The European Commission and Microsoft

February 6th, 2009

Last month the European Commission stated its preliminary conclusion that “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”

In my mind, there is absolutely no doubt that the statement above is correct. Not the single smallest iota of doubt. I’ve been involved in building and shipping web browsers continuously since before Microsoft started developing IE, and the damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation, and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing. There are separate questions of whether there is a good remedy, and what that remedy might be. But questions regarding an appropriate remedy do not change the essential fact. Microsoft’s business practices have fundamentally diminished (in fact, came very close to eliminating) competition, choice and innovation in how people access the Internet.

Let’s think back for a moment to the activities in question. In the mid-1990s Microsoft began developing Internet Explorer in response to the success of the product known as Netscape Navigator. In this period Microsoft developed a fine product (particularly the version known as IE 4). Kudos to Microsoft for this. Microsoft also promoted IE through activities that the US Department of Justice and the U.S. Courts determined to be illegal. As result, Internet Explorer ended up with well over 90% market share. Once this happened, Microsoft stopped browser development; even disbanding its browser team. The product stagnated and then became a prime vector for bad actors to inject spyware onto consumers’ computers. There was no meaningful response or innovation from Microsoft. Despite this, there was no effective competition from the marketplace, no commercial entities gaining success with other products. This is not surprising — I don’t think there has been a single example of anyone ever regaining market share from a Microsoft monopoly until Mozilla Firefox.

As it turns out, Microsoft hasn’t succeeded in stamping out all competition. Firefox has made a crack in the Microsoft monopoly. And, given a choice, a significant part of the European Union citizens have opted to use Firefox. This does not mean Microsoft’s activities haven’t done significant damage, or aren’t still benefiting Microsoft in ways that reduce competition, choice and innovation.

Equally important, the success of Mozilla and Firefox does not indicate a healthy marketplace for competitive products. Mozilla is a non-profit organization; a worldwide movement of people who strive to build the Internet we want to live in. I am convinced that we could not have been, and will not be, successful except as a public benefit organization living outside the commercial motivations. And I certainly hope that neither the EU nor any other government expects to maintain a healthy Internet ecosystem based on non-profits stepping in to correct market deficiencies.

Second, non-profit or not, Mozilla Firefox is an anomaly — the only product so far to even dent the competitive advantage Microsoft created for itself through its tainted activities. A single anomaly does not indicate a healthy, competitive, or innovative system.

Third, the damage caused by Microsoft’s activities is ongoing. Mozilla Firefox has made a crack in the Microsoft browser monopoly. But even so, hundreds of millions of people use old versions of IE, often without knowing what a browser is or that they have any choice in the quality of their experience. This makes it very difficult to bring innovation, choice or improved user experience to vast parts of the Internet.

The extent of the damage is so great that it makes it difficult to figure out an effective and timely remedy. I believe it’s worth some effort to try. It’s easy to look at Firefox market share and assume the problem is gone or the damage is undone. But that’s not the case. The drag on innovation and choice caused by Microsoft’s actions remains. At Mozilla we work to reduce this drag through direct action, and the results are gratifying. If the EC can identify an effective remedy that also serves to improve competition, innovation and choice, I would find it most welcome.

I’ll be paying close attention to the EC’s activities, both personally and on behalf of Mozilla. Mozilla has enormous expertise in this area. It’s an extremely complex area, involving browsers, user experience, the OEM and other distribution channels, and the foundations for ongoing innovation. An effective remedy would be a watershed event; a poorly constructed remedy could cause unfortunate damage.

I’d like to offer Mozilla’s expertise as a resource to the EC as it considers what an effective remedy would entail. I’ll be reaching out to people I know with particular history, expertise and ideas regarding these topics. If you’ve got specific ideas or concerns please feel free to contact me. I’ll post more as the discussion develops.


114 comments for “The European Commission and Microsoft”

  1. 1

    Pingback from Rob Sayre’s Mozilla Blog » Blog Archive » Competition

    [...] Mitchell Baker: Last month the European Commission stated its preliminary conclusion that “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.” [...]

  2. 2

    Pingback from Internet Explorer: Microsoft and the EC on Dion Almaer's Blog

    [...] Baker has a post on the EC prelim conclusion on Microsoft and IE: From EC: “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms [...]

  3. 3

    Eddy Nigg said on February 6th, 2009 at 10:39 pm:

    ..and kudos to you for taking a clear stance! I believe competition is great for innovation, and keeping products and its vendors sincere as Firefox has shown.

  4. 4

    lrbabe said on February 7th, 2009 at 3:40 am:

    So should we thank Microsoft because their monopoly was the condition for the “Firefox anomaly” to happen?

  5. 5

    Max Kanat-Alexander said on February 7th, 2009 at 11:52 am:

    This is an extremely well-written statement of exactly the truth. Thank you for writing it, and I hope that the EC accepts your offer of expertise. :-)


  6. 6

    Alan said on February 7th, 2009 at 11:53 am:

    As I said on Rob Sayre’s blog, the issue is clearly not solved by simply not shipping a browser, it’s solved by varying the browser that’s shipped; not having a single browser account for every OS install.

    The solution, in my eyes, is to have a de-coupled IE which is just as independent from the OS as any other browser. OEMs would be encouraged (by their customers’ requirement to do so) to ship with at least one browser pre-installed. The OEMs, who make up the vast majority of OS sales, would then chose to ship a browser of their choice – it may be IE, or it may be Chrome, Opera, Safari or Firefox instead. Leaving this choice up to the OEM would help proliferate the different browsers on a variety of default installs. If a customer doesn’t like their browser they’ll change it. But by not having ‘a’ default browser they’ll understand that they have a choice. This solution would also work in the same spheres as the EU’s misguided ‘N’ edition aimed to solve.

    As for non-OEM installs, they would potentially follow the outline above and allow the retailers to personalise the copies they sell with the selection of their own software suites/titles (possibly in a free CD included along with your purchase of the OS — install the OS for basic functions and then an ancillary CD for your music player, browser etc.).

  7. 7

    Kumar said on February 7th, 2009 at 6:39 pm:

    Windows is a Microsoft Product, they should be able to ship what they want with it. If consumers don’t like it, they can stop buying Windows.

    A LOT more users will be affected if the operating system doesn’t ship with any browser. Yes, IE has its faults, but there is no reason it shouldn’t ship with Windows.

    if Macs become the majority of the OS, will the same community also talk like this about Safari?

  8. 8

    Andre said on February 7th, 2009 at 7:41 pm:

    I think the public sector needs to back technologies that help us overcome dependencies and lock-ins.

    100 Million $ is nothing for a single government but imagine 100 Million $ spent on Openoffice development. *) Not because the public sectors needs to use these technologies but because the dependencies are so costly for their tax payers and undermine competition. If governments want to overcome the problems they will have the means to do it legally, e.g. via army contracts with support companies. The payoff is a lowering of procurement prices, regardless what product the users actually chose.

    This is equally true for the promotion of open standard. Over the past 15 years Microsoft invested in lobbying that created an openness backlog of the public sector. Too little money was spent by competitors on openness promotion. The European effort for a second European Interoperability Framework is encouraging.

    The same applies for patent reforms. We need to overcome the software patenting regimes that blocks innovation, in particular in the field of standards and html5.

    For the Mozilla Foundation I believe it should invest in an ODF browser plugin that enables you to view ODF files as easily as PDF files. It is a minor investment but quite effective.

    Another field of action where I see a role of the public sector is development of static analysis tools to help improve code quality.

    Essentially I think software as Firefox is so basic that the public sector should crossfinance it. What I find amazing is that development is relatively cheap. Software as Firefox, Thunderbird, Mailman covers the essentials required for participation in the net. As the software development costs are minor that software should be commodity and thus supported by the community. Economists can explain you why private donation lead to suboptimal contributions.

    The problem with politics is that open source support is suboptimal because open source communities don’t invest in lobbying as those IT companies do, and their IT projects are basically ineffective ‘state capture’. Thus the libertarian reflex of those who want to be productive and focus on the deliverables. But the tragedy is: We have the most efficient software development methodology in terms of public benefit for investment but insufficient funding. We need performance based rewards for our contributions to the society and just get suboptimal results with corporate charity contributions.

