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Mozilla calls for 'open web' in EU Microsoft row

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After days of unrest at Mozilla Towers, the Firefox firm has finally given its official word on Brussels’ preliminary findings against Microsoft for tying its Internet Explorer browser to Windows.

The open source outfit put up a mealymouthed statement on its official blog yesterday in which it said it wants the European Commission to impose a remedy that supports an “open and participatory web”.

But Mozilla doesn’t want to upset the applecart too much. “By the same token, we seek to avoid any remedy that causes unintended damage,” it burbled.

The not-for-profit organisation said that Mozilla has received “interested third party” status in the EC’s probe of Microsoft’s browser business practices.

This means Mozilla may confidentially view the European anti-trust watchdog’s Statement of Objections. Microsoft was handed the bad news last month and told it had eight weeks to issue a written response to the directorate general.

“We may participate in a hearing if the EC concurs. Mozilla’s role as an interested third party best enables us to contribute our knowledge of the browser industry to the EC,” said the browser maker.

The firm also picked up where its CEO Mitchell Baker unofficially-officially left off on what sort of remedy it would like to see.

"An effective remedy would be a watershed event; a poorly constructed remedy could cause unfortunate damage,” she said on her blog late last week.

Now, we have the official-official word on the matter: "A good remedy could be helpful - a bad remedy could create more damage."

So, it looks like the Mozilla CEO at least is on the same page as the firm's legal team on the matter.

Mozilla was forced to reveal its stance on the EC's investigation after one of its software wonks, Mike Connor reportedly hit out at Opera, which originally filed a complaint to the EC in 2007 about MS tying its browser to the Windows operating system.

"As with any dedicated and enthusiastic community, ours is one of diverse opinions," said Mozilla. "Our official stance: (1) we want to offer our knowledge to the EC as it considers its next steps; and (2) we intend to continue public discussions of this topic." ®

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