IBM, Adobe and others join EU anti-trust case vs Microsoft

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) which includes IBM, Adobe, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Corel and RealNetworks recently joined as a third party in the European Commission's anti-trust case against Microsoft over the Internet Explorer browser along with Google, Mozilla, Opera and Free Software Foundation Europe.

Thomas Vinje, the spokesman for ECIS and who also works for Opera said,

"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 internet. Despite consistently lower user satisfaction ratings for IE, Microsoft browser maintains its dominant position because of illegal bundling with Windows. Smaller, more innovative browser developers need a level playing field to have a fair chance. That is why there is such broad support for the Commission's preliminary findings of abuse".

The ECIS group already filed a complaint in January 2008 claiming that Microsoft abused its dominance in office suite business which is still under investigation. EU would also examine the support of Open Document Format (ODF) announced in Office 2007 SP2 which is due for release on April 28.

In the meanwhile, Microsoft has received a 1 week extension from EU antitrust regulators to respond to the Commission's statement of objections, which condemns Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and not allowing to bundle other web browsers with Windows. The new deadline will now be April 28.

"Microsoft confirms that the new deadline for the company to respond to the Commission's statement of objections is April 28"

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Opera is just being a scrub. They should just die already.

Do they really think that if IE isn't bundled with Windows that people will automatically go for Opera? Firefox or Safari are obvious second choices.

Well, there's the N versions of windows, lacking WMP, there's the K versions, for sale in Korea only (Not sure of why though) and even KN which is a combination of both. Maybe they need a new version of Win7.

Windows 7 Proffesional EUNNNNNN

Lacking IE, WMP, Notepad, Calculator, Remote Desktop, Accessibility options...

Can anyone else think of any programs that come bundled with Windows that have competing programs out there? I'm sure there's more.

/sarcasm

I think that maybe there should be a version sold in the Europe where during install or first run, Windows asks you which of the browsers you wish to use and when you do, it downloads the latest version from whoever, maybe have the option to postpone the choice if you don't have an active internet connection. The problem with this is how do you decide what browsers to include?

I can't see how the Microsoft are going to be able to satisfy the EU properly on this one because it just isn't feasible to sell an OS without a browser.

I've used Opera, and found nothing exceptional about it. The layout was awkward and theme unattractive. If adding a "Paste and Go" option and putting a magic wand icon with a standard password manager is unparalleled innovation, why does Opera still have 0.70% market share after 13 Years? Opera, in my opinion, is disgruntled that their mediocre product's essentially infinitesimal market share is just over half that of a browser that's only been out for eight months - Google Chrome.

I'd be satisfied if either/both of these happened:

  • Don't bundle any browsers. No Internet Explorer, no Firefox, and certainly no Opera. Have an 'N' version of each edition, like XP and Vista, except charge €100 more than it's respective non-'N' counterpart. Place an obtrusive warning label that occupies at least 50% of the area of the front of the box, and distribute it with limited availability. Of course continue selling non-'N' versions in the EU, but that wouldn't matter, because now the consumer has a choice - Nothing!
  • Include an unpopular browser that very few people have ever heard of, and make it installable from Windows Components only. Or, more preferably, include a text-based browser, such as Lynx. In such a scenario, the user would have an alternative to the rich-text Internet Explorer - plaintext!

Stinking EU! WTF is wrong with these morons? So, Microsoft produces a superior product and these leeches resort to legal action? IE and FireFox are the only good browsers. Microsoft is not a government run company. If they don't want to bundle garbage from competitors, why the heck does anyone think they have a right to tell them otherwise.

I say Microsoft should bite the bullet and stop selling their products in countries where effing idiots rule. Let them have their open source stuff and do without if they don't like it. (I am not against open source, but it really ticks me off when another country tries to tell an American company what they can and cannot do.) Screw 'em! But, looks like we're handing over our sovereignty and going to he-- in a hand basket with Barack Obama leading us down the slippery slope of socialism.

Next thing we know, we will have one auto maker suing another because their independent dealers don't sell cars built by competitors! Or, maybe we will have foreign car makers suing Ford, GM or Chrysler because we don't install Honda or Hyundai engines in American cars. This kind of crap is just over the top, stupid. It is about time we just washed our hands of the whole mess, put America first and let EU figure out what to do on their own.

Microsoft arent holding a gun to everyones head saying you MUST use IE, users have a choice - they can install windows (or whatever OS they like) then download FF or whatever - just because people who dont know what they are doing and still using IE after buying a computer for the first time doesnt make MS the devil.

No wonder its people like Adobe signing up to this with their overbloated software, CHOICE is what its about, if you dont like windows or IE then dont use it - but dont make other people suffer just because of your views.

So.
1. I turn my notebook on for the first time
2. I install windows
3. I browse the internet with ie 8

Why ? Because I hate Firefox, could be slow as hell, sure it has extensions, but I don't care, I want to browse the net.
I don't want to use opera, because I need to push ctrl+shift to open link in a new tab by default. I don't want to download Safari or Chrome anymore, because I want to browse the net... And ie 8 is perfect for that.

About the standards :
I'll be a medical doctor. My job will be to help people, to cure them. I will try to be as much perfect as I could. There are other people. They write websites. It is their job. They need to write the code, test it to work on every mainstream browser. So do it. It is their job !!!

About the Eu :
STFU already. We don't need this law ****. I live in the Eu and I am tired of these bullcrap. But the worst in this case is not only the Eu is screwing with Ms... IBM, sun, Opera, Google, Mozilla... Everyone...

