Microsoft trying to set own antitrust remedy, says Opera CEO

Stripping out IE from Windows 7 is an attempt to duplicate a failed remedy from an earlier antitrust ruling, Opera says

Microsoft's plan to strip out its Internet Explorer (IE) browser from Windows 7 in Europe, due for sale in the fall, is designed to force the European Commission's hand as it devises an antitrust remedy to restore fair competition in the browser market, said Jon von Tetzchner, the CEO of Norwegian browser maker Opera.

"Microsoft is trying to set the remedy itself by stripping out IE," he said in a phone interview Friday.

Opera complained to the Commission about the bundling of IE in Windows in 2007. The complaint sparked an antitrust probe that resulted in formal charges of monopoly abuse in January this year.

The Commission is now formulating a remedy that would include the creation of a ballot screen containing a selection of browsers for users to choose from when they install Windows on their new computers.

Von Tetzchner said such a remedy is just as important now as it was before Microsoft announced the plan to unbundle IE from the new version of the OS.

Microsoft, however, is trying to derail the process by offering a version of Windows without a browser, said Von Tetzchner. "They are trying to replicate the remedy in the media player case, which we all know didn't work."

"If Microsoft got its way there would be no ballot screen, just a version of Windows that has no browser at all -- just like the edition 'n' of Windows that resulted from the earlier European antitrust case," he said.

In that case in 2004, the Commission ruled that Microsoft had distorted competition in the market for media players by bundling its Windows Media Player into Windows. It ordered the software giant to sell a version of Windows that had the media player stripped out, as well as selling the fully bundled version of Windows.

The ruling didn't insist on a price differential between the two versions. Microsoft complied, launching Windows edition 'n' which, not surprisingly, bombed in the market.

The Commission doesn't want to make the same mistake this time, in its remedy for restoring competition in the browser market, and rival browser makers are insistent that there must be no repeat of the edition 'n' debacle.

"It's very important that there is an effective remedy for the browser market," Von Tetzchner said.

"Now that Microsoft has acknowledged it has been breaking the law by bundling IE into Windows, the Commission must push ahead with an effective remedy," he added.

A ruling by the Commission was expected late this year. Von Tetzchner said it may come sooner, following Microsoft's decision to strip out IE from Windows 7. "Their decision should make room for a faster conclusion," he said.

Microsoft explained its decision to strip out IE from the next version of its OS in Europe in a blog posting. The European Commission responded a few hours later.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags ie8ECanti-trusteuMicrosoftWindows 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Meller

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?