    The key is a shift from the promotion of competitiveness to
    competition in the market place. In a mixed economy it is better for all of us when essential software becomes a commodity and the work is reasonably paid.

    *) As part of the bailout packages governments are about to dump billions(!) in private broadband internet networks. In other words ‘new cables’. Why not invest a small amount of public money in the free software that silently powers these networks, or in a tool such as Firefox that enable us to effectively use the networks. We know that with cheap wireless mesh technology you can contribute to better net coverage of rural areas, yet no public money for Freifunk enabling technology or projects like OpenWrt, all public money goes to private operators for the ‘stupid’ extention of their own networks.

  9. 9

    Toe said on February 7th, 2009 at 10:33 pm:

    Kumar: Actually, very few users would be affected if the OS didn’t ship with a browser. Mainly because most users don’t buy operating systems – they buy *computers*. And if the OS didn’t ship with a browser, the computer maker would put one there, and most users wouldn’t know or care about the difference.

    But then, computer makers *could* ship an additional browser today. A good question is why exactly they don’t…

  10. 10

    RichB said on February 7th, 2009 at 11:55 pm:

    Are you saying that a web browser should not be part of an operating system? I even remember Jean Louis Gasse ranting that an OS without a web browser is ridiculous.

    So, how about a bad web browser? In much the same way that Notepad is a bad text editor, and other text editors are available, Microsoft ship a bad web browser with their operating systems – but – better text editors are available.

    Indeed, web browsers didn’t used to be free…until…Netscape made Navigator free (first for non-corps).

    It’s striking that Microsoft’s first good, innovative (yes) browser since IE5 is just around the corner. And the anti-trust lawyers have come out to play again. I don’t think the two are unrelated.

    If you want Microsoft to get out of the web browser game, all operating systems must be forced to get out of the application game. ie Notepad, Paint, iCal, emacs etc must also not be shipped by OS vendors. To do otherwise would be hypocritical.

  11. 11

    Pietro said on February 8th, 2009 at 2:48 am:

    Everyone seems to forget the fact that MS actively require that MSIE stay on your computer. Even if the the EU succeeds you still need IE , because the MS Update. and other MS web resources generally will not work in other browsers. To get fair treatment from MS, requires that they be forbidden to make this requirement and make their web sites compatible to other browsers.

  12. 12

    Pingback from Boycott Novell » Links 08/02/2009: Linux Aficionado in Government, New Distributions

    [...] The European Commission and Microsoft Last month the European Commission stated its preliminary conclusion that “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.” [...]

  13. 13

    Iang said on February 8th, 2009 at 2:23 pm:

    We all love Mozilla for its open source and its success, but this is a bad direction for Mozilla. It’s difficult to even know where to begin in this debate, and it is very discouraging. Mozilla as a group knows how to put together a great standards-based software product (my three standard tools are Firefox, Thunderbird and Skype, two out of three ain’t bad). What it does is great, but what it doesn’t know is scary.

    1. Mozilla knows practically nothing about competition. Indeed, by mission and design, it prefers to go open source and defer to standards, rather than to get into real competition. Standards are just privately-managed monopolies over design, architecture and protocol; they are the friends of interoperability and we all love them for what they deliver, but they are the enemy of innovation and competition. We use standards when we’ve figured out how to do something, and don’t want change for change’s sake (aka competition). For that they work. But if we believed them all the time, we’d be talking OSI or, if in Brussels, Minitel. Innovation, they ain’t.

    2. It is absolutely wrong to say that tying a browser to an operating system “inhibits competition”. There is no law nor natural economic basis nor reason to believe that a browser has to be a freely interchangeable unit. The facts that Mosaic released the browser as an application, and that Netscape started “selling” that same browser as an application, and for a while, browsers were applications delivered by independent vendors, are not sufficient to establish a general principle nor law. It is a historical fact that many innovations done in application space have moved into OS space, and vice-versa.

    3. it is discouraging that a group like Mozilla decides to promote the anti-trust cause, whether it is in Brussels or Washington. This is 1980s thinking; it didn’t work then, and it won’t work now that we have an open, international Internet. The PC and Unix defeated IBM, not anti-trust. Even before then, the lesson was clear — AT&T defeated the DoJ by agreeing to break up Ma Bell into the Baby Bells, sell off the Baby Bells, and make out like bandits. I personally have never seen an end-user win anything from a government intervention, and last I checked, Mozilla’s mission is to serve its end-users. Microsoft will win this game, they know more about it than Brussels, they can outspend Brussels, and they can out-strategise them as well.

    4. The first rule of competition is not to go find the biggest bully in the playground and start a fight. You got to where you are now without the help of the headmaster, now it is being suggested that Mozilla’s future lies with seeking out the bigger bully than the biggest bully. That is a loser strategy, not a competitive strategy. If true, Microsoft will be cracking the champagne open already.

  14. 14

    Alan said on February 8th, 2009 at 2:53 pm:

    ZBob, what I was getting at in the passage you quoted was that if a customer doesn’t like the browser they were shipped in place of IE they would change to IE themselves – which is perfectly fine! My point here is that by ensuring not every copy of the OS comes with the same browser that people will then, over time, learn that they have a choice over which browser they use, as opposed to the current situation where the vast majority are unaware of this very fact because every copy of Windows they use has ‘the blue E’ icon.

  15. 15

    Dhaval Faria said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:16 am:

    so why just Microsoft and Windows? why not Apple? Safari?? Mac?? for simple reason.. Microsoft has load of money.. and all u want to eat it.. thats the bottom line. go screw Apple as well.. dont just go behind Microsoft.

  16. 16

    Vinod said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:56 am:

    I find this extremely disturbing. Of course you will agree with the EU statement – most probably you (and others like you) had something to do with the statement coming out in the first place!

    What I find disturbing is that you as a company and the EU as a “governmental” body are trying to regulate innovation in a product. Why should MS not put in a browser? Every version of Linux has Firefox in it. Then please take those out itself. In fact other than TELNET there should be no Web browser and people should telnet to port 80 and download their first browser on ANY operating system.

    I think Firefox should just continue bringing out it’s product and if it is good enough, people will automatically download and use it. Don’t fire a gun over the EU’s shoulder’s at Microsoft unless you can compete fairly with their product.

  17. 17

    G Fernandes said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:21 am:

    [QUOTE]trying to regulate innovation in a product[/QUOTE]

    You are joking right? I mean, what you’ve written is either a joke or you’re completely ignorant of the DoJ findings against Microsoft (hint: use google, search for the results and READ IT).

    Microsoft has singularly blocked innovation through it’s monopoly and devious practices. If the EU has to regulate today is because it has NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER. Microsoft has been dictating terms to preserve their lock-in on the OS and Office markets for far too long.

    You’ve just proved your ignorance about:
    1. what happened to Netscape
    2. what happened to IBM’s OS/2
    3. what happened to Sybase
    4. how every OEM has been prevented from distributing alternatives (see again (2) for what happened to IBM’s OS/2).

    Microsoft has been delivering a shabby product that is an insult to any average person’s intelligence (apparently not your’s though – strangely enough) for years and they have got away with it.

    It’s time to crack down on them, destroy the monopoly, encourage innovation and deliver choice and innovative solutions to customers.

  18. 18

    Pingback from Mozilla chief backs Opera’s browser-bundling complaint against Microsoft | All about Microsoft |

    [...] Baker, Chief Executive of the foundation, has gone on record saying she concurs with the European Commission’s preliminary conclusion that  “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms [...]

  19. 19

    IE user said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:43 am:

    I wonder if people have taken into consideration that some Web surfers actually like using Internet Explorer. I, for one, have tried Firefox and Chrome and have gone back to IE. I’m pretty sure those that want to use another browser can do download it. Haven’t people been saying that IE is the best browser in the world — to download Firefox?

    Shirley this is sour grapes against Microsoft. Apple bundles its browser — Safari — in to its OS — and makes it the default browser, why isn’t Opera and Mozilla complaining about this? Is it because IE has the most users?

    It seems as if the complain that Microsoft is cramming IE down people’s throat will be taken over my Opera and Mozilla with their respective browsers.

  20. 20

    Karsten said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:59 am:

    @lang: Have you read the EU statement of objections? These are very weak arguments. It almost hurts.

