As the EU pursues its ridiculous antitrust action against Microsoft (MSFT) to force the company to divorce the IE web browser from Windows, we’ve wondered: Just what does Europe want from Microsoft? If a browser-less version of Windows was offered, how would anyone be able to choose an alternate method of surfing the Internet?
The Euro idea is pre-installs of other browsers or forcing Microsoft to offer them via Windows Update. Norway-based Opera (0.71% market share, below Google (GOOG) Chrome) got the EU on the IE/Windows issue with a 2007 antitrust complaint to European authorities. In an interview with ZDnet, Opera reps explain new rules they hope Brussels will impose on Windows:
It would be easy to add browsers to the Windows distribution and let the user make the choice. It should also be possible to configure Windows Update so that subscribers are asked which browser they prefer to install — IE8, Opera, or Firefox, perhaps? It would be handy for the user to know the size of the download, and the number of reboots necessary. Compliance with web standards could be a requirement for getting onto that list.
Opera has no claim to the moral high ground here: The browser’s selling points are it conforms to web standards (as the company defines them itself) and it’s a small download (which is important because… well we don’t know either).
We hope the EU will come to its senses and throw out the antitrust complaint. Safari has grown along with Macs, Firefox tops 20% share, and even Google Chrome has come out of nowhere to snag more market share than Opera’s browser. The browser market is already competitive and getting ever more so; Opera’s failures are its own.