).

For example, Apple doesn't want to add WMA support, despite some people's view that it would be good for consumers. (And no, if WMA were non-proprietary, that doesn't change anything. I don't see Apple forced to support Ogg Vorbis, for example.)

this is irrelevant since apple is not subject to antitrust laws, since they are not in a dominant position.

What if Porsche and Lambourghini could write auto standards and force all automobiles to adhere to them?

a better analogy would be if those had 80-90% of the market together, and decided to violate standards to kill competitors.

but your comments fall apart anyway because MICROSOFT IS A CSS WG MEMBER

PatriotB said,
...
"Open for everyone" in this case means a set of small competitors. Just take a look at the CSS 2.1 candidate recommendation, and current CSS 3 drafts, and see how many of them are written by employees of Opera, Apple, and Google/Firefox. How many of them have the "big corporation" Microsoft been involved with? Why does Opera think that Microsoft should be legally obligated to follow any standards that were written by its competitors? What other market operates this way -- name me one.
...

http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#acks

Look at the authors of some of these specs, 4 MS guys, 1 Opera guy, 2 Phillips guys and 2 IBM guys worked on XHTML (among others).

The problem is MS helps in the writing stage, but not in the implementation stage.

the wheel on the short bus goes round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheel on the short bus goes round and round... all day long.

There's nothing more special than companies who make ****ty software going complaining to the EU's antitrust board about the size of their insignificant penis'.

seta-san said,
There's nothing more special than companies who make ****ty software going complaining to the EU's antitrust board about the size of their insignificant penis'.

opera is well known as one of the best browsers (the best on mobile phones, certainly). then nintendo needed a browser they went straight to opera because of opera's reputation and quality standards.

opera is also profitable, and grew its revenue by more than 50% last quarter.

****ty software?

heh, you are just a microsoft employee.

CoolCatBad said,
Opera is gone, finished, extinct, it is no longer a player.

that must be why opera is profitable, and its revenue grew by 50% last quarter (desktop revenue was up by more than 100%). yeah, finished indeed. a profitable company with lots of cash is 'extinct'. a company whose customers include nintendo, sony, nokia, motorola, samsung, htc, t-mobile, adobe, and so on is no longer a player.

yeah, good one.

You have to be a sorry ass looser to sue MS for this, Opera is truly grasping for straws, as it is a sorry ass browser!
And yes I have tried it before so I don't wanna hear your BS whining(Opera fan boys).

hal90001 said,
You have to be a sorry ass looser to sue MS for this, Opera is truly grasping for straws, as it is a sorry ass browser!

opera is profitable, its revenues grew by more than 50% last quarter, and when nintendo needed a browser they talked to opera. hardly a 'sorry ass browser'.

And yes I have tried it before so I don't wanna hear your BS whining(Opera fan boys).

so because you are an ms fanboy that means that no one else can like the browser?

sorry, but i trust nintendo more than you when looking at choosing a browser.

Lawsuits like these are unrealistic and bad for progress. The reality is, there aren't any major OSes on the market (or available freely) today that do not come bundled with a web browser. This absolutely gives Microsoft the right to bundle a web browser.

By bundling software, Microsoft has to be able to support it. Bundling, or allowing Automatic Updates to download and install any other company's browser can create a situation where MS is expected to support them. It is ridiculous to expect Microsoft to offer support to users for, say, Firefox (and the irony in such a situation would be Firefox users refusing support from MS in the first place). The only browser we can fairly expect MS to bundle and support is Internet Explorer.

The world wide web is not the browser. And browsers are no longer limited to the world wide web. This stopped being an issue of 'domination' long ago, and now everyone just sounds like a bunch of 4 year olds stomping their feet and slamming doors, angry that their precious alternate browser that does nothing but browse the web can't compete with a browser-shell interface.

Guess what, Opera. You aren't even in IE's market.

Joshie said,
Lawsuits like these are unrealistic and bad for progress.

this is not a lawsuit, but a complaint to the EU. Like the antitrust cases in the US, Korea, etc. of the past.

The reality is, there aren't any major OSes on the market (or available freely) today that do not come bundled with a web browser. This absolutely gives Microsoft the right to bundle a web browser.

holy crap! how often is this nonsense going to be repeated?

microsoft is in a special position in the market, which means that it has a responsibility not to be anti-competitive. the company has been anti-competitive, as found by several countries, and will not pay.

other operating systems that bundle browsers are not near-monopolists and cannot be compared.

The world wide web is not the browser.

microsoft begs to differ. they WANT the web to be their browser alone.

This stopped being an issue of 'domination' long ago

80% of the market is not domination?

Guess what, Opera. You aren't even in IE's market.

correct. ie is not in the market at all. it is not competing due to microsoft's position in the market. it is preventing competition.

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