Microsoft user group demands Opera boycott over EU suit

In blog posts, the JCXP editor cites the browser maker's role in filing the antitrust suit as the reason for the proposed ban

A Microsoft enthusiast group is calling for the boycott of Opera Software's products due to the browser maker's part in the antitrust campaign against Microsoft in Europe.

"Today we are proposing a complete boycott of all Opera software," David Taraso, the editor of the JCXP group, wrote in a blog post last week. The group hosts user forums about Microsoft software.

According to another post by Taraso, which clarifies the initial post after users reacted to it, the group targeted Opera exclusively because it was the Oslo-based company that filed the antitrust suit against Microsoft in Europe, although Mozilla and Google joined the suit later as interested parties.

"To put it simply ... they started it," he wrote.

Reached via e-mail on Monday, Opera declined to comment on the boycott. The company creates browser software for use on PCs and mobile devices.

The antitrust suit in Europe over Microsoft's inclusion of the Internet Explorer (IE) browser in its Windows OS has been extremely controversial, particularly since the European Commission was mulling a "ballot screen" remedy that would require OEMS (original equipment manufacturers) to include other browser options in Windows besides Microsoft's IE.

This idea sparked a heated debate between parties on both sides of the issue. OEMs in particular objected because it would mean more work for them, and trade groups claimed it would harm the development of Windows to take IE code out of the OS.

As a result of the fuss, Microsoft last week said it will not include IE 8 in the version of Windows 7 that is sold in Europe.

Some said this move would allow competitors like Opera and Google to strike exclusive deals with OEMs to include their browsers in the OS instead.

According to the JCXP, the ballot screen option is a "ridiculous idea" that would require Microsoft to promote competing products within Windows.

"That's like Pepsi putting a label on their drinks saying 'Have you tried Coke lately?'" Taraso wrote.

He said that he doesn't necessarily have ill will toward Opera, and thinks it "has introduced many fantastic innovations to the browser market."

However, "I don't agree with what they are trying to do here," Taraso wrote. "I definitely agree that Opera should have a larger market share, but not by forcing Microsoft to advertise their product in Windows."

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
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