    This case the commission opened is rock-solid. Tying is illegal. The Commission didn’t invent the law. When Microsoft became a monopolist it was forced to stick to the obligations. Now Opera complained and the Commission investigated it. Their preliminary statement of objections says that it found it well founded.

    This is all about the Browser rematch. This time Bush junior cannot mess it up!

  21. 21

    Pingback from Finance Geek » Mozilla To EU: Can We Help Kneecap Microsoft? (MSFT)

    [...] a weekend blog post, Mozilla Foundation chairwoman Mitchell Baker spews venom at Microsoft and announces her desire to participate in the European antitrust [...]

  22. 22

    kokosimo kokosimowitch said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:48 am:

    Dear Ms. Baker. Consumer choose Windows over other operating systems, consumer choos IE over other browsers. That’s their right. You want goverments/courts to decide what happens on market. You should live in some country where goverment do it. For mayority of my life I lived in socialist country (Poland) and I can tell you that where goverment decide on market there’s no choice on market, people are very poor and political repressions are something “normal”. Maybe you should move to North Korea? If you think that you are more clever than all people who have chosen IE over Netscape (a kind of “collective cleverness”) maybe you shoudn’t be so happy because of people who help develop Firefox by choosing it (“collective cleverness”). Maybe you thing they are ex definitione right and those of IE are ex definitione wrong? The world is white and black? Pro-Firefox geniuses and pro-IE idiots? Is Mozilla some kind of cult?

  23. 23

    Ben Bucksch said on February 9th, 2009 at 10:05 am:

    “the success of Mozilla and Firefox does not indicate a healthy marketplace for competitive products.”

    Thanks, Mitchell, for this clear and true statement (all of the above).

  24. 24

    Ben Bucksch said on February 9th, 2009 at 10:11 am:

    > consumer choos IE over other browsers.

    They didn’t choose, that’s the fundamental problem. Barely anybody used MSIE4, even though IE was free and most other browsers were not, until Microsoft left people no choice and bundled it with Windows.

    (I don’t know why Mitchell didn’t mention this important part – the raise in market share has a clear time connection to the bundling, so it’s even provable.)

  25. 25

    Harry said on February 9th, 2009 at 10:16 am:

    It’s people like you who ruin the economy, all you need is someone to support your selfish motives. It’s such a degenerated idea of looking at technology….it’s very sad.

  26. 26

    Pingback from SitePoint » Firefox Exec: Bundling? No Thanks

    [...] Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker, in a post on his blog, somewhat contradicts Connor’s notion that bundling isn’t equatable to market share. [...]

  27. 27

    kokosimo kokosimowitch said on February 9th, 2009 at 10:19 am:

    @Ben Bucksch:
    could you tell me, when MS forced people to use IE? I’ve always had a choice. When I started using Internet in the first half of 90. I used IE, than Netscape Navigator, then IE, now I use almost always Firefox, sometimes Opera. EVERY TIME I had a choice. No MS employee was forced me by gun, policeman, goverment nor court to use their product.
    Maybe, if Bill Gates sent people to force you to use IE, you should call the police?

  28. 28

    Iang said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:35 am:

    > @lang: Have you read the EU statement of objections?
    > These are very weak arguments. It almost hurts.
    > This case the commission opened is rock-solid.
    > Tying is illegal.

    Hi Karsten, No I haven’t, and I don’t need to, because my position is that Mozilla should not get involved, Mozo should stick to what it does best. By all means, post them!

    The point is that competition is done by producing a better product, and getting benefits to your users. It is not done by going to the government and asking for favours, nor by whining about unfair practices. Bundling is business. Tying your product is business, it’s called “synergies” elsewhere, and people guard customer lists jealously so that others can’t unbundle the relationship.

    If you don’t like it, produce a better product. Find a better synergy. That’s what Apple did, and they are over half way there. Firefox did that up until now, and it’s 20% of the way there. That’s competition. Don’t change a winning formula.

  29. 29

    Kean said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:49 am:

    Lol ?

    Der IE ist ein bestandteil des Betriebsystemes,das heißt ohne Explorer kein Internet Explorer,weil dieser nur ein aufgesetzter Explorer ist,der zum Browsen dient,aber nun gut…

    Die Frage ist doch aber jetzt folgende..
    Warum wird wird Apple nicht verklagt wegen seinem Safari.
    Warum werden Handy Hersteller mit Symbian UIQ 3 nicht verklagt,weil sie den Opera mit integrieren ?
    Wie sieht es mit IBM aus ?

    Da gibt es noch zig andere OS Hersteler die man gleich mit verklagen sollte,aber bei Microsoft scheint man wohl die meiste Kohle abzuschöpfen….

    Und mal ganz im ernst den IE benutzt man in der Regel nur einmal und das um sich einen vernünftigen Webbrowser zu Downloaden,also was soll der Jammer Alarm von Mozilla und Opera ?

    Das ist meiner Meinung nach die schlechteste Werbung und mieseste Tour die Mozilla und Opera bringen konnte.

  30. 30

    Eddy Nigg said on February 9th, 2009 at 12:22 pm:

    @kokosimo: Did you ever try to remove IE from your OS? :-)

    Besides that it’s a bad design decision, it removes competition because IE will be always there. I think Windows should ship with “wget” command line browser.

    @iang: Microsoft is officially still a monopole and has to conform to laws regulating monopoles. Their success is also their grief at some point.

  31. 31

    Pingback from If Windows Didn’t Ship With IE, How Would You Download Firefox? | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

    [...] innovation, and the pace of the Web development itself is both glaring and ongoing,” Baker wrote. “There are separate questions of whether there is a good remedy, and what that remedy might [...]

  32. 32

    Peter Russo said on February 9th, 2009 at 2:09 pm:

    Am I missing something here? Mozilla is a free download, other browsers are free, IE is free. The key word here is FREE. Why are governments wasting taxpayer money for a free item? Shouldn’t the EU (or any government) go after Ubuntu or Apple for bundling a browser with their OS?

    I like John Paczkowki’s headline, let see how Baker has a solution to that one!

  33. 33

    David R said on February 9th, 2009 at 2:22 pm:

    Mozilla is doing the same, but with Google as the built in search engine.

  34. 34

    Otto de Voogd said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:05 pm:

    vinod writes: “Every version of Linux has Firefox in it.”

    First of all, this is not true. Firefox is not a part of Linux and Linux does not require Firefox to be distributed along with it. Neither is Firefox integrated into the Linux operating system.

    In fact Linux is a good example of how it should be, each distribution chooses it’s own set of applications to ship along with the Linux operating system. There is no monopoly distribution, there are several big players and hundreds of small ones. Some (probably most) do ship Firefox, but I am pretty sure you can find a distribution that does not ship with Firefox or distributions that ship with several browsers. That Firefox dominates on Linux is based on its merit, not because the maintainers of the Linux OS decided that Firefox had to be shipped with every copy of Linux, but because many distributions made separate independent decisions to include Firefox in their distribution.

    For windows we could have a similar situation, if OEMs, not Microsoft, decided what software applications they wanted to ship along with Windows. OEMs could then ship with one or more preinstalled browsers, but not necessarily with IE.

  35. 35

    Monopoly said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:09 pm:

    The people who comment here doesn’t know the meaning of monopoly. When there is a monopoly the rules change! This is a capitalism’s fundamental rule! This is why the EC doesn’t go after safari and firefox. If there isn’t competition the user will suffer!

  36. 36

    Lennie said on February 9th, 2009 at 5:20 pm:

    @RichB When you say emacs, I presume you mean Linux and Unix. The whole point of Linux distributions is choice, you can choose what to install and for each application there are alternatives in most if not every distribution.

    Nothing has to be installed by default and what it, alternatives are around the corner; Alteast in Linux/Unix land, in Windows this is different. And that’s the problem.

  37. 37

    Lennie said on February 9th, 2009 at 5:24 pm:

    @Vinod Linux distributions are already come with not just Firefox they also include Ephipany and Konquerer and what not. People already have a choice there.

  38. 38

    Lennie said on February 9th, 2009 at 5:25 pm:

    @IE user Why are people not complaining about Apple, because Apple actually makes a browser that adheres to the standards and doesn’t stiffle innovation.

  39. 39

    Lennie said on February 9th, 2009 at 5:30 pm:

    @kokosimo kokosimowitch Consumer choose is hardly the case here, they buy a new computer, they get windows, they get windows applications, they buy a new computer they need windows, it’s the well known circle of lock-in.

