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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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  • So, which is it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:39PM (#26801999) Homepage
    Didn't some Firefox exec just say bundling doesn't lead to market share if a competitor is good enough [slashdot.org]?
  • Mike and Mitchell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:40PM (#26802031) Homepage Journal

    I think Mitchell Baker, Mozilla CEO, and Mike Conner, Firefox architect, need to talk about yesterday's Slashdot article, Firefox Exec Says Windows Bundling Is a Bad Idea [slashdot.org] and figure out exactly what Mozilla wants.

  • Bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:45PM (#26802123)
    I use Firefox exclusively, and including IE by default not only didn't stop me from downloading and using Firefox, it actually helped. How else was I supposed to access Mozilla's website on my new PC?
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:45PM (#26802135) Homepage Journal
    Are they talking about getting rid of the blue E and bundling other browsers or are they actually talking about stripping IE out of the OS completely?

    I ask because, while I never use IE now that all the sites I frequent work in good alternative browsers, I do use HTML Applications based on IE regularly. Many of the software installation CDs I have use a simple HTA as the frontend for when the disc is dropped in and I frequently build simple HTAs to "streamline" windows for family and friends.

    I don't care if "Internet Explorer" as the window that opens when you click a URL is replaced with something else and while I think bundling an arbitrary group of 3rd party browsers is bizarre, I don't really care if they do that. But, if they actually strip IE from the whole system and remove the HTML Application functionality, it would cut out a portion of the OS that's (at least somewhat) useful that isn't really connected to the issue at hand.

    Is that what they are going for?
  • hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eleuthero (812560) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:48PM (#26802211)
    It strikes me as somewhat hypocritical for Mozilla to join the suit against MS while at the same time saying they don't want any of the viable fixes to be applied. This is basically asking for a handout that is only going to see the lawyers win in the end. MS makes money because they make a product that for all its problems is easily usable (apparently) by 90% of the world. For all that we complain here, telling a software company what they need to include in their program in order to sell it does not sound too good to me--I can see telling a company, "don't include viruses" but telling a company it can't include something that is foundational to the system's operation (for most people) is not just 'antitrust' enforcement, it's crippling a legitimate (however much disliked) business.
  • Who is John Galt? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @03:53PM (#26802337)
    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.

    The EU tried them a while ago for anti-competitive practices, fined them, and forced them to release a bunch of code. Microsoft complied. The EU came back again and said it wasn't enough, fined them again, and forced them to release more. Yet again, Microsoft complied. Finally, the EU fined them a THIRD time and forced them to release even more code. Microsoft, again, complied.

    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.

    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.

    Geez, can you leave them alone already? If people want firefox, they can download firefox or opera or anything. If they don't want Windows, there's plenty of free alternatives.

    Fine, you think their products suck. Don't use them. Tell other people not to use them. But don't hold a gun to their heads and tell them they can't sell a certain product.

    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.
  • by Capt.Slant.Eye (1473931) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @04:33PM (#26803035) Homepage
    I hear that... I have no clue how many times i find myself turning to IE when a program won't use Mozilla Firefox... I have no problem with it being on my computer...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:50PM (#26804403)

    This is kind of silly. What about Windows calculator utility? "No one downloads competing calculator applications because Microsoft comes with one built-in!" Give me a break.

    Really, all Microsoft needs to do is open their update platform. Look at Ubuntu (or any Debian flavor)... in Ubuntu, if I want Firefox, I just open a console and type apt-get install firefox. Or I can use synaptic. Or aptitude. Or adept.

    Windows Update only allows updating of existing Microsoft software on the machine. If this were opened up to support updating AND INSTALLING of Microsoft AND 3RD PARTY applications, then they could give users a choice of what they want to install without hunting it down on the internet and it would all be over. IE could be removed from the base platform entirely, and can be retrieved through Windows Update at any time... just like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, whatever.

    But I digress.

  • by Requiem18th (742389) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:39PM (#26805201)

    Honestly I can't agree with this. Microsoft has the right to ship whatever browser they want in their OS, if the EU or the UN or whatever told Canonical to ship IE with Ubuntu I'll be really pissed off.

      Yes the IE monoculture is harmful (surprisingly, due more to it being IE than being a monoculture) but the real problem is the Windows monoculture, instead of fighting to install firefox in Windows the goal should be to force OEMs to offer more OS choices.

      Of course we can't blame OEMs for not offering Linux because desktop Linux is a very young platform (the first Ubuntu LTS is not even 3 years old).

      If anything we should sue MS for the OOXML fiasco.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @09:31PM (#26807339)

    Explain how Microsoft is a monopoly now. In the OS market, you have Linux, OSX, etc.

    Legally monopoly influence is usually considered around 70%. Windows has a much larger share of installs than that on the desktop, but you also have to take into account the market share instead of install base. Since OEMs can't buy OS X, it is not considered part of the market. Apple bypasses the market and instead competes against OEMs in the computer system market. It makes it pretty obvious. Also both the US and EU courts have already ruled they do have monopoly influence, so it is no longer a question.

    Bundling an essential application with an operating system is not an unfair practice.

    In this case it is.

    Should they get sued for including notepad too?

    They aren't being sued, they're being prosecuted for breaking the law. And, yes, MS should stop bundling notepad and let OEMs pick what text editor to include on computers they ship. Then MS might be motivated to make notepad decent and properly handle unicode and line endings so OEMs would pick it.

    If an OS can't include an internet browser, then what can it include?

    Any software that did not have a pre-existing market before they had a monopoly and started bundling a competitor. Is it so terrible to expect MS to compete on even ground with other software makers for products other than their OS? Why do you hate free market competition? What are you, a commie :)

  • Re:Who is John Galt? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:14PM (#26820621)

    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.

    Laws which are only enforced against Microsoft (not EU companies).

    Ever bother to actually look for facts [europa.eu] instead of making idiotic assumptions? The EU has repeatedly enforced antitrust law against European companies, including cases for bundling like the high profile Telfonica case last year.

    And you can't create laws which violate your treaty obligations.

    Sure you can, countries do it all the time; not that it matters in this case.

    The conditions imposed on MS fairly obviously violate the Berne Convention. If I was MS I would take this to the WTO.

    Yeah right. It's not even close to violating the Berne Convention and the US and EU have both already convicted them of very similar antitrust abuse in the past. The EU laws being enforced are almost identical to the US ones.

    If they don't think the law is just, the right way to solve it is to change public opinion and get the law changed by the democratic process.

    How is lobbying "changing the law by democratic process"?

    Do you see "lobbying" in my post? You quoted it, and did not notice I said they should change public opinion and never mentioned lobbying? This is a terrible strawman.

    These "crimes" are the results of complaints by European and other companies that they're were losing money to MS.

    Reporting a crime that is illegally costing you money now makes it your fault? Blame the victim much?

    It's those companies (which I'm sure do their own lobbying), that are the problem here.

    Oh yeah, breaking the law isn't a problem, reporting it is. Are you an astroturfer or just an idiot?

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