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Opera Software ASA, the company behind what used to be the alternative web browser of choice until Firefox came along and changed all that, has urged Microsoft to give consumers a genuine choice of standards-compliant browser clients. It has filed an official complaint with the European Commission which describes at some length how, Opera claims, Microsoft is "abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards."

Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer. Specifically, it has asked the Commission to implement two remedies:

  1. To obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers preinstalled on the desktop.
  2. To require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities.

The complaint goes on to insist that Microsoft adheres to its own public promises to support such standards rather than "stifling them with its notorious Embrace, Extend and Extinguish strategy." Opera says that Microsoft's unilateral control over standards in some markets creates a de facto standard that is more costly to support, harder to maintain, and technologically inferior and that can even expose users to security risks.

According to Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner "we are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them. In addition to promoting the free choice of individual consumers, we are a champion of open Web standards and cross-platform innovation. We cannot rest until we've brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide."

"Our complaint is necessary to get Microsoft to amend its practices," said Jason Hoida, Deputy General Counsel, Opera." The European Court of First Instance confirmed in September that Microsoft has illegally tied Windows Media Player to Windows. We are simply asking the Commission to apply these same, clear principles to the Internet Explorer tie, a tie that has even more profound effects on consumers and innovation. We are confident that the Commission understands the significance of the Internet Explorer tie and will take the necessary actions to restore competition and consumer choice in the browser market."

To be honest it all sounds more than a little desperate to me. Some might point out that Firefox has managed to compete rather well with Microsoft, with market share of around 40% in some regions, something Opera has never got close to. And Firefox does take the standards compliant route. So what is Opera doing wrong that prevents it from being a power player in the web browser world and forces it to adopt a position of throwing rocks instead? Could it be, quite simply, that it just isn't as good a browser as either Firefox or Internet Explorer? Much of its early innovation has found its way into both the big browser clients, and there is little in the way of unique features to give it any leverage.

If I were running Opera, I would probably be looking to concentrate on those markets where the software does have leverage, namely mobile devices, rather than crying that its not just fair that the desktop market has eluded them.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by Sallygmlvl
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idiots.
Can't stand to loose so they start another smearcampaign.

Sounds like Al Gore after the 2000 US presidential elections, or Kerry after the 2004 elections.

Customers have all the choice they need. As a service they get IE preinstalled (which is anyway an integral part of the operating system as it's also the help engine and file browser) and they can install whichever other browsers they like.

Of course the EU, being anti-American to the core, is likely to cave in to this, the latest idea to hurt Microsoft...

Maybe we should launch a complaint against Symbian for bundling Opera with their operating system...

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I don't understand what's so wrong about bundling WMP11 and IE with Windows. Maybe I'm missing something here. Are they by doing this, blocking other software of the same type from being able to run on Windows?

If a user needs to run those other software, won't he just download it and install it? It's not that hard. Like Firefox, most people just have to have Firefox on their systems and do so in less than five minutes.

Like the writer implied I think it has more to do with bitterness than anything being unfair here. Firefox gets bundled on most Linux distros, nobody cries, and Opera does indeed get bundled on some mobile platforms.

Perhaps it's the fact that WMP and IE are a lot more deeply integrated into the Windows OS than their front-ends would suggest, that really gets under these people's skins. But honestly, if you produce superior software people will likely make the switch.

And that part about bundling other browsers into Windows is really funny. What does Opera expect Microsoft to do their marketing for them? My God.

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Opera is loosing money scru, and they know full well that the EU is out to get Microsoft (and indeed any American company that competes with a French or German one) whereever they can.
They saw an opening to make money by forcing EU computer makers to ship Opera with computers instead of IE (because that's what'll end up being decided by her Majesty of "anti-competitive regulation" Madam Kroes) and jumped in.
The EU, being what they are, are almost certain to go ahead and launch another war against the Evil Microsoft.

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