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03.16.09

Microsoft Hopes a Tickbox Will Restore Fair Competition in Europe; Opera Disagrees

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft tries to sneak out of the wrath of browser justice, but does not go far enough

MICROSOFT’S crimes against Netscape are many and we will cover them in great depth later this year. For Microsoft to pretend that it’s all ‘just’ part of the past would be conceited. For the authorities to undo the damage caused by these crimes would only be sensible and long overdue.

“For the authorities to undo the damage caused by these crimes would only be sensible and long overdue.”The European Commission thought about having Internet Explorer removed from Windows or at least having Windows preinstalled on computers (at the assembly level, i.e. OEMs) with competing Web browsers already loaded.

More recently, however, Microsoft seemed to have sparked a media blitz that’s misportraying, micharacterising and crediting Microsoft for some sort of generosity while often missing the point that Microsoft involuntarily admits lying about inability to remove Internet Explorer from Windows (as debated back in the Netscape trial). Yes, Microsoft says it’ll offer an “option” to “remove” Internet Explorer, even though it’s not real removal and very few people are likely to do this anyway.

This doesn’t go far enough, so Microsoft is trying to escape this cheaply and claim goodwill for it in the process. Opera’s CEO, Jon S. von Tetzchner, is far from impressed.

Over the weekend, Microsoft revealed that in its latest private beta build of Windows 7, it will allow users to uninstall the Internet Explorer 8 Web browser front end — a choice it has never offered to consumers since version 3.0. The fact that since 1996, the presence of IE in Windows was elevated to such an extent that users could not completely uninstall it, nor could they ever entirely avoid it, has been credited by many as the real reason for Microsoft being perceived as having won the browser war against Netscape.

[...]

Oslo, Norway-based Opera Software’s stance against Microsoft on the topic of Web browser competition is very well known, especially after having filed an antitrust complaint against it in December 2007. Microsoft’s latest move could give Opera a bit of a break. But as Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner told Betanews this evening from overseas, he sees this move as a positive signal, but not anywhere close to a reparation for the years of damage he believes Internet Explorer has caused to the browser market, as well as to the Web as a whole.

The author, whose background is in Microsoft, is almost vilifying Opera and that’s exactly what Microsoft wanted to achieve with the recent media blitz. Microsoft is daemonising those who want justice. It does the same thing against Google, against TomTom, and against IBM. Some sympthetic ears fall into the traps set up by spin doctors.

For whatever reason, Microsoft is given more time to respond (just over a month). Beauracracy is too slow and it works in Microsoft’s favour.

The European Commission has extended a deadline for Microsoft (MSFT.O) to reply to charges that the U.S. software giant stymied rivals by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with Windows systems.

There is more coverage of this in:

In other news from the European Commission, following Korea’s recent verdict on Intel's crimes there is a new type of probe.

Intel Corp (INTC.O) could face a hefty fine from EU regulators over charges it fiddled with retail channels to suppress competitors, but of more concern could be any fresh rules imposed by the EU.

Even if the world’s largest chipmaker is slapped with the maximum possible fine of 10 percent of its annual revenue, the greatest risk for the company would be if the EU imposes remedies which would change its pricing model.

The European Commission has already said Intel’s pricing practices — in particular rebates to computer makers and retailers — were a bid to drive rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.N) out of the market and is set to rule soon on the issue.

The uninitiated can learn about Intel’s crimes using the links below.

Intel puppy

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