    Also Microsoft forces the OEM’s not to install any other alternative browser.

  40. 40

    Pingback from richard cleaver » Microsoft and the European Commission

    [...] post is worth reading. Filed under technology Tags: European Commission &bull Firefox &bull Internet [...]

  41. 41

    Luis said on February 9th, 2009 at 8:09 pm:

    i agree, MS’s tying of IE to thier OS just disuades people from changing or maybe trying. Some posts above say that why only IE and not Safari, well because the IE build or something like that is used by the OS to perform certain tasks (that is why you can’t completely uninstall it), and safari doesn’t (as far as i know). I’m not saying computers should come by default with only telnet (like one of the comment above says), no, I’m saying that they should make IE independent from the whole OS just as Office.

  42. 42

    pcuser said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:54 pm:

    If Mozilla doesn’t like the fact that Windows, an operating system developed by Microsoft, includes their own browser, which they have every right to do, then they should darn well develop, build, and pay the costs associated with their own operating system. The EU stepping in and trying to impose their own rules on the rest of the world is nothing short of a crime itself. It is a free market, it always has been and Microsoft has paid billions in development costs for its software and now Mozilla wants to get a free ride on this. If Microsoft made their software so that only IE runs on it, even that is their right – they paid the development costs, the marketing costs and everything else. If anyone can’t deal with that then they shouldn’t buy it, or they should make their own software! It is not any companies responisbility to develop something to make it easier for someone else to come along and freeload off it. I might as well sue Toyota for not building a car that I can put a Ford part on, or for that matter sue Apple for making an operating system that won’t legally run on the hardware of my choice!

  43. 43

    Nick said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:55 pm:

    This is all costing way too much money, which I’m afraid will be mainly funded by tax-payers.

    Where does it end? Does Microsoft have to detach, Paint, Notepad, Defrag, Task Manager and Explorer as well? This is what I would call BS. People buy an PC with OS to get started with a computer, not to get an empty shell and having to work out how to get anything done at all.

    The majority of all people wouldn’t even know what the hell to do if no browser is available.

    Also Windows N wasn’t sold at all. The entire Media Player debacle costs millions of Euros, and for what? So Microsoft had to spend more money as well, making a windows version that wasn’t sold at all. The fact that companies are too lazy to come up with something better than stuff built into windows is not a justification for any of this.

    This is pathetic.

  44. 44

    Eruaran said on February 10th, 2009 at 3:05 am:

    “Apple bundles its browser — Safari — in to its OS — and makes it the default browser, why isn’t Opera and Mozilla complaining about this? Is it because IE has the most users?”

    Apple does not tie its browser to the operating system. IE is tied to Windows.

    Since Safari is not tied to the operating system you can completely uninstall it. You cannot uninstall IE.

    Safari is a standards compliant web browser. IE deliberately breaks web standards.

    Microsoft Update and other web based services from Microsoft will only work with IE. There is the case of the infamous update which stopped people’s PC’s from shutting down. You have to get a patch from Microsoft Update. You are forced to use IE.

  45. 45

    Eruaran said on February 10th, 2009 at 3:21 am:

    @ pcuser

    “The EU stepping in and trying to impose their own rules on the rest of the world is nothing short of a crime itself”

    The EC’s judgements only apply within the EU.

    “It is a free market”

    I work in this market. It’s not a free market.

    “If Microsoft made their software so that only IE runs on it, even that is their right”

    No it isn’t. It is an anti-competitive abuse of their market monopoly. Microsoft deliberately breaks web standards and distorts the market. No one else ties a web browser to the underlying operating system.

    “If anyone can’t deal with that then they shouldn’t buy it”

    You don’t buy it. Its “free” in the sense that you don’t have to pay money for it. It has been free in this way and bundled as a lock-in part of Microsoft Windows ever since Microsoft decided it had to cut off Netscape’s oxygen supply (to echo their own words). They destroyed legitimate competition in applications and they destroyed another company. That incident alone should have been enough for the DOJ step in and break up this criminal monopoly.

    “they should make their own software!”

    We do. And Microsoft makes sure that their software is not interoperable.

    “It is not any companies responisbility to develop something to make it easier for someone else to come along and freeload off it.”

    No one is “freeloading”.

    “I might as well sue Toyota for not building a car that I can put a Ford part on”

    That is a false dichotomy. A better anaology of what Microsoft does would be to make sure a Microsoft care can only run on Microsoft petrol and you are forced to refuel at a Microsoft petrol station, and to have that become the “standard” so that if you drive a Toyota, your car isn’t compatible with their car, their fuel, or their petrol station.

    “sue Apple for making an operating system that won’t legally run on the hardware of my choice”

    You should.

  46. 46

    Pingback from Mozilla unterstützt EU-Kommission gegen Microsoft | OSNote

    [...] Mitchell Baker, die Vorsitzende von Mozilla, hatte der EU-Kommission bereits vor einigen Tagen Unterstützung angeboten, (via [...]

  47. 47

    Bermont said on February 10th, 2009 at 3:48 am:

    Maybe Mozilla could design a software that would allow IE to be removed without harming operability of other functions? IE is certainly not essential to the OS, except by monopolistic design.

  48. 48

    Pingback from Mozilla will EU im Kartellverfahren gegen Microsoft helfen - Software | News |

    [...] das von Opera angestrengte Kartellverfahren der Europ

  49. 49

    Pingback from Serwis Informacyjny Gó » Archiwa bloga » Mozilla wystąpi przeciwko Microsoftowi

    [...] się faktem kilka dni po tym, gdy Michelle Baker, przewodnicząca Fundacji Mozilla, w swoim blogu zaoferowała Komisji Europejskiej ekspertyzę poświęconą tej [...]

  50. 50

    Pingback from freedom bits » Why the Commission is doing the right thing on antitrust

    [...] Mitchell Baker of the Mozilla Foundation pointed out in her recent blog posting, there is little doubt among the experts involved in these issues that the Commission has done the [...]

  51. 51

    Pingback from Претензии к Microsoft, по поводу навязывания Internet Explorer

    [...] также присутствуют Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome и Safari. В своей публикации в блоге исполнительный директор Mozilla Митчелл приводит [...]

  52. 52

    pcuser said on February 10th, 2009 at 6:37 am:

    “The EC’s judgements only apply within the EU.”

    While that may be true, when fines and such are levied, everyone ends up paying for it.

    “monopoly legal definition
    The domination of a commercial market by only one supplier, worldwide or in a particular region.

    Webster’s New World Law Dictionary”

    Microsoft is not the only supplier by a long shot, while they may hold a large market share, obviously consumers have made the choice to use their product (mostly because MS was smart in making an OS that runs on such a wide variety of hardware). People are always free to choose Mac OS, Linux, Unix or whatever else they may want, or even to develop their own. Microsoft has invested a lot of money in making a product that is compatible with the largest amount of hardware so that people do have a choice and until someone comes out with something better, they have every right to bundle their own product as they see fit.

    What it comes down to is that Microsoft produces Windows and as such it is their right to put it out however they wish, it is their product. If Microsoft made it so that no one could install another browser, that would still be within their right, however people can freely download and install browsers of their choice, or even build their own to run on Windows. The fact that you cannot uninstall it means nothing as you can totally choose not to use it and use whatever browser you choose. As for certain things like Windows Update only working through IE, that is no longer the case as IE is no longer needed to do updates in Vista and above, and for the past, it was still within Microsoft’s right to only allow their updates for THEIR operating system to be installed through their browser.

    Mozilla on the other hand has a hearty lead in browser usage for Linux, and while their certainly are other choices, Microsoft IE is not one of them (unless run in an emuation mode) which pushes back the claim that Microsoft has a Monopoly on their browser.

  53. 53

    Pingback from Shame on Mozilla | The Technology Liberation Front

    [...] of Mozilla and Firefox does not indicate a healthy marketplace for competitive products,” she wrote. “I am convinced that we could not have been, and will not be, successful except as a public [...]

  54. 54

    whatevern said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:03 am:

    You lost my respect, Mozilla. Same as Opera did.

  55. 55

    whatevern said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:13 am:

    Mozilla is a non-profit organization;


    With profits liek yours, you still call yourself like that?

