Google joins EU antitrust complaints against Microsoft

By Justin Mann on February 25, 2009, 9:48 AM
Shortly after the European Commission started new antitrust proceedings against Microsoft, The Mozilla Foundation went to support the cause and voiced their opinion. This was on top of other browser vendors and several parties in the industry, but as of yesterday the movement may have discovered their largest backer yet. Google has joined the complaint against Microsoft, agreeing with the Comission's findings that tying IE to Windows gives Microsoft an unfair advantage in the browser market.

Even though the newcomer Chrome has a minor share in the browser market, Google has been a Firefox supporter all along. Google claims that browsers are crucial to online innovation and that separating IE from Windows will result in better competition conditions.




User Comments: 9

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poundsmack said:
uggg, this should be a decision left up the the OEM's such as Dell/Hp/etc... This should not be imposed on MS to include or suport someone elses 3rd party browser, thats insane! Remember about 5 years ago when you bought a windows pc and it came with Netscape/Aol/real player? That was the companies making deals with the OEM's to include their software, they pay the OEM's to have it in there. Now any time a company doesn't want to pay they just complain to the EU, why god why?! The fact of the matter is companies started offering the "do not install all this extra garbage on my PC" option and a lot of customers took it and made sure non or very little of that extra stuff is installed. The users that want it installed are not your average user, and since they have knowledge of the product they are usually capable of going and downloading it. Example: if I want Opera (and i do) I go download it once i install windows, i wouldn't WANT windows to come with it, I would rather do it myself. So heres the scoop: these are businesses, if you want to compete in the browser arena then DO BUSINESS! Go make a deal with whatever OEM you want, sign a contract, agree to pay, and boom your in. Don't whine that things are unfair because you didn't make a real effort to compete. "Oh but i have a browser thats free to download but not everyone is using it (cry), what do I do?" If you plan on making money off this thing in any way shape or form, learn how to make deals, STOP EXPECTING HAND OUTS!/end rant(expect typo's)
tedster said:
expect more of this ludicrous anti-capitalist garbage under the Ocrappa administration.
kavey78 said:
First of all, what does the EU have to do with the Obama administration? EU has been slapping Microsoft for quite some time despite the lax attitude the US has taken towards Microsoft. This is not exactly the forum to be spewing Obama hate. Secondly, there is an important piece missing from the responses. Microsoft is a *convicted* monopolist in the US and the EU. The game has changed for them. They do not have the same rights they use to. They have been found guilty of illegally maintaining their dominate marketshare by using deals and various other tactics to keep out the competition. Once you are found guilty of this, you don't get the same set of rules other businesses play buy. You have a stricter set of rules, and you also need punishment. Something to try and level out that playing field that you made unlevel. I reiterate Microsoft is GUILTY. I don't know if this is the best remedy to the problem. It might not be, but what exactly would be the right remedy?
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by kavey78:[/b][quote]First of all, what does the EU have to do with the Obama administration? EU has been slapping Microsoft for quite some time despite the lax attitude the US has taken towards Microsoft. This is not exactly the forum to be spewing Obama hate. Secondly, there is an important piece missing from the responses. Microsoft is a *convicted* monopolist in the US and the EU. The game has changed for them. They do not have the same rights they use to. They have been found guilty of illegally maintaining their dominate marketshare by using deals and various other tactics to keep out the competition. Once you are found guilty of this, you don't get the same set of rules other businesses play buy. You have a stricter set of rules, and you also need punishment. Something to try and level out that playing field that you made unlevel. I reiterate Microsoft is GUILTY. I don't know if this is the best remedy to the problem. It might not be, but what exactly would be the right remedy?[/quote]"Convicted monopolist"? That's a first - nowhere in US laws and regulations it says that it's illegal to be a monopolist. It is also not illegal to hurt the competitors. It is, however, illegal to hurt the competition. They were found guilty of illegal competitive practices and PAID their fines set by the court. BTW, you can remove IE and/or install any other browser, and I want to make that decision myself. Google, Mozilla, etc. can go and make sure that their browsers are installed on the machines by working with OEM's, promoting their products, etc., etc. Alternatively, they can develop their own operating system and bundle it with their browsers. Oh, Linux does come with Firefox... How come that it's legal and MS bundling its browser with its supposedly inferior operating system is illegal?Please mind, that I am not a huge supporter of Microsoft and I am happy that there are now viable alternatives to MS Windows. But trying to wrestle competitive advantage through courts is anti-free market. In addition, why Google, being near monopolist itself joins the accusations?
