Feeds

Opera to challenge e-envoy over UK govt ‘Windows tax’

Deeply techie Norwegian ear-bashing incoming...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Opera Software, owner of one of the browsers (which is more or less, all of the non-Microsoft ones) currently barred by the British government's prestige "Government Gateway," proposes to take the matter up with the UK's e-envoy, Andrew Pinder. Pinder's office is responsible for the commissioning of the site, gateway.gov.uk, which is intended to be the cornerstone of the Blair government's plan to put 100 per cent of services online by 2005.

Microsoft was hired to do the development last November, it's difficult to get into it in the first place if you're not running IE 5.01 or above, and the certificate-based security system is constructed in such a way that you'll have to use IE if you want to do anything transactional. Naturally, we've already heard from large numbers of UK citizens who don't use Windows or IE, and who're understandably up in arms over the prospect of having to pay a Microsoft tax in order to participate in the forthcoming Blair e-government experience.

Speaking to The Register this afternoon, Opera CTO Hakon Lie proposed to take the matter further, and described the situation as shocking. "The Web is a common good, yet it's being taken over by a private company." Opera's deal with Symbian, anounced earlier today, places it in head to head conflict with Microsoft on wireless platforms, and "we'll fight that battle, because we've got a better product to offer."

Symbian's position currently looks a lot stronger than Microsoft's in the wireless arena, so if that continues and gateway.gov.uk itself didn't change, in a couple of years time we'd have the bizarre situation whereby the majority of British users wouldn't be able to access gateway.gov.uk via wireless because they had the wrong kind of browser. It would seem reasonable to conclude that Opera has a case.

"We see it as our role to protect the Web from monopolies," Lie said. "We want to make sure content put on the Web is readable, and follows standards. I plan to spend the rest of my life on the Web, and I don't want it to be a Microsoft plaza."

So Andrew Pinder will be hearing from Hakon. We hop to be in a position to tell you what he has to say when that happens. ®

Related stories:
MS-built UK 'Government Gateway' locks out non-MS browsers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.