  56. 56

    Deke said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:36 am:

    IE became a success in the first place due to the notorious bugginess of Netscape.

    It took Mozilla forever to provide a stable browser.

    IE changed the market for browsers by introducing a fairly bug free browser. After the introduction of IE the Internet usage sky rocketed.

    The fact that IE is now part of Windows is not relevant. I use Firefox for all my browsing, but I would not recommend it to my parents. They barely understand browsing.

    So stop crying over the fact that MS is better at their market and start making a decent product.

  57. 57

    Bob said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:50 am:

    @Lennie Also Microsoft forces the OEM’s not to install any other alternative browser.

    Um…perhaps you should check your facts there – Microsoft at one point did put pressure on OEM’s back in the NN days not to bundle other browsers. However, this is definitely not the case today.

  58. 58

    Pingback from Mozilla: The European Commission and Microsoft

    [...] and MicrosoftWritten by Vygantas Lipskas on February 10, 2009Mitchell Baker from Mozilla has published an article on EC vs. MS case. For those who are not interested to read all what was said there, [...]

  59. 59

    Seb said on February 10th, 2009 at 9:26 am:

    I use firefox and have done for a long time, but people need to realise that people need a built in browser when they get a new OS. You try and make a statement saying your open and a good company but you want to force people ethier to use firefox or not be able to get on the internet due to having no browser in the OS, Microsoft made the OS why should you tell them they have to put stuff on. Make your own OS if you want control. Id love to have you email me back to tell me why microsoft cant have a built in browser, seriously I’d love to know why!

    Notice how I have no problem what so ever with IE being built in, but I use firefox 99% of the time!

  60. 60

    Pingback from 451 CAOS Theory » 451 CAOS Links 2009.02.10

    [...] offers to help EC investigation of Microsoft Mitchel Baker offered her assistance to the EC as it considers an effective remedy after it concluded that Microsoft’s [...]

  61. 61

    boklm said on February 10th, 2009 at 10:24 am:

    “Shouldn’t the EU (or any government) go after Ubuntu or Apple for bundling a browser with their OS?”

    Why ? As far as I know, bundling a browser with an OS is nothing illegal. The reason why integrating IE in Windows is illegal is that it is anti-competitive abuse of market monopoly.

    Ubuntu and Apple don’t have a monopoly, how could they be guilty of abusing a monopoly ?

  62. 62

    Andrew said on February 10th, 2009 at 10:40 am:

    “But even so, hundreds of millions of people use old versions of IE, often without knowing what a browser is or that they have any choice in the quality of their experience.”

    This statement is exactly correct. In fact, most of my computer science friends exclusively use OSX or Linux and shun all Microsoft products. But I feel that lack of consumer knowledge is exactly the reason why MS must be allowed to continue to bundle IE with Windows. If people can uninstall IE, I guarantee that a non-negligible number of people will either accidentally uninstall it without knowing what it is, or will uninstall it in favor of something like firefox only to have the new browser’s installation break. What will happen to these consumers? How will they get a new browser to install in this day and age without access to the internet? Will Mozilla send free installation cds to every European affected by this anti-trust decision?

    Also, if your argument is that many people just fundamentally don’t understand what a browser is and how it affects them to the point that they don’t even update IE, what makes you think that, given the choice, they’d choose a browser from a company they’ve probably never heard of?

  63. 63

    Why required? said on February 10th, 2009 at 11:22 am:

    I am using Firefox from it’s born but such activities of Mozilla team make me think they are brain dead and no way better then proprietary SCO. Live in peace. If your browser is better – it will be on top one day. But M$ DONT-HAVE-TO include options for third-party software to their products. Also IE uses activex which IS A MUST for Enterprise. Very likely Mozilla lost one of active users now.

  64. 64

    Tim said on February 10th, 2009 at 11:37 am:

    You should leave this case while it’s not too late.

    Or your name will be ruined forever.

  65. 65

    Pingback from UE, Mozilla contro Microsoft - il centro Dell’informazione

    [...] pronunciasse, ma quando è arrivato il momento non l’ha certo mandata a dire. E mentre Baker annunciava la sua intenzione di offrirsi alla UE in qualità di consulente per dirimere la questione, ecco che [...]

  66. 66

    Pingback from Mozilla, The UE and Google: The Tatayet Syndrome. « Codorblog

    [...] a weekend blog post, Mozilla Foundation chairwoman Mitchell Baker attacks  Microsoft and announces her desire to participate in the European antitrust [...]

  67. 67

    Pingback from Mozilla joins EU case against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer | Microsoft News Tracker

    [...] Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker voices the corporate discontent even if she is a trifle fuzzy on what should be done about it: Last month the European Commission stated its preliminary conclusion that “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.” [...]

  68. 68

    Pingback from Mozilla joins EU case against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

    [...] Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker voices the corporate discontent even if she is a trifle fuzzy on what should be done about it: Last month the European Commission stated its preliminary conclusion that “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.” [...]

  69. 69

    Manfred said on February 10th, 2009 at 8:21 pm:

    It seems to me that Microsoft just serves as a cash cow for the EU, if they need money they sue Microsoft.
    I wonder if the fines are already included in their yearly budget.
    And the Mozilla Opera claim reminds me of the AMD – Intel issue.
    If you can’t beat them with better products, call them a monopoly and sue them; the EU is ready to help if they can make some money for themselves in the process.

  70. 70

    Mark Blafkin said on February 10th, 2009 at 10:14 pm:

    If I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed I was living an episode of Life on Mars. Really? we need to go back and rehash something that was adjudicated and remedied 10 years ago? At a time when the facts prove beyond any doubt that the arguments being made are absurd? Seriously… I’m with @Tim: Get out while you can, Mitchell!
    @Andrew – You are absolutely right. Mitchell seems to wants to sue Microsoft because there are a few million borderline Luddites out there who refuse to upgrade to any new browser, let alone Firefox or Opera. I made a similar point in our blog today:

  71. 71

    Ravi said on February 10th, 2009 at 11:04 pm:

    This is completely ridiculous. Will European manufactured cars like BMW & Mercedes stop loading top end GPS navigation in their exported cars to US or start loading it with multiple GPS systems so that the user can choose one.

  72. 72

    sigh said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:06 am:


    The only completely ridiculous thing here is your understanding of the situation. How about at least educating yourself before spouting nosense?

    Your comparison shows that you haven’t a clue what this case is all about.

    BMW and Mercedes did not break the law with their GPS systems. They did not abuse their dominant position in one market to prevent competition in another market.

    Microsoft DID abuse its dominant position in one market (desktop) to prevent competition in another market (browsers). This is ILLEGAL.

    Please get a clue before commenting

  73. 73

    sigh said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:17 am:


    What’s with the racism against the EU? Did you conveniently forget that the same thing happened in the US?

    Get a clue please.

    And this quote is relevant here:

    “The EU used the same anti-trust law against other large European companies. You think that a few billion Euro is inflating the economy? You sound like a dumb American patriotard.”

  74. 74

    Pratt said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:23 am:

    What a cry baby, grow up.

  75. 75

    sigh said on February 11th, 2009 at 3:42 am:


    Who are you talking to?

  76. 76

    Tommy said on February 11th, 2009 at 3:50 am:

    First, we need to understand what we are talking here.

    It is not about Microsoft, the richest IT-company vs “poor” Opera (or any other company).

    It is not about cashing money from Microsoft because it has it.

    It is about getting justice for the Internet users, Internet-browser builders and even for operating system markets.

    There is two words. “Dominant position on the market” and “Monopoly position on the market”. First one is that company might have even only a 25% market share, but it might have such big share when compared to other competitors, that it can control market prices, used products and affect development of the markets. The second one is the situation when company is the only player on the specific markets and there is no competitors.

    Everyone understands that monopoly is very bad situation. And usually all monopolies are protected by governments. There can be two kind monopolies, the natural and the legal. Monopolies what are protected by governments are the legal ones. And the natural monopolies has grown as itself, without controlling, first the company/companies gaining a dominant position on the markets.

    There is anti-trust laws against these. Sometimes it ends up that few big companies on the same market gets almost equal share, among multiple smaller companies, with very small share totally. In this cases, sometimes these big companies makes the deal, not to compete each other (price wars etc). To protect common interests. Because they have biggest share on the market together, they can control it together as they please. And smaller companies can not compete with them because they just don’t have the market power.

