Feeds

EC rejects Microsoft's browser promises

Smoke + mirrors

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Commission seems unimpressed with Microsoft's chest-beating - the company said yesterday it would release versions of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer in order to comply with EC competition law.

The Commission has rejected Microsoft's pre-emptive move, announced yesterday, to give computer manufacturers the option to buy Windows without a browser. The Commission said it was still deciding whether Microsoft's behaviour since 1996 had been anti-competitive, and if so what remedy would be required to improve consumer choice.

But it said: "If the Commission were to find that Microsoft had committed an abuse, the Commission has suggested that consumers should be offered a choice of browser, not that Windows should be supplied without a browser at all."

The Commission statement dryly notes: "Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less."

The Commission made clear in its Statement of Objections in January that its prelimary finding was that Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to its operating system broke EC law on abuse of a dominant position - you're allowed to monopolise an industry in the EC, but being in that position brings special responsibilities.

The Statement of Objections outlined concerns that Internet Explorer enjoyed "an artificial distribution advantage" which protected IE from head to head competion with other browsers, which therefore reduced product innovation to the detriment of consumers. The investigation followed complaints from rival browser maker Opera.

The EC also said, perhaps rather ominously, that it would be guided "by the principles laid down by the Court of First Instance in its judgment of September 2007 in the Microsoft case regarding the tying of Windows Media Player and the Commission's experience with the remedy in that case."

Of course that case, based on tying of Windows Media Player, and leveraging its desktop monopoly into the market for workgroup servers, ended up costing Microsoft €497m for the original offence and another €899m for not complying with the judgement. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy
Even Moore's Law can't help the architects of statism now
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI
Read the paperwork very carefully - or fall victim to marketing shysters
Rimini Street promises 'business as usual' after Oracle IP judgment
Rimini's wrong on Oracle database licence, says judge
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.