Google has thrown in its two cents worth in the European Commission's case against Microsoft, saying that the browser market is highly uncompetitive thamks to Internet Explorer.
Let's be honest: companies such as Google, Opera, Apple and so forth have good reason to complain about Microsoft's dominance in the browser market. After all, the Windows operating system occupies most of the world, bringing along its built-in flashy sidekick, Internet Explorer. How can third-party companies have any kind of footing in a Microsoft-dominated world without forcing the IT giant to back down and open the front door? Thankfully, top dogs such as the U.S. government and the European Commission are taking note of Microsoft's antitrust behavior, cracking the whip on behalf of the smaller, third-parties.
Today Google wanted in on the Microsoft bashing, saying the company believes that the browser market is still largely uncompetitive (despite Firefox's huge adoption rate), thus making it hard for other companies to be innovative. Sundar Pichai, Google's Vice President of Product Management, defined the company's take on Internet Explorer this morning in the latest Google Public Policy Blog. He points the finger right at Internet Explorer's integration into the dominant computer operating system, saying it's unfair to other browser developers.
"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,' he said. "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. Even greater competition will drive more innovation within browsers themselves - as well as in web design, enabling sites to load faster and offer new kinds of interactive tools and applications." He also stated that browsers are critical to the Internet, and because they are the central point of every user's experience, browsers are thus crucial to innovation online.
Naturally, Google has an interest in the proceedings between Microsoft and the European Commission, as its Chrome browser has only taken in a mere 1.12 percent of the browser market as of January 2008, a grain of salt compared to Microsoft's 67.55 percent dominance. But as of this morning, the European Union gave the green light to Google, allowing the company to intervene as an "interested third party" by attending an oral hearing if requested by Microsoft.
"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," Pichai added.
Last month, the European Union formally ridiculed Microsoft in its Statement of Objections, claiming that the company is taking advantage of its dominant market stature by including Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system. If Microsoft is found to be in violation of antitrust laws, it could face serious fines and be forced to offer Windows without the built-in browser. Surprisingly, Microsoft already faced over $2 billion in fines stemming from the inclusion of Media Player in Windows as well as "illegal tactics" performed against RealNetworks back in 2007. Microsoft also failed to carry out remedies imposed by the Commission.
Earlier this month, Mozilla also received permission from the commission, and is now an active part of the case against Microsoft. According to the commission, both companies can now submit arguments to be used in the antitrust case.
Would you feel happier with a browser included in an operating system? If Microsoft is forced to remove a web browser from it's operating system, how would one go to firefox.com to grab a browser? We suppose you'll have to have another computer near by. If Microsoft is found guilty, would you feel that an OS like Ubuntu Desktop should remove Firefox as well?