Google seeks to join Internet Explorer antitrust complaint

Google seeks to join Internet Explorer antitrust complaint

Summary: 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 ....

Topics: Google, Browser, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Pathetic

    Although few will shed crocodile tears over beating up on Micorosft, I believe this is yet another indication that Google's image as the freindly, benevolent company out to do good is going to quickly wane. They're not just another big company doing everything they can to compete ruthlessly. That's the way business works but we shouldn't be fooled by their PR.
    • Brilliantly...

      ...said. The kind of bull going around these days is unbelievable.
    • Well said.

      Sleeper Service
    • AMEN...

      Opera is just another Boo-Hoo no one is using my software so I will go to the morons in the EU and let them sell it for me. Firefox is a great example that Opera is all wet, and just being babies. For Google to jump on board proves they are just as bad.
    • Indeed. And Google has negated, in my mind, an ability to be involved....

      Google has made deals to load Googlized versions of IE7 with vendors in the past, which load Google desktop/search etc. <br><br>
      Also, Google has openly assisted users in the downloading of IE7(googlized version) by creating download sites and pages which to download the browser, acting alone to promote it's own products, while promoting IE at the same time. They have absolutely no right whatsoever. The Google IE7 downloads were available in high traffic web areas. <br>
      It would totally insane, and I think show prejudice to allow Google status. <br><br>
      As for the complaint itself, isn't it a bit late to court? In any court, a complaint should be filed in a timely manner else be dismissed. <br><br>
      20 plus years a bit too long to wait to bring this to court, and anyone else requesting to be part of it denied because they have not filed a complaint in a timely manner as well. <br><br>
      If you got kicked in the shin 25 years ago, and decide to bring suit against who did it today, your case will be dismissed w/o question.
      The EU/EC has tended to show some prejudice toward Microsoft over the years, so unfortunately, as has been the case over and over again, those making the complaint will be allowed to act outside of normal limitations.

    • Geez...

      Everyone uses PR as propaganda. How green the oil companies are, "Will you Join Us". No more earmarks. Stockbrokers who are on your side. Air transporters "KNOW WHY WE FLY". A chicken in every pot.
      We suck it up like free coke.
    • Google is doing the right thing for consumers.

      Google may have entirely the wrong reasons for doing it, but so what. Even if Google turns into another unethical monopoly, the EC will be there to whack them down.

      Too bad the US justice system is just a pile of limp, soggy dish rags in comparison to the EC's. Imposing fines on Microsoft would have been a great way for it to reduce taxes and bolster its own economy.
    • Compete Ruthlessly?

      Give me a break: there is no such thing as 'competing ruthlessly'. There is such a thing as rigging the market by making YOUR internet application the ONLY one standard in Windows (ooh.... BITCH SLAP!).

      As a Microsoft fanboy on most things, Microsoft need to REMOVE IE from it's integration with the OS itself.

      Make it STAND-ALONE and able to be installed, uninstalled, totally REMOVABLE!

      I don't need 2 internet applications on my machine, especially when even IE8 is a virus-writers paradise because of it's integration into the system.
  • Pathetic X 2

    I have removed Google as my search engine.
    • Ditto

    • What is a monopoly

      "I have removed Google as my search engine."

      That's your free choice. The problem with IE is that unless to stop using Windows you don't have the same choice. Yes you can add other browsers but you still have to use IE for some things.

      The fact that so many major sites are still not compliant with IE8 standards version should tell you how well MS has also been able to lock in corporates to their product for many years.

      Firefox only got a chance of gaining market share when MS though it had won the browser war and by the time they had noticed and improved IE it was a little too late. Now it would be difficult to kill Firefox legitimately but there are still one or two O/S updates that just happen to give applications problems.

      I suspect Google wants to tell the EU about some of Microsoft's other little tricks in products like .NET.

      • Do you have the slightest idea of what your talking about

        Do you have the slightest idea of what your talking about? What do ?have? to use IE for. If its to view some site that is not compatible with other browsers that?s hardly MS?s responsibility. The only argument to be made in the antitrust case is weather MS is given an unfair advantage by bundling with the OS. Its all just a crock , none of it has anything to do with benefiting Joe Snuff the consumer. Anyone that wants an alternative browser can simply download it. That?s if you can manage to download just the browser. When I tried to download Chrome it dragged in goggle toolbar and search. Hummm maybe the EU should look into that?
        • RE: Do you have the slightest idea ... ?

          <font color=#808080><em>"What do "have" to use IE for."</em></font>

          <strong>Do I have to install Internet Explorer 6? (<a href="" target="_blank">Quicken for Windows</a>)</strong>

          <font color=#808080>"If you already have Internet Explorer 6.x , Quicken detects it during the installation process and does not attempt to install the version included with your new Quicken software. <strong>If you do not have Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.x, Quicken attempts to install it for you automatically</strong>."</font><br>

          • You obviouslly do not,

            so why prenetnd you do?

            How is Quickens installation practices Microsoft's fault?

            Oh, but trolls like you do not deal in logic, instead posting that which your corporate handlers instruct you to.

          • GL, D.I.P (nt)

          • Do you know better

            My my the MS fans are out today. Cry troll to any decanter.

            Intuit using IE is of course not MS fault. They just happen to supply the products ( I think its the .NET stuff in this case) which happen to do things in certain ways and before you know it your application only works with IE. But that's not Microsoft's fault. Its an accident these things just happen.

            Like most antitrust cases though the issue is almost past before it ever gets to court. Now that MS has had to go standards complaint with IE8 many of the arguments disappear.

          • He doesn't have to be an MS fan

            to ask a valid question in refernce to a dyed-in-the-wool ABMer's response that it's MS's fault.

            [b]Alot[/b] of software is installed on Windows everyday without a probelem, the fact that Quicken has issues would point towards it being poor installer code written by Intuit.
            John Zern
          • Well let's put this back into perspective..

            Try visiting the windows update site using any browser other than IE and you get this:

            "Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site.

            To use this site, you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later.

            To upgrade to the latest version of the browser, go to the Internet Explorer Downloads website.

            If you prefer to use a different web browser, you can obtain updates from the Microsoft Download Center or you can stay up to date with the latest critical and security updates by using Automatic Updates. To turn on Automatic Updates:

            1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
            2. Depending on which Control Panel view you use, Classic or Category, do one of the following:
            * Click System, and then click the Automatic Updates tab.
            * Click Performance and Maintenance, click System, and then click the Automatic Updates tab.
            3. Click the option that you want. Make sure Automatic Updates is not turned off."

            OK so they offer alternatives. But I bet your sweet life that 99% of people will just troll back to IE and start over!
          • "Quicken attempts to install it for you automatically..."

            That's Quicken's choice, not Microsoft's command.

            Quicken is a whole owned private company. If they choose to use IE as their browser of choice, and you want to use Quicken software, then you can't blame Microsoft for that.

            Quicken could have chosen any Mozilla based browser, including Firefox at any time. Instead they choose to remain with IE.

            You cannot blame Microsoft for that. And this has nothing to do with being an MS fan or an Apple fan or a Linux fan, it has to do with the realities of third party software vendors making a choice.

            This makes your argument completely invalid.

          • I don't think it is Quickens' choice!

            I'm not trying to make excuses for Quicken, but if for instance you develop something in .NET that relies on a particular version of the IE HTTP engine to work you're stuffed. And if you have no control over that because MS build that dependency into things like .NET, you end up looking bad even when it's not your fault. Although you would have to take the blame for using .NET in the first place!