    Then there is possibility, that corporation gets the dominant position on the market, it starts controlling the markets and grows up, until it is so big that it is almost a monopoly. In these cases, to get to these markets, you need to first brake the affect what the dominant position is having. It is not easy because where ever you go, you only see it’s products used. No real choses for customers to choose what they want to use.

    In this situation, there is government what checks the situations on the markets and listen competitors complains and checks if there is something what against law.

    If situation is such that the government judges one company to dominant position on the markets, the special laws gets applied to this company. The company can still work as always, but it just can not use it dominant position on other markets to conquer other markets. That is illegal.

    If there is no rules on the markets, the dominant position owning company will end up to monopoly situation. Then all the customers will suffer because the company with monopoly, does not need to develop anymore it’s products. There is no need to lower the prices, but it can rise them up what ever it likes. Because everyone who needs it’s products, need to use it’s products, not competitors.

    The dominant position, what Microsoft has. Has same kind effect. Microsoft’s products are used on OEM’s computers, it’s Internet Browser comes with the OS. It’s MSN Messenger comes with the OS. etc etc. It has tied other products from other markets, to it’s main product, the operating system. So it has one big bundled product what includes all it’s products.

    Because Microsoft has dominant position on the OS markets, with it’s NT operating system. (Windows XP, Vista and 7 all includes the NT operating system, the same operating system since NT3 and NT4, versions are just 5.1, 6.0 and 6.1. The naming has changed to fool normal users that new windows would not be the same OS as it was. And many falls to that marketing). It could any day bundle a new product with it’s NT operating system, and the product would get in few years over 80% market share. Without the need to implant features what customers needs, it just would be available “free” for all Windows users.

    Now ask your self. What you would feel if you have gained 50% share on the web browsers markets by pushing money to development and features what users want and customers really likes your product when they need to choose it from 5 choises and one of those is Internet Explorer. And then Microsoft choose to bundle the Internet Explorer to it’s NT operating system so it is preinstalled to the system for the Windows customers?

    Now every Windows user, has preinstalled Internet browser on their desktop. No need to install any other browser from CD or other disks. You just click the icon on the desktop and you are on the web…

    And because Microsoft has over 80% market share with it’s NT operating system on the OS markets, over 80% users has Internet Explorer on their machines. Preinstalled, pushed to their desktop and suggested by marketing how fun, easy and secure it is. Most users do not want to learn any technical stuff. They just want to read news pages, enjoy the facebook and youtube and browse the web. Internet Explorer does all that just fine. They do not change the browser because the preinstalled is enough for them. Even it would suck when comparing features of other browsers on the markets…

    Microsoft even integrated the Internet Explorer to it’s operating systems, so it could not be removed (there is applications what delete some of IE files and changes the register keys, but does not remove it, just brake it).
    So you ended to situation that Internet Explorer was on your machine, always. All software makers coded their applications so they used Internet Explorer to render help files and other stuff to, instead doing first checks to system that what is the default browser and used that.

    When we talk about operating systems, we talk only about NT (“hybrid kernel” with microkernel structure), Linux (monolith kernel) and so on, because those are the operating systems. Nothing else.

    We do not talk about the marketing term “operating system” what is actually the software system. You do not need internet browser to run your applications. The Internet Browser itself needs an operating system to run. All applications needs at least the operating system. Usually all applications needs an operating system, system applications, software libraries and all kind other stuff to work. Applications can offer you an graphical user interface or commandline. The fact just stays, the operating system is “under the hood”.

    The Operating System and Internet Browser are two different products. Same is for all other applications like notepad, solitare and moviemaker. Those ain’t part of the operating system. The Operating System is the most important software on the software system because it controls all the other applications.

    In history, Microsoft has integrated all kind applications to operating system itself. Like Internet Explorers parts was integrated to operating system, so when the Internet Explorer got infected, it was already on the Operating System itself too. Now on the Windows 7, the NT 6.1 operating system should’t anymore include the Internet Explorer parts. On Windows Vista, the NT6 operating system, still includes those.

    When you use Linux distributions like Ubuntu, you use Linux operating system. If you use Mozilla Firefox on it, it ain’t part of the Operating System. It comes preinstalled but you can remove it. You can even use alternate installation disk and install the whole software system without Firefox preinstalled. You are free to do what you want. You can swap Mozilla Firefox to Opera browser and share that disk to your friends, bundle it to computers what you can sell and your customers would get Opera instead Firefox.

    But problem is, no one else has dominant position on the OS markets than Microsoft. That is the fact what stays.
    If Apple would get dominant position on the OS markets, same rules would apply to it. Then instead EU vs Microsoft, it would be EU vs Apple. But, we are in this situation so we need to fix it first and not build theories what if….

    The thing is that special laws applies the company when governments rules that company has dominant position on the markets. After that, company is tied to follow those rules.

    Microsoft had anti-trust case against it in 90′s. And since then, Microsoft has ruled to own dominant position on the OS markets and is still in such. Microsoft even had monopoly on the Intel-compatible computers then. It had deals with OEM’s that if they sell other OS’s than ones from Microsoft, they loose the permit to sell Microsoft OS’s and that would simply kill them from the computer markets because people needed Windows OS’s. That is position what Microsoft got only building vendor lock-ins to it’s products.

    “The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court”s determination that Microsoft had a monopoly in the market for Intel-compatible personal computer operating systems. United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34 (D.C. Cir. 2001). Microsoft”s operating system monopoly is protected, in part, by the “applications barrier to entry.” See id. at 55-56. The applications barrier to entry exists because an operating system serves as a platform for applications that computer users desire to run on top of the operating system. If a competing operating system has a limited number of users, software developers have little incentive to develop applications for that operating system. Without a rich set of applications, it is unlikely that many consumers will switch to the competing operating system.

    Middleware products, however, offer the potential for eroding the applications barrier to entry. A middleware program is not an operating system, but rather is platform software that runs on top of the operating system. Middleware enables application developers to write programs that run on the middleware platform rather than directly on the operating system this allows the application to run on any operating system that the middleware runs on, without requiring the application developer to port its applications to multiple operating systems. Middleware therefore can facilitate the creation of a range of cross-platform applications, which in turn could make non-Windows operating systems more attractive to users and enable those operating systems to compete on their merits.

    The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court”s conclusion that Microsoft unlawfully maintained its operating system monopoly by engaging in a range of exclusionary conduct designed to quash the nascent threat to the applications barrier to entry posed by middleware products. In particular, Microsoft engaged in a campaign to eliminate the potential threat from the Netscape Navigator web browser by placing restrictions on OEMs, integrating Internet Explorer into Windows in a manner that did not permit users or the OEMs to remove access, and engaging in restrictive and exclusionary practices with respect to Internet Access Providers, ISVs, and Apple. Microsoft was also found to have attempted to mislead and threaten software developers in order to contain the competitive threat from “Java” middleware technologies. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court”s conclusion that all of this exclusionary conduct violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act.”

    Microsoft was ruled to be sliced to three parts. One company to build OS. One company to build Internet Browser and one company to build Office applications. They fighted very hard to get this judgement off, and in the end one judge did it to favor Microsoft.

    I say that Microsoft was very stupid then, because if they would take that judment as it was. They could do almost anything since then to these days.
    Last year U.S compete deparment ruled that they continue keeping Microsoft in the leech, because if they release Microsoft, they can use again their dominant position on the OS markets to do what ever they want.

  77. 77

    Monopoly Abuse said on February 11th, 2009 at 4:21 am:

    I can’t believe how people react here without understanding the charge. Which in MONOPOLY ABUSE. Comparisons with other companies whether car makers or other software makers do not apply because they do not have a monopoly. It’s that simple! If Apple had 95% of the desktop market and Microsoft 5%, it’s Apple that would be charged with monopoly abuse if it did what Microsoft does now.

    Furthermore European law applies in Europe, monopoly abuse is illegal. Period. A European company, Opera (not Mozilla), filed a charge against Microsoft. That charge has been investigated by the European Commissioner for competition, and will now be brought to court unless Microsoft and the EC settle the dispute.

