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Mozilla To Join EU Suit Against Microsoft 422

Posted by timothy
from the judges-make-the-best-software-decisions-of-all dept.
CWmike writes "The European Commission (EC) has granted Mozilla the right to join its antitrust case against Microsoft, a spokesman said Monday. If the charges stick, Microsoft could be forced to change the way it distributes IE, as well as pay a fine for monopoly abuse. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's chairperson, said in a blog over the weekend that there isn't 'the single smallest iota of doubt' that Microsoft's tying of IE to Windows 'harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.'"
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Mozilla To Join EU Suit Against Microsoft

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  • Re:How, exactly?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:00PM (#26802479)

    Well, last I'd heard, Opera was asking for their product to be bundled with Windows, in addition to IE.

    Really? Where did you hear that? Last I heard Opera complained about the abuse and asked the EU to specifically address broken standards. As far as I know they have asked for no specific remedy. A lot of pundits and MS themselves have made comments about forcing MS to bundle Opera as well, but as far as I've heard neither Opera nor the EU have proposed any such thing. Do you have a source?

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:09PM (#26802621)

    just the other day they (Mozilla) said that bundling does not boost adoption.... now this. was that a decoy or the man was indeed a bozo?

    Yesterday the personal comments of one Firefox developer/architect were made into a Slashdot story. The comments of one of the actual executives, which said basically the opposite, were ignored. I can see why one might get the wrong idea, but you have to pay attention to the context. Sure, the guy was a bozo, but most of us knew that yesterday.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:10PM (#26802639)

    If it is entirely possible to remove IE from your computer without borking the OS, then yes, it will be something to bring up to the OEMs. If IE MUST be on the computer regardless of the user's or OEM's wishes, then we should continue hitting up Microsoft until they untie the browser from the OS.

    I have IE on my computer. I don't want it there. I can't remove it. Various Microsoft programs insist on launching that damned thing despite OS set preferences for Firefox. Something it would not be able to do if I truly had the freedom of CHOICE rather than the freedom of adding extras. If IE wasn't such a big security risk I wouldn't be nearly as concerned, but microsoft has proven itself to me that it is unable to make a secure application.

  • Re:Who is John Galt? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Snowblindeye (1085701) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:26PM (#26802911)

    Obligatory car analogy: It's like getting angry at BMW for using BMW driveshafts in their vehicles instead of offering vehicles with all 3rd party driveshafts.

    Except BMW doesn't have a monopoly on cars. If they did, maybe we would actually tell them to open up certain things to 3rd party products.

    It's the monopoly that makes it the governments business.

  • by rts008 (812749) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:30PM (#26802975) Journal

    No, you for sure don't get it.

    Mozilla is not suing MS. Opera is the one. Mozilla was just added as an 'interested third party', not as a litigant.

    FTFA:

    Mozilla has been granted what's called "interested third party" status in the case, which allows it to submit arguments to the European regulator, to see the confidential statement of objections the EC sent Microsoft last month, and to participate in a face-to-face hearing if Microsoft requests one.

    However, it isn't a complainant in the case. That role goes to Norwegian Web browser Opera, which complained to the EC just over a year ago about Microsoft's practices in the browser market.

    Your whole post makes no sense, has nothing to do with reality, and is nothing but FUD.

  • Re:Who is John Galt? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:37PM (#26803131)

    I'm sorry, mod me as a troll if you like, but this whole thing reeks of Government putting its nose where it doesn't belong.

    Yeah, that crazy EU government and their enforcing the laws... the same laws we enforced against MS for the same crime which they still haven't stopped committing. Seriously, I hope you're an astroturfer, instead of just an honest someone they've managed to completely mislead.

    The EU tried them a while ago for anti-competitive practices, fined them, and forced them to release a bunch of code.

    Wrong. It forced them to document APIs for communication between two of their products so people making the one that was not Windows on the desktop could compete. They even let them charge for said documentation.

    Microsoft complied. The EU came back again and said it wasn't enough, fined them again, and forced them to release more.

    Actually, MS refused to comply, which is why the EU continued to fine them until they did comply, that is fully document the APIs so others could compete. MS just tried to pull a fast one by releasing incomplete and incorrect APIs and hoping the EU would not call them on it.