captain828 said:
Hhmm.... what with all this bashing on MS lately?Hit the big guy while he's down?IMHO, common sense would be that you can install/uninstall whatever browser you want. It's also useful to have an included internet browser with your OS as soon as you finish installing a fresh copy of Windows.Also, it's MS' OS... this would be like forcing BMW to install Brembo brakes on all their cars because they are more responsive than stock brakes. It's the developer's/manufacturer's choice to use certain components, and the consumer's choice whether to accept that or not and to buy that product.
kavey78 said:
[quote]"Convicted monopolist"? That's a first - nowhere in US laws and regulations it says that it's illegal to be a monopolist. It is also not illegal to hurt the competitors. It is, however, illegal to hurt the competition. They were found guilty of illegal competitive practices and PAID their fines set by the court. BTW, you can remove IE and/or install any other browser, and I want to make that decision myself. Google, Mozilla, etc. can go and make sure that their browsers are installed on the machines by working with OEM's, promoting their products, etc., etc. Alternatively, they can develop their own operating system and bundle it with their browsers. Oh, Linux does come with Firefox... How come that it's legal and MS bundling its browser with its supposedly inferior operating system is illegal?Please mind, that I am not a huge supporter of Microsoft and I am happy that there are now viable alternatives to MS Windows. But trying to wrestle competitive advantage through courts is anti-free market. In addition, why Google, being near monopolist itself joins the accusations? [/quote]Alright, so let's split hairs here. Yes I did say convicted monopolist, and you're right, there is nothing illegal about being a monopoly, but I did clarify and say they were found guilty of illegally maintaining their position, which we're in agreement, they were found guilty. Once you're found guilty of this, the rules change. It is no longer a free market and the law has a bit more say in what you do.You CANNOT remove IE. I know you slid in the and/or making it ok, but the AND is irrelevant, you CANNOT remove IE. At least not without a lot of trickery and hacking, and BTW, it'll break other software. On the other hand, with Linux, Firefox may be bundled, but on my Linux install I have at least 3 browsers that are preinstalled by my distro and I can set any of them to default without seeing Firefox launched by another application (which I can't say for other Microsoft apps that prefer to use IE). I can also remove any browser I choose, and even have the option of building my own distro with whatever programs and packages I want. Oh and if IE was available for Linux, I bet at least one Linux distro would include it, but alas, it's not available. And before you spout about IE not being open source, one of the default browsers in my distro is Opera, also not open source.Yes, they paid their US fines, but this isn't the US either (and last I checked, they are still fighting the fines in the EU). Top it off, this is a separate case from the one that they have the huge fine on. There is a long history of Microsoft using it's power (not it's skill) to edge out the competition, dating back to the DrDOS days (longer? no idea). Each of these are separate cases being fought. They are still fighting in court over illegal anti-competitive practices dating back many years. But fining isn't always enough. If a company has been leveraging itself for many years like MS has, you need to take action to bring it back down. So with IE, they leveraged the OS and other parts (IIS was then leveraged by IE and vice-versa although IIS still hasn't supplanted Apache) to gain dominance. They are now dominate in the browser market. So you fine them and walk away? They don't care, they pay the fine and continue to dominate the market with the illegally gained power. That is what this is suppose to help rectify. Bring Microsoft back down to a level field before they were dominant. Are you seriously saying that illegal gains can be kept as long as you pay a fine?The US DoJ actually wanted to split Microsoft into separate entities. Browser company, OS company, Office company, etc. This was part of the original deal. True that the DoJ later decided against it which just leaves a fine. That's the decision, and for better or worse, that's what it is. In the EU, they are trying to punish Microsoft for it's ill-gotten gains. The fine is punishment, but the leveling of the playing field is trying to remove the illegally gained dominance. Again, I don't know if this is the best method, but I don't really have another suggestion for it either.
