Mozilla to join EU suit against Microsoft

On Monday, European Union(EU) granted Mozilla, the right to join its antitrust case against Microsoft. Mozilla has been granted an interested third party status which allows it to submit arguments, to see the confidential statement of objections the EU sent to Microsoft last month, and to participate in a face-to-face hearing if Microsoft requests one.

Last month European Union said its preliminary view was that Microsoft had violated the European law by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, based on a complaint by Opera, the outcome of which may be EU forcing Microsoft to bundle Firefox and other browsers with Windows. Opera later suggested that one of the possible remedies to revive browser competition would be to ship an European edition of Windows operating system without a browser and users given a choice of browsers either during at the install or via Windows Update after the installation.

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Foundation Chairperson & CEO said in her blog on Friday that she supported the EU's preliminary view and is ready to participate in the European antitrust proceedings. She said that Firefox had been able to build significant market share despite the bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows.

"the damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation and the pace of the Web development itself is both glaring and ongoing. There are separate questions of whether there is a good remedy, and what that remedy might be. Mozilla Firefox has made a crack in the Microsoft browser monopoly. But even so, hundreds of millions of people use old versions of IE, often without knowing what a browser is or that they have any choice in the quality of their experience. This makes it very difficult to bring innovation, choice or improved user experience to vast parts of the Internet. She concluded by offering the EU Mozilla's expertise as it considers what an effective remedy would entail"

In an interview with PC Pro, Firefox architect Mike Connor said that Mozilla is still considering its position in the light of the ruling, but that he wouldn't be in favour of Firefox being bundled with Windows. He also said Opera is asserting something that's provably false that bundling the browser leading to market share.

"Opera's asserting something that's provably false. It's asserting that bundling leads to market share. I don't know how you can make the claim with a straight face. As people become aware there's an alternative, you don't end up in that [monopoly] situation. You have to be perceptibly better [than Internet Explorer]"

Mike also added that he was "kind of worried" about Firefox achieving the monopolistic status of Internet Explorer.

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