updated 08:45 am EDT, Fri June 12, 2009
EU Say Win 7 E Not Enough
Microsoft's decision to pull Internet Explorer from Windows 7 in Europe isn't enough to address EU antitrust complaints about the company's abuse of the market, the European Commission said Friday. The continent's officials now say that Microsoft's proposed solution would actually hurt competition as it would leave the five percent of those buying retail copies of Windows each year with few options. Instead of having an immediate choice, buyers would have to resort to obtaining a physical copy of a web browser or else some alternative.
"Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less," the Commission says.
The organization maintains that its already suggested solution of requiring a choice of multiple browsers from within the OS is the best strategy. Such an approach would require that Microsoft either preinstall or else offer simple downloads for both its browser and its major rivals, likely including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.
The Commission executive does say that the market for preloaded PCs will likely benefit as many of these vendors could preload a competing browser if they prefer. However, it's also concerned that removing Internet Explorer could have consequences, intentional or otherwise, that will have "negated" many of the benefits of uncoupling Internet Explorer from Windows.
Microsoft has a history of running afoul of EU regulators, who have long insisted that the American company's dominance of the OS market was enforced by monopolistic behavior ranging from withholding important code from third-party developers to bundling Windows Media Player.