    Then you've got the entire EU saying "We recommend you don't use Windows. Our government isn't going to use Windows, either." which is all well and good, they certainly have that liberty.

    Yeah, governments often recommend against doing business with repeat offender criminals, but the EU never said they would not use MS, they are just not a preferred vendor.

    Now you've got them suing based on the fact that MS packages a damn browser with their operating system (the one thing 99.99% of people buy computers for) and its anti-trust, too.

    Wow, you never get tired of being wrong do you? There is no lawsuit. Opera reported a crime. They did not file a lawsuit. The crime they reported was antitrust abuse. The fact that the antitrust abuse happens by way of bundling does not imply bundling is illegal in the general case. Your argument is like claiming someone being charged with murder for shooting someone should be let go, because lots of hunters and target shooters fire guns as well and are not arrested. You're fundamentally failing to comprehend either the crime or the reason for the law and basically being an embarrassment to people who bother to learn about something before spouting off about it.

    Geez, can you leave them alone already?

    Geez, can't they stop committing crimes already? They only have a million lawyers.

    If people want firefox, they can download firefox or opera or anything.

    Irrelevant. It does not mitigate the antitrust abuse.

    If they don't want Windows, there's plenty of free alternatives.

    Irrelevant, MS is not charged with having a monopoly. Having a monopoly is legal.

    Fine, you think their products suck. Don't use them.

    For OEMs the option of not buying Windows to pre-install on computers they sell is not an option. It sucks, but it isn't illegal. Making them take IE too is illegal. Even if I never use Windows or IE, they're still costing me money when I do Web development. They're costing Opera and Mozilla money every day as well, and they're doing so by breaking the law. If I were breaking the law and costing you money would your ignoring that law (the one everyone else has to obey) seem like a reasonable option to you, just because other people have choices? How does that help you?

    But don't hold a gun to their heads and tell them they can't sell a certain product.

    But here's the thing. They can make and sell IE all they want. They can fricking bundle it with MS brand mice. They just can't legally bundle it with Windows and they've been breaking that law and counting on it to make them more money than it c

  • by EvolutionsPeak (913411) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:52PM (#26803403)

    What nagging? The first time Internet Explorer starts up and is not the default browser it asks if you want to make it the default browser. Uncheck the "always ask" box and click "no" and it never asks again. I have been doing this for years and never been "nagged". The worst thing that happens is that some programs (non-MS programs even) open sites in IE even when it is not the default browser. If you or anyone can give an example that will cause incessant nagging then please state it, and it should probably be reported as a bug.

    As far as sites not being compatible with non-IE browsers or requiring ActiveX or whatever, that is not a reason to say they are acting unfairly by bundling their browser. They offer an extra feature unique to their browser which comes with their operating system, what is unfair about that? People are perfectly free to not use their OS or their browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:53PM (#26803429)
    Stop posting it. Why do >%25 percent of the posts in these articles have to be asking this question? It's already been asked a million times. There are threads dedicated to it if you scroll up. Read the fucking comments.
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:58PM (#26803519)

    Your point? If it does what they need it to do, why _should_ they look for a replacement? If it doesn't, there are plenty of alternative browsers available.

    In the end, this just comes down to a bunch of whiners who can't understand that most people don't _care_ about which web browser they use and that the idea of a browserless OS is a ridiculous anachronism.

    OEMs are free to put other browsers on the machines, Opera and Firefox can most certainly work with the OEMs to become that browser.

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:38PM (#26804205)

    Did you mean to purposely contradict yourself?

    That wasn't a contradiction. Yes, many widely-used programs that have browser functionality use IE framework... and if you don't like that, then don't run those programs. But if IE were to suddenly disappear from Windows, those programs would be broken, and that would be no good.

  • by compusci (1058692) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:46PM (#26804333)
    I cannot believe that this case is not already closed. Internet Explorer is one of many monopolistic paths Microsoft has pursued. For those that seem to think that other OS's are the same, such as OS X, Debian and Red Hat, think again. IE is integrated into the Windows Kernel (foolishly I might add). This means that displaying web content anywhere in Windows means that IE components will be always be used by default. Even when changing the default browser, many Windows functions will only work in IE, such as Active X, Windows Updates, etc... Also, Windows Explorer and IE are very closely linked and you can see this if you type a URL into the address bar of Windows Explorer - surprise, page loaded in IE, even if Firefox is your default browser... Other OS's do not do this and will obey the default browser you specify, even if they only provide 1 browser out-of the box.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:51PM (#26804427)

    No, you for sure don't get it. Mozilla is not suing MS. Opera is the one. Mozilla was just added as an 'interested third party', not as a litigant.

