Feeds

Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

Internet Explorer shenanigans: Hasn't Microsoft been down this road before?

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

US politicians are reportedly poring over complaints by Mozilla that Microsoft will block access to rival browsers in Windows 8 on ARM, aka Windows RT.

The powerful Senate Judiciary Committee plans to “take a look” at the allegations made by the Firefox maker last week, which were backed up by Google. Whispers of a probe apparently came from antitrust subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl's aide. El Reg has yet to see if this is more than just talk.

The report came after Mozilla’s chief lawyer said Microsoft was denying access to APIs for Windows 8 on ARM needed by Firefox to run on the new platform.

Mozilla general counsel Harvey Anderson called the restrictions a return to the digital dark ages "where users and developers didn't have browser choices".

Google pitched in, saying it shared Mozilla’s concerns over lack of choice and competition.

A stirring of US politicians would be an unwelcome development in the story of Windows 8 for Microsoft and its long-awaited move into tablets. It will mean publicity of the wrong kind as Redmond is forced onto the defensive and comparisons are drawn with the company's previous bad behaviour.

The committee presides over antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights in the US. It was the judiciary committee that pulled in a reluctant Bill Gates for testimony in March 1998 as part of its investigation into monopolies in the software industry.

Gates appeared along with Netscape Communications CEO Jim Barksdale and Sun Microsystems CEO and co-founder Scott McNealy.

Microsoft's co-founder and then CEO told the politicos on duty that day that Microsoft did not have a monopoly.

However, the hearings took place as the US Department of Justice prosecuted Microsoft on antitrust violations for coupling Internet Explorer to Windows, making it tricky for Netscape to establish itself as users discovered the internet. Microsoft was found guilty of breaking antitrust law, but escaped a breakup order on appeal and change of government.

Code from Netscape's heavy-weight browser - Internet Explorer's arch rival - evolved to form the basis of Mozilla’s much leaner Firefox, although today's browser is a completely rewritten beast.

In recent years, the committee’s attention has passed from Microsoft to Google, thanks in part to prompting from Redmond: in 2008, Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith gave testimony against a search deal between Google and Yahoo!

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt was quizzed following complaints his advertising giant was hurting rival services by biasing search rankings for its stuff in its favour - he denied the allegation. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.