Feeds

Antitrust probe looms over Windows RT 'browser ban'

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

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.