Wait what, "because I need to push ctrl+shift to open link in a new tab by default." Where does that come from? You open links in new tabs just like any other browser: middle click. -_-

I wonder what they'll do after this...go out after MacOS, BSD and all the Linux distros out there since all of them bundle some browser? How are people going to download an alternative browser if there is none bundled with the system in the first place? With WGET?
I wrote this using firefox on a slackware linux system....and the browser came with the distro...

I agree completely with this trial.

Too many people still use Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and those browsers are a nightmare for web developers; it requires so much work to make websites compatible with them when they already work well with every other browser.

Microsoft have messed up by creating the worst piece of software - software which does not do what is required of it (no, not of the average consumer, but of the web developer), therefore because they have created this mess by ensuring software which doesn't do its job gains the highest market share in that market; if people can make this browser more restricted and can give people a choice who had no idea another browser exists - that makes me, as a web developer and as an advocate of free choice, very happy

Since IE8 does pass the Acid2 test properly now, does it "do its job"? Or what is your definition of proper support of web standards?

IE8 will be bundled with Win7 and pushed via Windows Update, so will this case be a moot one?

To "give people a choice who had no idea another browser exists" - wouldn't it be easier and sensible to make Microsoft display some alternative browser page on the first IE run, than making it bundle other browsers which is as good as OEM junk if the same people don't even know that Firefox/Opera is a browser and never double-click on their icons?

I understand Ledgem's point that IE caused a lot of pain-in-the-ass problems for web developers - like IE6 not supporting transparent PNGs (oh God!) so EU is trying to attack the source of IE's dominance - its bundling with with Windows.

But his points are as flawed and moth-bitten as how he valiantly put down other's analogies and defended Apple. (I shall not go into how disgustingly myopic some people are that they fail to realize that it would be utterly, humiliatingly inconsistent if other OSes can bundle their own choice of browser)

Afterall Windows IS their product, you cannot change that. If EU is really so desperate for money they can fine Microsoft bushels a day until they ship a version of IE that actually supports web standards properly and satisfactorily.

A quick new-word-of-the-day for those who blindly call "Windows a monopoly in the OS market":
- A real monopoly has only ONE seller/producer - since Mac and Unix variants exist, Windows is not a monopoly.
- Apple is a monopoly in the Mac computer and OSX markets, and Microsoft is a monopoly in the Windows market.

I really don't understand what people expect of Microsoft here.

They can't stop bundling IE - how would one get to the Internet if they didn't have a web browser? It wouldn't even be possible to download an alternative browser if it wasn't for IE. Forcing MS to sell a crippled OS isn't fair (and yes, as a viable corporation, MS does have rights and should be treated fairly even if you do think it is a monopoly).

Microsoft also can't bundle other browsers - why? For starters, which one would they bundle? FireFox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome? What about all the other lesser known alternative browsers out there, shouldn't they have a chance? I don't know about you, but I don't want my computer bloated with a dozen web browsers. What about support? If Safari is bundled with Window, and a security hole is found in Safari, isn't it now Microsoft's job to support the software that came with their OS? What if Opera goes under and a few years from now a virus spreads through it and takes down millions of computers? Now it's Microsoft's fault. Does this sound "open and fair" to you?

sometimes the topdog needs to be back handed a bit -> I applaud MS for the efforts they have already made to make sure apps are now bundles into extra packages -> there is still room for improvement. Personally, as the customer i'd like choice just like any other Tom, Dick & Harry. Give me browser freedom, let me dictate the terms of the relationship.

Doesn't Microsoft have the right to do whatever they see fit with their operating system? That's like saying, Windows is dominate because of Microsoft's ability to have made it to so compatible with everyday tools when compared to other operating systems. MS should be able to bundle IE, its their OS and their browser. Don't like it? Uninstall the f*cking browser or don't use Windows. PRESTO.

ok this is just BS really (and this come from some one who hates IE and every thing about it) its bundled with thier OS if you don't like it install another one or don't use MS products no one is forcing you and sounds like (with the browser)
that the other companies are just ****ed cuz because they can't advertise and educate people like they want to. I use all kinds of 3rd party apps on windows and do wish i could buy it like this but MS should not be forced to sell it like that and why isn't apple being thrown up in this as well hell apple 3rd party apps are some thing to be desired to say the least. leave windows the way it is and let the user decide what to do with it if they are so inclined. not to mention some people just want that turn on and click and thats it they don't want to be bothered with a bunch of programs to do essentially the same thing.

The only reason I am hooked on IE is Maxthon. I simply love this front-end. Looking forward to the new Maxthon with WebKit support.

I suggest Microsoft does newer Windows N version for EU priced at 50$ including only windows explorer and notepad without calc, paint, screensaver, drivers , games, directx etc... :D. May be then the f*%^ing EU would be satistfied

thechief55 said,
I suggest Microsoft does newer Windows N version for EU priced at 50$ including only windows explorer and notepad without calc, paint, screensaver, drivers , games, directx etc... :D. May be then the f*%^ing EU would be satistfied :D

Or better yet, make Windows free in the EU, with nothing but a command prompt bundled with the OS. Users could then "opt in" for an upgrade to the functional OS at regular price. Then they would be agreeing to use Windows the way it was designed to be used. If they click the "disagree" button, then they don't get the function OS, just the command prompt.

The f*%^ing EU will never be satisfied with anything. They are too used to government being their daddy. (Unfortunately, it looks like Barack Hussein Osama and his cabinet of morons are trying to lead the US down that same slippery slope.)

I honestly cannot see the logic in this. Microsoft is merely bundling their product (Internet Explorer) within their product (Windows). Calling it illegal is ludicrous. Honestly, you don't see anyone else complaining. It's always fine after fine, accusation after accusation. When will the EU stop? If it were up to me, I'd make Microsoft sell a stripped down version of Windows that's locked to countries of the EU.

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