Microsoft planning to work with EU on web browser issues

Back in 2009, Microsoft made a deal with the European Union to create a browser ballot screen that would offer Windows users a choice of which primary web browser to install on their PC. Now, Microsoft is involved in yet another spat over web browsers but seems to want to work with the EU to resolve the issues.

Reuters reports that European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the head of its antitrust division, said on Saturday that he has spoken with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about the EU's current investigation. In July, the EU started to look into complaints from companies like Mozilla and Google, who claim that Microsoft is keeping their Firefox and Chrome browsers from having the same access to the advanced APIs that Microsoft uses for Internet Explorer 10 in Windows RT.

Almunia stated, "In my personal talks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer he has given me assurances that they will comply immediately regardless of the conclusion of the antitrust probe." There's no word on when the EU's investigation is expected to be completed.

If what Almunia says is true, Microsoft might have to make some changes in a hurry if the EU rules on its investigation before Windows RT devices launch on October 26th.

Source: Reuters | Image via Microsoft

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Interestingly, I have sent a message to the Commissioner asking if, in the interest of fairness, he is going to look at the browser choices for iOS. I wonder if I will get a response........

If the EU doesn't realise that WindowsRT is Metro, and there's nothing stopping browser developers from developing and releasing a new Metro only version of their browser, then I'm emigrating from the EU. Browser makers just can't be lazy and just package an x86 version of their browser inside a Metro wrapper like Chrome has done on Windows 8.

[...] who claim that Microsoft is keeping their Firefox and Chrome browsers from having the same access to the advanced APIs that Microsoft uses for Internet Explorer 10 in Windows RT.

Almunia stated, "In my personal talks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer he has given me assurances that they will comply immediately regardless of the conclusion of the antitrust probe."

Oh boy, maybe those API's aren't available due to them being unstable? Or developers were facing some other technical difficulty during implementation or system design? Microsoft has already said that each ARM Windows version will be custom tailored to the ARM chip it is going to run on.

So, why "Oh Boy"? Because that's what the devs are probably thinking when a salesman or in this case, the CEO promises something that will be hard to pull off.

But we'll see. A possibility of Microsoft wanting to monopolize (at least initially) Internet Explorer in Win8RT should also be considered; I can fully understand Microsoft wanting to have people give IE10 a go before (some techie friend) installs Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera/<ObscureWebKitBrowser> all over it.

Coolicer said,

Oh boy, maybe those API's aren't available due to them being unstable? Or developers were facing some other technical difficulty during implementation or system design? Microsoft has already said that each ARM Windows version will be custom tailored to the ARM chip it is going to run on.

So, why "Oh Boy"? Because that's what the devs are probably thinking when a salesman or in this case, the CEO promises something that will be hard to pull off.

But we'll see. A possibility of Microsoft wanting to monopolize (at least initially) Internet Explorer in Win8RT should also be considered; I can fully understand Microsoft wanting to have people give IE10 a go before (some techie friend) installs Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera/<ObscureWebKitBrowser> all over it.


monopolize IE? really? Firefox and Chrome are free and welcome to use the Trident engine behind IE.
exactly the same as iOS is with Webkit. And you basically hear nothing from Mozilla or Google in this matter.

Oh and MS already clarified the reasoning behind this move.
These complaints from Google, Mozilla and Opera.couldnt find it in this article, but Opera being crying rivers about this aswell, are completely ridiculous and retarded.

Meant to say "monopolize _with_ IE10". I don't really care, Metro IE10 is solid and any 3rd party WinRT browser will not be on par. Especially Chrome with the way they've hacked it together to run from the Start-Screen.

Meph said,
Does this mean we'll be getting Metro Style Enabled Desktop Browsers on Windows RT?

No. If you buy a Windows RT device, then chances are it's a tablet so you are clearly not interested in a desktop that cannot run all your other software.

TCLN Ryster said,

No. If you buy a Windows RT device, then chances are it's a tablet so you are clearly not interested in a desktop that cannot run all your other software.


No no. You've misunderstood. You can't make browsers purely using WinRT APIs, so Microsoft allows apps including IE10 to use Win32 APIs in their Metro style apps. Read this Microsoft whitepaper:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=243079

It doesn't matter what Apple or anyone else does.

Microsoft were found guilty and get watched accordingly until all matters are finished.

If Apple etc. do something wrong they will get the same treatment if found guilty.

As for RT, the EU is only investigating, as they should and we will just have to wait and see. I doubt they will do anything.

Isn't Apple doing the same with their Safari browser? At least on my iPad there is no way to get around Safari...

Rwdv70 said,
Isn't Apple doing the same with their Safari browser? At least on my iPad there is no way to get around Safari...

exactly. If this was the desktop I could understand. This issue only applies to Windows RT on Arm.

Rwdv70 said,
Isn't Apple doing the same with their Safari browser? At least on my iPad there is no way to get around Safari...

Yep, and Apple basically has a monopoly on the tablet market.

rfirth said,

Yep, and Apple basically has a monopoly on the tablet market.

The ipad only has 60-70% market share, dominating yes but not monopoly.

thealexweb said,

The ipad only has 60-70% market share, dominating yes but not monopoly.

And Windows RT has 0% marketshare, yet Microsoft has to go through with this BS. I doubt that Windows RT (or WIndows 8) will end up with more marketshare on the tablet market than iOS.

So Apple should have to go through the same BS. But the truth is that the president of the eoropean commision has both an iPhone and an iPad. It will never happen.

Ronnet said,

And Windows RT has 0% marketshare, yet Microsoft has to go through with this BS. I doubt that Windows RT (or WIndows 8) will end up with more marketshare on the tablet market than iOS.

So Apple should have to go through the same BS. But the truth is that the president of the eoropean commision has both an iPhone and an iPad. It will never happen.


Fact is that Windows monopolises the operating system market and so if the European Commission hear of an upcoming product which may attempt to monopolise on their market position, they're going to investigate. Apple will get that treatment if/when they monopolise a market.

Ronnet said,

And Windows RT has 0% marketshare, yet Microsoft has to go through with this BS. I doubt that Windows RT (or WIndows 8) will end up with more marketshare on the tablet market than iOS.

So Apple should have to go through the same BS. But the truth is that the president of the eoropean commision has both an iPhone and an iPad. It will never happen.

It's an unfortunate side effect of being caught as the bad guy. Once you get caught, you're always going to be looked at with suspicion, even if you (eventually) got clean.

fenderMarky said,

Ipad had monopoly but they didn't do nothing


So, exactly what did they do, if they didn't do nothing?

thealexweb said,

The ipad only has 60-70% market share, dominating yes but not monopoly.

Following to some websites about market share, Windows get 70% to, anyway, the most of them give 90%.

Toysoldier said,
Well its 2012 now so that number is outdated.

But in 2010 there was a monopoly... they didn't know that its market share would be lower in 2012

Chris4 said,

Fact is that Windows monopolises the operating system market and so if the European Commission hear of an upcoming product which may attempt to monopolise on their market position, they're going to investigate. Apple will get that treatment if/when they monopolise a market.

Microsoft does NOT have a monopoly in the tablet marketspace, it has a very small percentage (tablets running Win7). The restriction does not apply to Windows 8 on the desktop, where Microsoft does have a big market share (it is however NOT a monopoly). Of course, since Apple is allowed to have a walled garden for Ios, and since Apple is the marketleader, there is no reason why Microsoft could not be allowed to follow the same business model. I do not think the EU can possibly prevent Microsoft from applying the restrictions on Windows RT, if they do, they willl and should be contested in a court of law, as this would be a classic example of injustice, the law should be applied equally in comparable circumstances.