Google seeks to join Internet Explorer antitrust complaint

Microsoft's competitors are continuing to pile onto the Opera antitrust complaint against Microsoft over Internet Explorer (IE). The latest to seek the right to join is Google.

Microsoft's competitors are continuing to pile onto the Opera antitrust complaint against Microsoft over Internet Explorer (IE).

The latest to seek the right to join is Google. Google announced its intentions via a February 24 posting to the Google Public Policy Blog. From the post:

"(W)e believe that we can contribute to this debate. We learned a lot from launching our own Google Chrome browser last year and are hoping that Google's perspective will be useful as the European Commission evaluates remedies to improve the user experience and offer consumers real choices. Of course creating a remedy that helps solve one problem without creating other unintended consequences isn't easy - but the more voices there are in the conversation the greater the chances of success."

(Why Google, which introduced its browser just last year would be allowed to weigh in as "experts" on Microsoft's long-standing policy of bundling IE with Windows seems odd to me. But given the EC's track record on Microsoft antitrust issues, anything is possible....)

Microsoft isn't commenting on Google's move to become a third party in the case. Mozilla requested and was granted the same status last month.

Microsoft has until mid-March to respond to the European Commission (EC), which issued in January a "Statement of Objections" regarding Microsoft's policy of bundling IE with Windows. The Statement of Objectings is similar to a finding and is the result of an antitrust complaint Opera Software launched against Microsoft in late 2007.

The timing of this case is interesting for several reasons. Microsoft is expected to release IE 8, the latest version of its browser, to the Web possibly as soon as March. IE 8 also is integrated into Windows 7, which Microsoft is widely believed to be attempting to release to manufacturing in the third quarter of this year. If the EC rules that Microsoft needs to make other browsers available as part of Windows, could that possibly delay Windows 7's launch, at least in Europe? Should be an interesting few months ahead ....

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