mattfrompa said:
If I have to add a browser to my list of installation files when setting up new machines, I'm going to be...slightly annoyed. I will install whatever browser/s is needed, although more is not merrier. Hey! Why not just install one other browser by default like OS X does? If that doesn't solve the "problem" then what will? It could be a painful process for users looking to completely eliminate IE, since many web-based application are built for it (those who have used HTML know that the MS does not follow the exact standards set by IEEE, so page and application designs are affected by this.
DarkCobra said:
Gez, it seems like almost every week we beat this same horse again. OK, let's beat it some more LOL. I'm a user of Microsoft's OS and I'm a loyal fan of the Firefox browser. Is IE embedded in their OS? Yup. That's why it's called a "system". Microsoft is providing the end-user with a full system for operating and updating their computer. Now can you use a different browser if you don't like IE? Yup. Millions of us are doing so with no problems. Now you can whine all day and night that IE is still embedded in there and it's somehow still making your life miserable (how, I have no idea). I say to this . . . get a life. There are a lot of things in life to whine about but this ain't one of 'em. Now there's a strange twist to all this that puzzles me. None of the other browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.) charge you a nickle for their product! They are all free downloads. So where is the anti-trust violation here? Where is any real harm to them here at all? They don't want MS to provide a browser, yet none of them are losing any money because of this since none of them are selling their browser! If they were trying to SELL their browsers to us as third party alternative software then I could see the argument.Finally, I've repeated said this here before and I'll say it again. If you buy Ford (or any other brand of car) you are going to get the brand of radio, tire (whatever) that they provide. If you don't like that brand of radio or tire then you can swap it out for a third party replacement of your choice when you get it home. But you DON'T get to sue Ford for FORCING you to INITIALLY buy their choice of radio and tire that they provided. Ford didn't FORCE you to buy that car or that radio or tire that comes with it. You can go buy somebody elses car!
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by kavey78:[/b][quote]The US DoJ actually wanted to split Microsoft into separate entities. Browser company, OS company, Office company, etc. This was part of the original deal. True that the DoJ later decided against it which just leaves a fine. That's the decision, and for better or worse, that's what it is. In the EU, they are trying to punish Microsoft for it's ill-gotten gains. The fine is punishment, but the leveling of the playing field is trying to remove the illegally gained dominance. Again, I don't know if this is the best method, but I don't really have another suggestion for it either.[/quote]Sorry, abbreviated the quote a bit. Getting too long.I can understand your frustration with Microsoft in particular, but the bottom line is: EU is wasting taxpayers money suing Microsoft. Does IE interfere with your work if you install another browser? Plain and simple: no. So the sticking point is not removal, but bundling. OK, Sherman Act covers that: any tie-in sales are per se illegal. So why not go after Apple with iTunes being bundled with QuickTime (which is more nuisance than IE sitting in the background), MobileMe, and whatever stupid network monitoring software they push on you? Adobe PS bundled with PictureBridge? Answer is pretty simple: EU is after easy money. Unfortunately, it does NOTHING to improve competitiveness of the market. It encourages the likes of Google to go through the courts to gain any leverage in any situation. Not to make their product better, but just sue someone. Google with Chrome failed to make a dent in the browser market, Apple with Safari failed to make a dent in the market (Apple, BTW, bundles hardware, OS and browser). Firefox did by making a superior browser. That's the way it should be. I used IE once - when activating Windows and downloading Firefox. Is it so hard? One advice to Google - you want Chrome being on more computers, advertise, educate, convince. By the way, look up a landmark case of US gov't against Xerox for voiding the warranty for copying machines using non-Xerox paper. Interesting read.
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