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IBM-led tech outfit backs EC in Microsoft browser fight

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Tech group ECIS has today been granted third party status to testify in the Brussels probe into whether Microsoft abused its dominant browser market position.

The organisation that represents the likes of IBM, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems confirmed today it had joined Google and Mozilla in being allowed to have its voice heard by the European Commission.

“This is an important case to ensure that browsers can compete on the [sic] merits and that consumers have a true choice in the software they use to access the World Wide Web," said ECIS spokesman Thomas Vinje.

"Smaller, more innovative browser developers need a level playing field. That is why there is such broad support for the Commission’s preliminary findings of abuse.”

Last month the EC extended an eight-week deadline it had imposed on Microsoft in January, when Brussels issued its preliminary findings that stated MS had violated anti-trust laws by bundling Internet Explorer with the Windows OS.

Rival browser makers have already declared their interest in the bunfight with Microsoft. Opera initially kicked off the legal spat by complaining to the Commission in December 2007.

Following the EC's prelim Statement of Objections against Microsoft in January, Firefox maker Mozilla and Chrome maker Google announced separately their intentions to back European watchdogs' proceedings against Redmond. ®

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