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ACT backs Microsoft in Brussels' IE legal spat

'Something surreal about the entire concept of this complaint'

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A trade group representing tech firms including Oracle, eBay and Microsoft has unsurprisingly thrown its support behind the Redmond firm in its current antitrust spat with the European Commission.

The Association for Competitive Technology has been accepted as an interested third party in the case.

Mozilla, Google, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems and the Free Software Foundation have already been granted third party status in the ongoing legal brouhaha.

Last week Microsoft was given a second extension by the EC, which is the executive body of the European Union, to respond to the Commission’s preliminary findings that stated the software giant had abused its dominant market position by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

Prior to that deadline extension, the company had been expected to deliver its response today.

"There is something surreal about the entire concept of this complaint," the ACT said in a statement, according to Computer World.

"Not only has the same case already been adjudicated in the US, but Microsoft's Internet Explorer is no longer even the No. 1 browser in Europe, let alone the dominant one."

The outfit pointed to recent browser market share figures from StatCounter that showed Firefox 3.0 edging past IE7 in Europe. However, unsurprisingly it failed to mention that when all versions of Internet Explorer were counted, Microsoft still retains a 10 per cent lead over Mozilla’s popular browser.

Microsoft now has until 28 April to respond to the EC's preliminary findings. ®

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