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
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
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
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.