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Mozilla comes out in support of Brussels IE on Windows findings

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Mozilla Corporation has joined the growing number of browser makers to come out in support of European antitrust watchdogs’ grumbles against Microsoft tying Internet Explorer to its Windows operating system.

The outfit’s chairwoman and former CEO Mitchell Baker posted a blog late on Friday in which she backed last month’s preliminary findings by the European Commission, which stated the tying of IE to Windows “harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”

Baker said she had “not the single smallest iota of doubt” that the EC’s stance against Microsoft was “correct”.

Mozilla has remained surprisingly quiet since news broke last month that the European Union’s executive body had given Microsoft eight weeks to respond to its findings, which followed a year-long investigation it launched after complaints from rival browser maker Opera.

But now the non-profit organisation behind Firefox – the world’s second most popular browser – has stepped forward with an offer to assist Brussels on “what an effective remedy would entail” in its ongoing IE probe.

“I’ll be paying close attention to the EC’s activities, both personally and on behalf of Mozilla,” wrote Baker.

“Mozilla has enormous expertise in this area. It’s an extremely complex area, involving browsers, user experience, the OEM and other distribution channels, and the foundations for ongoing innovation.

"An effective remedy would be a watershed event; a poorly constructed remedy could cause unfortunate damage.”

Baker also hit out at suggestions that Microsoft’s browser supremacy had been halted by the rise of Firefox, which many see as the firm’s first serious rival since the quaint old days of Netscape Navigator.

“Mozilla Firefox is an anomaly – the only product so far to even dent the competitive advantage Microsoft created for itself through its tainted activities,” she retorted. “A single anomaly does not indicate a healthy, competitive, or innovative system.” ®

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