updated 03:40 pm EDT, Wed April 15, 2009
Microsoft 2nd EU Delay
Microsoft today said it had been given a second extension by the European Commission to prepare a response against antitrust charges that it has unfairly controlled web browsers. Having already been given a first extension that gave it until April 21st, the American firm has until April 28th to provide its own stance and early defense against the claims. Why the added time is required hasn't been formally explained.
The company was accused in January of exploiting its dominance in operating systems by including Internet Explorer and requiring that it be included with Windows, making it the de facto first choice for a web browser and giving rivals little chance to compete. European Commission officials have suggested that a ruling against Microsoft may lead to requiring a choice of multiple browsers that lets users pick Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari or another client and use it as their sole browser unless they decide otherwise.
Compounding Microsoft's difficulties, the extension arrives just as business alliance ECIS has joined the case against Microsoft following similar moves by Google and Firefox creator Mozilla. ECIS includes a number of companies that have typically endorsed open-source projects and alternative web browsers, including IBM, Nokia, Oracle and Sun. It argues that Microsoft's control has prevented newcomers from getting significant traction.
"Smaller, more innovative, browser developers need a level playing field," the group's spokesman Thomas Vinje says.