updated 08:05 am EDT, Thu May 7, 2009
Mozilla Complains on Win 7
Mozilla and Opera on Thursday criticized Microsoft over settings in the Windows 7 release candidate that they claim are designed to be anti-competitive. The two web browser developers point out to FT that users who opt to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista rather than install fresh are given an "express" option that automatically reverts the default browser to Internet Explorer even if Firefox, Opera or another browser was set as the default before. Although the "custom" choice lets users maintain this setting, Mozilla and Opera argue that Microsoft is hoping most users won't be aware of this or that it will be considered too much extra work.
"Our initial review suggests this is a blatant use of the Windows operating system to change the market dynamics of browser usage," Mozilla chairman Mitchell Baker said, further contending that Microsoft's attempt to revert settings is a "clear example" of why the Windows monopoly is flawed.
Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie echoed the statements and said the express option was an example of a "problem" with the current browser environment.
The complaints are ill-timed for Microsoft, as it faces a June antitrust hearing where it will defend itself against European Commission accusations that it violates antitrust laws through its bundling of Internet Explorer. Officials have said Microsoft's requirement that Internet Explorer be present in every copy of Windows, even if not the default, give it an unfair advantage over browsers that are usually just optional.