  78. 78

    Pingback from Should Mozilla stay out of the whole IE/EU antitrust mess? | Hardware 2.0 |

    [...] Baker appears to be getting ready to wade in pretty deep: [...]

  79. 79

    Pingback from Pacoup’s Blog » Blog Archive

    [...] Read this. [...]

  80. 80

    SilverWavw said on February 11th, 2009 at 11:26 am:

    Ok pragmatic solution:

    The EU states that MS has to include the top 5? most popular browsers with IE and the user is asked which one they would like to use on first use after install.

    Yes it not the fairest solution in the world by its quick and easy to administer and police.

    The Small Print:
    The Browser Maker would have to ask to be put on the list, pass a functionality test and agree to provide updates.

    MS would be forced to agree not to favour one browser over the other.

    A trusted firm would need to work out the popularity.

    On first use if there is net connectivity the list is updated.
    Any problems and you go with the old list.

  81. 81

    SilverWave said on February 11th, 2009 at 11:41 am:

    Ok pragmatic solution: Continued…

    The cherry on the top is to address the previously sold MS OS’s in the EU.

    MS to use their Update Service to offer this as a Critical Update (This is valid as it is at least as critical as WGA).

    This would need to be offered to any one in the EU.

  82. 82

    Mark Blafkin said on February 11th, 2009 at 1:59 pm:

    Will try again, since my previous reply didn’t seem to make it through the censors.

    @sigh – You’re actually wrong about the facts. The legal theory that Microsoft was using its dominance in Windows to stop competition/gain a dominant position in the browser market was thrown out relatively early in the US case. They were instead found to have used illegal methods to protect their existing monopoly on the desktop. The inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows was NOT found to be an abuse.

    What is more, is that facts that have piled up since the US trial have only provided MORE support for Microsoft’s defense.

    * Every major operating system today includes a browser – even MOBILE operating systems. The charge that this design decision was merely a ruse to lock out competitors looks silly in hindsight. Consumers want that functionality out of the box, so operating system developers and OEM’s make sure to include browser functionality.

    * Microsoft has lost about 25% Market share worldwide, averaging about an 8% per year drop. In Europe, IE is down under 60%. Mozilla has picked up the majority of this so far, but Apple’s Safari browser and Google’s Chrome are also gaining. Much like the Commission’s case on Media Player, they aren’t letting the facts get in the way of good rhetoric.

    * When Microsoft Slowed its IE Innovation, Competitors Emerged and Started Taking Market Share. . . Microsoft Started Innovating Again. The fact that Microsoft includes IE in Windows didn’t prevent it as the government/etc. asserted at the time! Following the consent decree with the USDOJ, Microsoft enabled consumers and OEMs to hide IE and set alternative browsers to be the default. There is nothing limiting Opera or Mozilla’s access to Windows users, and the change in market share demonstrates the market is working just fine despite Microsoft’s inclusion of IE with Windows.

    * Oh and one more for good measure. During the trial, Bill Gates said that somewhere in a garage somewhere there is a few guys building a company that would topple Microsoft some day. Sergei and Larry were literally working out of a garage when he said that.

    So, the EC is now out to prove that the inclusion of IE in Windows was anticompetitive and deserves a remedy that goes beyond giving OEMs and consumers the ability to hide IE and make other browsers the default. A charge the US courts threw out even when the DOJ had a much better fact pattern to work with. Oh, and their effort to do the same thing with Media Player has proved disastrously ineffective. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they won’t keep trying…

  83. 83

    Monopoly Abuse said on February 11th, 2009 at 3:08 pm:

    @Mark Blafkin
    IE’s falling market share is not that relevant to the case, what matters is that Microsoft has used it’s dominant near-monopoly market share in the desktop market to give other products (in this case their browser) an unfair advantage. Which ever way you turn it, it’s hard to deny that IE has an advantage by the fact that it’s being distributed as part of Windows. It’s also hard to deny that Windows has a near monopoly of the desktop market. These are the facts that matter most.

    The media player remedy was a fiasco indeed, one can assume that the commission will have learned something from that and apply a different remedy this time.

  84. 84

    Pingback from Q&A on Mozilla and the European Commission :: The Mozilla Blog

    [...] The European Commission and Microsoft [...]

  85. 85

    Pingback from Perguntas e respostas sobre a Mozilla e a Comissão Europeia :: O Blog da Mozilla no Brasil

    [...] The European Commission and Microsoft [...]

  86. 86

    annie said on February 12th, 2009 at 12:43 am:

    The issue of Internet Explorer can not be resolved by forcing Microsoft to remove it from Windows there are too many third party applications that now rely on it. eg Yosemite Backup Software requires IE to present to operate. Why does a piece of Backup Software require a web browser? If you are providing a web interface to manage backups, why not use a standard web server? That is because Microsoft provides an integrated browser which does not need a web server to access the Operating System.
    What is required is for Microsoft to do is to remove IE from all future versions of Windows, so that it is a separate download. In addition Microsoft must change Windows so that administration it requires dedicated binaries not using IE and a standard web client interface which can be managed using any web browser. Third party vendors then must integrate with the web server to provide application interfaces which are accessible by any browser.
    In order to provide choice in respect of the web server on Windows, it is important that Apache must be able to fully replace IIS if the customer should wish to.

  87. 87

    Anders Otte said on February 12th, 2009 at 1:48 am:

    Just my thoughts:

    * Decouple Windows and Internet Explorer. That is sell Internet Explorer separately (for a price) and remove the help system to Internet Explorer lock-in.

    * Have EU force companies with more than say 50% marketshare to use open documented standards and fully documented APIs (FREELY available API documentation that is). Also it would be good to disallow monopolies from making “supersets” of open standards defined by others.

    * Another product that is just as big a threat to the internet is Adobe Flash.

    * On another note Mozilla could also do with a more open policy about it’s search engine (e.g. Google) lock-in. Especially with an easier user opt-out.

    Best regards,
    Anders Otte

  88. 88

    Pingback from Mozilla Joins EU « Tarpon’s Swamp

    [...] Mozilla Foundation chairperson Mitchell Baker has stated her full support for the EU’s conviction that Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to Windows is harmful to the competition. They will offer full cooperation and will assist the EU with their expertise on the browser market. She wrote on her blog: [...]

  89. 89

    Godzilla said on February 12th, 2009 at 2:16 am:

    Total fluff !!.and u writing such stuff when Industry going from slowdown??…you are loosing a lot then !!..I think this article is written just to get moral support fro community..unnecessary debate goin on..n Mitchell Baker even not bothering to jump in and reply !

    Mozilla done a good job in past and people do have some expectations from them to come up with something better..If they improve on their wonder ppl will opt it as first choice to surf net..instead of crying and running everytime to EU and shouting Help Help !!..very sad !

  90. 90

    kokosimo kokosimowitch said on February 12th, 2009 at 7:57 am:

    Ms.Baker’s stance has nothing to do with “freedom” or “innovation”. It’s just fight for money, nothing less nothing more. Browsers’ market became more competetive since Chrome. Mozilla afraids that when Google will stop paying them in 2011 they won’t find any other such big source of money and Chrome will steal them their market share. So they try to steal IE’s market share but not by means of competition, innovation, freedom of choice and producing better browser, but by government’s decision. Then, having more market share in 2011 it will be easier to defend Mozilla’s positions against Chrome.
    That’s all about market share and money. But you should remember what Jefferson said: “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have”.

  91. 91

    DropDead said on February 12th, 2009 at 11:21 am:

    What’s next. Windows media player comes installed, is that anti-trust as well. How about the calculator, notepad, solitare? Anyone can add Firefox and remove IE if they want, no one is stopping them. Just forcing microsoft to add everyones software to the install would make the OS so overloaded that everyone would need an IT pro to set up their computer.

  92. 92

    feedo said on February 12th, 2009 at 11:24 am:

    WOW, all I can say is after reading about this I uninstalled Firefox from my computer.

  93. 93

    Carlo Gray said on February 13th, 2009 at 5:46 am:

    I think that to came pre-instaled with an OS, the browser have to follow some rules, like respect at least 98% of the W3 patterns.

    So if the browser respects W3 patterns it is “good” for everyone, then if you like/prefer some other browse you could install it yourself.