    Actually, you're a little off too. No one is suing anyone. Opera filed a criminal complaint, not a lawsuit. Mozilla is an interested third party in the prosecution. There is no litigant, just prosecutors, the defendant, and victims.

  • Just the facts. (Score:3, Informative)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:05PM (#26804671)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Microsoft_competition_case [wikipedia.org]

    Microsoft has a compliant version of its flagship operating system without Windows Media Player available under the negotiated name "Windows XP N."[9] In response to the server information requirement, Microsoft released the source code, but not the specifications, to Windows Server 2003 service pack 1 to members of its Work Group Server Protocol Program (WSPP) on the day of the original deadline.[10] Microsoft also appealed the case, and the EU had a week-long hearing over the appeal which ended in April 2006.[11]

    In December 2005 the EU announced that it believed Microsoft did not comply fully with the ruling, stating that the company did not disclose appropriate information about its server programs. The EU said that it would begin to fine Microsoft â2 million (US$3.20 million or £1.53 million) a day until it did so.[12] Microsoft stated in June 2006 that it had begun to provide the EU with the requested information, but according to the BBC the EU stated that it was too late.[13]

    On 12 July 2006, the EU fined Microsoft for an additional â280.5 million (US$448.58 million), â1.5 million (US$2.39 million) per day from 16 December 2005 to 20 June 2006. The EU threatened to increase the fine to â3 million ($4.80 million) per day on 31 July 2006 if Microsoft did not comply by then.[14]

    On 17 September 2007, Microsoft lost their appeal against the European Commission's case. The â497 million fine was upheld, as were the requirements regarding server interoperability information and bundling of Media Player. In addition, Microsoft has to pay 80 percent of the legal costs of the Commission, while the Commission has to pay 20 percent of the legal costs by Microsoft. However, the appeal court rejected the Commission ruling that an independent monitoring trustee should have unlimited access to internal company organization in the future.[15][16] On 22 October 2007, Microsoft announced that it would comply and not appeal the decision any more,[17] and Microsoft did not appeal within the required two months as of 17 November 2007.[18]

    Microsoft announced that it will demand 0.4 percent of the revenue (rather than 5.95 percent) in patent-licensing royalties, only from commercial vendors of interoperable software and promised not to seek patent royalties from individual open source developers. The interoperability information alone is available for a one-time fee of â10,000 (US$15,992).[19]

    On 27 February 2008, the EU fined Microsoft an additional â899 million (US$1.44 billion) for failure to comply with the March 2004 antitrust decision. This represents the largest penalty ever imposed in 50 years of EU competition policy. This latest decision follows a prior â280.5 million fine for non-compliance, covering the period from June 21, 2006 until October 21, 2007.[20] On 9 May 2008 Microsoft lodged an appeal in the European Court of First Instance seeking to overturn the â899 million fine, officially stating that it intended to use the action as a "constructive effort to seek clarity from the court".[21]

    Decide for yourself if you think what they were doing was justified or just a rampage of misplaced power.

  • Re:Without IE (Score:3, Informative)

    by theurge14 (820596) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @07:32PM (#26805927)

    Open a command prompt, type 'ftp releases.mozilla.org', log in as anonymous, then type 'get /mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0.6/win32/en-US/Firefox Setup 3.0.6.exe'

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @09:21PM (#26807241)

    Umm, it's the EU "doing" the antitrust case. Opera reported the crime and Mozilla asked to have input as experts in the field.

  • Re:Who is John Galt? (Score:2, Informative)

    by magus_melchior (262681) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @04:09AM (#26809479) Journal

    Irrelevant, MS is not charged with having a monopoly. Having a monopoly is legal.

    Precisely, and this is where so many people miss the point. Microsoft was never convicted of having a monopoly-- they were convicted of using their highly advantageous position in the operating systems market to prevent competitors (Netscape, Novell, IBM, WordPerfect, etc.) from entering the market and having a reasonable chance at survival, let alone success.

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