The European Union’s ridiculous antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft (MSFT) for bundling IE together with Windows is gathering more momentum.
Earlier this month, Mozilla announced its intention to participate in the EU antitrust proceedings, and today Google (GOOG) says it wants to follow suit. (Google, of course, recently entered the browser arena with Chrome, which so far commands negligible market share.)
Google believes that the browser market is still largely uncompetitive, which holds back innovation for users. This is because Internet Explorer is tied to Microsoft’s dominant computer operating system, giving it an unfair advantage over other browsers. Compare this to the mobile market, where Microsoft cannot tie Internet Explorer to a dominant operating system, and its browser therefore has a much lower usage. The value of competition for users (even in the limited form we see today) is clear: tabbed browsing, faster downloads, private browsing features, and more.
We can’t fault Google for exploiting an opening — an EU decision to force Microsoft to offer alternative browsers, among them possibly Chrome, would be a huge win for Google.
But we’re holding out hope that the EU will come to its senses and drop this investigation. As Steve Ballmer noted earlier this morning, IE’s market share is actually falling