Microsoft gets second extension in IE EU antitrust brouhaha
Deadline to respond pushed back again
EU antitrust regulators have granted Microsoft yet another extension to respond to charges that the software giant abused its dominant market position by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.
A European Commission spokeswoman confirmed to The Register this morning that Microsoft has been given a one-week extension. The company now has until 28 April to respond.
This is Microsoft’s second extension. The EC, in its preliminary findings announced in January this year, said that the tying of IE to Windows “harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”
At the time Microsoft was given eight weeks to respond to the charges. The firm was later granted an extension to 21 April, and that deadline has now been pushed back another week.
We asked the Commission why Redmond had been handed yet another extension, however, the spokeswoman declined to comment.
Brussels’ antitrust watchdogs charged Microsoft with infringing EU rules by bundling its browser and operating system together on 15 January.
The preliminary Statement of Objections issued by the EC, which is the executive body of the EU, followed a year-long investigation it launched after complaints from rival browser maker Opera.
Microsoft may be ordered by the EC to offer multiple browsers on new Windows-based PCs. The vendor could also be hit with a sizeable fine. ®
Lets be honest, this is just another excuse for the EU to grab more money from private enterprise in the way of a fine. The average user dosn't give a shit what browser they use. I currently have chrome, firefox and ie in use on my pc, to be honest i don't really see much difference in terms of performance between any of them.
I suppose it's because the filetype association still exists. It could just as well fire up Notepad.
Windows will always be stuck with MSHTML/MSXML, there are two many around programs which need them. But then again MacOS has Webkit even though you can drag Safari to the trash and Linux has KHTML.
If the installer gets rid of the IE directory in Program Files, the icons from the desktop and Start Menu, deletes the filetype associations, and stops Windows Explorer turning into IE when you put a web address in the location bar then that's good enough for most people. Microsoft can tell the EU they've put a DLL there and it's up to developers if they want to use it. The fanatics can overwrite MSHTML with a wrapper round Gecko but that's not Microsoft's job.
Time to make a real difference
For the EU to go after one particular application is a waste of time and resources. A single supplier controlling 90% or more of a single market would lead to drastic regulatory measures in just about any other industry. ICT shouldn't be any different. It is time to fight back against the secretive OEM-regimes which have hampered competition in this sector for decades. Ban hardware/software bundling. Make it mandatory to specify prices for software and hardware separately, and require resellers to sell either separately. Thus, a reseller who insist that the price of software in a bundle is only £5 must be able to deliver 1000 licences for £5000 if asked.