FSFE supports new antitrust investigation against Microsoft

"Microsoft should be required openly, fully and faithfully to implement free and open industry standards," is the message of a letter by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. To help achieve this goal, FSFE offered its support for a possible antitrust investigation based on the complaint of Opera Software against Microsoft. The complaint was based on anti-competitive behaviour in the web browser market.

"Although Opera Software does not produce Free Software, we largely share their assessment and concerns regarding the present situation in the Internet browser market", FSFE president Georg Greve writes in the letter and continues: "Some of the most successful browsers in the concerned market are Free Software or contain large portions of Free Software. This includes, Mozilla Firefox and Konqueror, a browser made by KDE. Those products are highly innovative and widely recognized as more secure than the dominant application. They faithfully implement major international Open Standards relevant to browser technology."

So what is the problem in the browser market? FSFE explains: "Precisely because they abide by industry recognized Open Standards and cannot implement the undisclosed and non-compliant 'Microsoft dialects' of these standards, they often appear limited when compared with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which establishes itself as the closed, de facto standard due to Internet Explorer’s dominant position. Moreover, these web browsers cannot be hardwired into the dominant Windows Operating System as is the case with Internet Explorer."

"For these reasons," Georg Greve concludes "we strongly support enforcement actions that counter Microsoft’s strategy of 'embracing, extending and extinguishing' multilateral Open Standards - a strategy Microsoft already employed successfully in the Work Group Server market addressed in the 2004 Decision. Default standards compliance by Microsoft is of great importance to FSFE, as we are witnessing many similar attempts by Microsoft in other markets to undermine public and international standards that enable interoperability".

You can read the entire letter at

http://fsfeurope.org/documents/20071219-opera-antitrust.pdf

About the Free Software Foundation Europe:

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and involved in many global activities. Access to software determines participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study, modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.

http://fsfeurope.org

Contact:

You can reach the FSFE switchboard from:
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Germany: +49 700 373 38 76 73
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UK: +44 29 200 08 17 7