  94. 94

    Pingback from Akron Headlines | Tech News, Sport News, any news that is interesting to Valerie Shipbaugh

    [...] Mozilla Chairperson Mitchell Baker, in a post on her blog, somewhat contradicts Connor’s notion that bundling isn’t equatable to market share. [...]

  95. 95

    Patmuhpreatte said on February 15th, 2009 at 1:15 pm:

    Your web page does not correctly work in safari browser

  96. 96

    Llewellyn said on February 19th, 2009 at 12:17 pm:

    My take on the EU vs Microsoft case is to ask whether bundling IE with Windows is anticompetitive. It is if no alternative is offered through Windows. It is now, however, possible to download Firefox,Chrome, Opera etc on any Windows computer and even to use any of these browsers as the default browser. This does not sound anticompetitive to me….

    I also believe that as Microsoft designed both Windows and IE, they should have creative rights to do what they please with these pieces of software.

    I also ask myself where the ruling will take us in future.A fine for Opera perhaps due to its Opera Mini browser being dominant in the mobile browser market? ( I am typing this using Opera by the way). A lawsuit against Apple for bundling Safari in its OS? And so on…

  97. 97

    Pingback from Talkibie » Archive » Mozilla to European Commission: We’ll Help You Come Up with a Microsoft/IE Remedy

    [...] Friday, Mozilla Foundation chairperson Mitchell Baker offered Mozilla’s expertise as a resource to the EC as considers what an effective remedy would entail.  According to Baker, [...]

  98. 98

    Pingback from Ballmer defende abertura para competir com a Apple « Blog Vivalivre

    [...] Ainda, o efeito da Microsfot no mercado de navegadores fez com que a Mozilla se involvesse em uma recente ação da Comissão Européia contra a gigante de software, com Mitchell Baker da Mozzilla recentemente declarando ‘Algumas [...]

  99. 99

    Pingback from Apple iPhone Teaches Microsoft Meaning of Irony | The Minority Report

    [...] Mitchell’s Blog » Blog Archive » The European Commission and Microsoft BARCELONA, Spain–iPhone maker Apple isn’t at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 along with the rest of the mobile phone industry, but the company’s growing success is definitely top of mind for key executives in the mobile market. [...]

  100. 100

    Pingback from Google mengt zich in mededingingsrechtelijke procedure tegen Microsoft (Internet Explorer) | ICT-Recht

    [...] zijn Safari browser; Mozilla Firefox komt ook met een nieuwe, nog snellere javascript engine; en Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker laat zich uit over de hierboven beschreven klacht tegen Microsoft. Maar vandaag ook nieuws van Google. Google heeft aangekondigd dat het als derde partij deel zal [...]

  101. 101

    Pingback from » Blog Archive » Google supports EU’s Microsoft case

    [...] “The damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing,” she said. [...]

  102. 102

    Pingback from Google supports EU's Microsoft case - Front Page News - NewsSpotz

    [...] innovation and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing," she said. "There are separate questions of whether there is a good remedy, and what that remedy might [...]

  103. 103

    Pingback from กูเกิลร่วมวง EU กรณีไมโครซอฟท์ผูกขาดเบราว์เซอร์ | Digg Thai | อัพเดททุกเรื่องราว .. สไตล์ไทย ๆ

    [...] Mozilla ก็ได้ออกมาสนับสนุน EU (บล็อก) และประกาศว่า Mozilla [...]

  104. 104

    Pingback from ZUTLE NEWS | Google supports EU’s Microsoft case

    [...] “The damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing,” she said. [...]

  105. 105

    Pingback from Bernhard Deutsch» Blog Archive » Q&A on Mozilla and the European Commission

    [...] The European Commission and Microsoft [...]

  106. 106

    Pingback from One Windows. Multiple Browsers. Bundled. I Like It! | Technologizer

    [...] with a vengeance. Not to mention Microsoft nemeses such as Opera’s Jon Van Tetzchner, Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker, and Google’s Sundar Pichai, all of who have thoughtfully weighed in with advice to the EC on [...]

  107. 107

    Pingback from กูเกิลร่วมวง EU กรณีไมโครซอฟท์ผูกขาดเบราว์เซอร์ | Pantip Guide

    [...] Mozilla ก็ได้ออกมาสนับสนุน EU (บล็อก) และประกาศว่า Mozilla [...]

  108. 108

    Toby said on February 28th, 2009 at 8:14 pm:

    I HATE making IE7 my browser of choice, but Firefox doesn’t
    use a lot of the Javascript I use– Have a look of my site

    Try firefox, then look at it via IE… Oh, IE8 scrambles my
    pages. really BAD!

    I like the scrollbar affect, a lot, but doesn’t work in firefox,
    How about adding it to firefox. The sooner you can add
    more Javascript code, the sooner I’ll DROP IE.

  109. 109

    Pingback from 5 Things: From Mitchell Baker

    [...] Keep learning from Mitchell on her Lizard Wrangler Blog. [...]

  110. 110

    Pingback from What war is this? | The FIT Factor

    [...] vicissitudini tra Microsoft Corp. e Commissione Europea, e Carlo fa riferimento a due articoli di Mitchell Baker e Georg Greve, che vi consiglio caldamente di [...]

  111. 111

    Pingback from Tech Leader » Joseph Misika » Battle of the giants

    [...] her blog, Mitchell Barker of Mozilla says the statement is correct and that she doesn’t have any doubt [...]

  112. 112

    Pingback from Perguntas e respostas sobre a Mozilla e a Comissão Europeia « Planeta Livre

    [...] The European Commission and Microsoft [...]

  113. 113

    Pingback from Unione Europea contro Microsoft: la lite infinita « Confronto tra SW libero e SW proprietario

    [...] si pronunciasse, ma quando è arrivato il momento non l’ha certo mandata a dire. E mentre Baker annunciava la sua intenzione di offrirsi alla UE in qualità di consulente per dirimere la questione, ecco che [...]

  114. 114

    Joe Carmelo said on April 10th, 2009 at 12:59 am:

    Well, I am completely late to this thread by I also think this IS ridiculous and this IS about milking money from Microsoft.

    Yes, people were explaining in details how Microsoft’s case is different from Apple’s since “it has a dominant market position”. Well, then, I guess that’s what you are against now – you just prosecute them since they are dominant.

    However, the rules must be the same, regardless of the market share of the company. The law should not discriminate against success. You say they broke the law while achieving that success? Fine, then prosecute them for that, if you can prove it, but what are you prosecuting them for? For the fact that IE is included with the operating system?

    Now someone above has explained how IE integration with Windows is different (and thus very bad) from, say, Safari in MacOS or Firefox in Linux. But you forget one thing – this is a consumer product. As a consumer, I don’t care about technical details. When I buy a computer, I expect it to be functional and while I agree that a computer does not require a browser to function, there is no way I would buy a computer if no browser is installed. Most people won’t since Internet has become a part of our lives. And nobody is selling computers without a browser. Apple comes with Safari and Linux comes with Firefox.

    So what’s your complaint, really? Why do you want Microsoft to sell a defective product – i.e. an OS without a browser? Or maybe you want them to include their competitors software? Why would they do that? Does anyone else do that? In any other type of business?

    Moreover you don’t seem to understand one thing – however fashionable it is to blame Microsoft for everything, there simply is not that much difference between browsers – they all have the same interface (ok, some buttons have different names, so what), they all have tabs now, and they all have a search built-in. Maybe there are enthusiasts who use a lot of extensions and then Firefox is their only choice, but then these people know how to get what they want without the help of the EC. And I doubt they dominate the market. Myself, I don’t use any extensions and thus for me the only difference between browsers is the stuff I read in magazines regarding security. the actual browsing experience is really the same. Thus I would never pay for another browser – why would I if it does not bring anything better to me?

    OK, Firefox is free (actually paid by Google, who gets money from all that annoying advertising I have to put up with, but ok, the ads won’t go away whatever browser I use). But if I had to buy a computer without a browser in it, how on Earth would I get Firefox? So that means you want to force Microsoft, or rather the OEMs to include the Firefox in their installations. By a EC decree or whatever. You call this competitive?

    So this is the bottom line – you have a product which is not really superior and you want to use the court to push up your market share. The EC is happy to do this since in the process they get a lot of money as fines. I find it ridiculous. And definitely not idealistic or anything. So, while you can do whatever you have to do to survive, just don’t call yourself better or anything. You are not.

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