Web too important to let one company dominate browser market, says Opera CEO
The European Union's antitrust agency on Saturday confirmed that it has charged Microsoft with breaking the law, saying that the company "shields" Internet Explorer (IE) from "head-to-head competition" by bundling its browser with Windows.
The CEO of Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker whose December 2007 complaint sparked the EU's investigation, welcomed the move. "This is extremely important," Jon von Tetzchner said in an interview late Friday. "It's important that people have a choice of browsers. It's important that we don't have one company dominating the browser market."
In a statement issued Saturday by EU spokesman Jonathan Todd, the Competition Commission acknowledged that it delivered a Statement of Objections to Microsoft last Thursday, a day before Microsoft announced that it faced new antitrust charges.
Although the EU has not released the text of those charges, it provided some clues as to their direction. "The evidence gathered during the investigation leads the Commission to believe that the tying of Internet Explorer with Windows, which makes Internet Explorer available on 90% of the world's PCs, distorts competition on the merits between competing Web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other Web browsers are unable to match," the EU said.
The Commission also claimed that Microsoft's practice of bundling IE, something it's done since 1995, "shields" the browser from "head-to-head competition with other browsers," adding that it believes the lack of competition was "detrimental to the pace of product innovation."