Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Google Chimes in to EU vs. Microsoft Fight

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 64 comments

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?

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    hellscook , February 25, 2009 10:38 PM
    This is getting ludicrous. Of course Google is complaining, chrome sucks and they're mortal enemies of MS. Why is a free component such a huge deal? Last time I checked, I don't have to buy a free browser, I use it based on it's merit. MS being a monopoly is a cop-out to sue MS for more money. If some other OS vendor would step up to the damn plate with a worthwhile easy to use OS, this wouldn't be a problem. The fact is that the only other OS that fits into this category is OS X and that isn't going to be unbundled anytime soon. Why aren't manufacturers being held accountable? Every new computer I've seen comes bundled with a hundred useless, redundant apps, but no alternative browsers. Don't tell me HP, Dell, Gateway, etc can't include a 20 meg browser in their image. This is abuse of power, plain and simple on the EU's part.
  • 10 Hide
    fwaits , February 25, 2009 11:42 PM
    You would have to use FTP within a command prompt probably which is doable, but most people don't know how to do it so they would have to be shown how, and obtain the proper FTP addresses of said browsers.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , February 25, 2009 11:19 PM
    Without IE preinstalled, how would I download Firefox?
Other Comments
    Display all 64 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    hellscook , February 25, 2009 10:38 PM
    This is getting ludicrous. Of course Google is complaining, chrome sucks and they're mortal enemies of MS. Why is a free component such a huge deal? Last time I checked, I don't have to buy a free browser, I use it based on it's merit. MS being a monopoly is a cop-out to sue MS for more money. If some other OS vendor would step up to the damn plate with a worthwhile easy to use OS, this wouldn't be a problem. The fact is that the only other OS that fits into this category is OS X and that isn't going to be unbundled anytime soon. Why aren't manufacturers being held accountable? Every new computer I've seen comes bundled with a hundred useless, redundant apps, but no alternative browsers. Don't tell me HP, Dell, Gateway, etc can't include a 20 meg browser in their image. This is abuse of power, plain and simple on the EU's part.
  • 4 Hide
    jarnail24 , February 25, 2009 10:49 PM
    hellscookThis is getting ludicrous. Of course Google is complaining, chrome sucks and they're mortal enemies of MS. Why is a free component such a huge deal? Last time I checked, I don't have to buy a free browser, I use it based on it's merit. MS being a monopoly is a cop-out to sue MS for more money. If some other OS vendor would step up to the damn plate with a worthwhile easy to use OS, this wouldn't be a problem. The fact is that the only other OS that fits into this category is OS X and that isn't going to be unbundled anytime soon. Why aren't manufacturers being held accountable? Every new computer I've seen comes bundled with a hundred useless, redundant apps, but no alternative browsers. Don't tell me HP, Dell, Gateway, etc can't include a 20 meg browser in their image. This is abuse of power, plain and simple on the EU's part.


    Wow there was probably no way I could have said it better. Good Job
  • -9 Hide
    fuser , February 25, 2009 11:02 PM
    "Windows operating system occupies most of the world"

    I can tell that you were typing this article so quickly that you forgot to proofread, or think ...
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , February 25, 2009 11:19 PM
    Without IE preinstalled, how would I download Firefox?
  • 5 Hide
    deltatux , February 25, 2009 11:34 PM
    Google Chrome is a great browser. However, to remove a browser from the operating system is a lil' stupid. As the article pointed out, how the hell will you be able to download another browser without a browser. Heck, if this happens wouldn't Apple, KDE and GNOME have to stop bundling browsers too?

    It just doesn't make sense...
  • 10 Hide
    fwaits , February 25, 2009 11:42 PM
    You would have to use FTP within a command prompt probably which is doable, but most people don't know how to do it so they would have to be shown how, and obtain the proper FTP addresses of said browsers.
  • -5 Hide
    dmuir , February 25, 2009 11:46 PM
    @hellscook:

    I don't agree that Chrome sucks, but that's besides the point.
    If Microsoft has it as one of their conditions that no competing software be included on machines installed with Windows, then this is antitrust behavior. So it's not really that ludicrous.
    Removing IE from Windows would actually be a fantastic move.
    1. It would keep morons off the internet.
    2. It would mean that IE usage will drop (which is what every web developer wants)

    The tricky part is figuring out how to get a browser when you don't have one. You gave one solution: bundle it with new PC's. Browser developers need to push manufacturers to let them bundle their browsers with new PC's. The other is via Window's install process.

    I also see no reason for Microsoft to remove Trident from Windows, so apps that rely on IE's html renderer could continue to work without any problems.

    That said, I don't see anything wrong with bundling IE with Windows per-se, even though that was done as a monopolistic move to push out Netscape. Back in the 90's I'd consider it anti-trust, but not today. Now, every OS comes bundled with a browser, so it's not really fair to say that everyone except Microsoft is allowed to bundle a browser. I still want IE (especially 6 and 7) to die quick deaths, and if it's done unfairly, so be it. It would give them a taste of their own medicine, and all the peoples of the earth will rejoice....
  • 0 Hide
    Humans think , February 25, 2009 11:53 PM
    In Ubuntu for example and other debian based Linuxes you can enter a command like "sudo apt-get install firefox", or simply find it through the package manager. Since Windows is also for noobs (noob userbase is greater than 90% from my experience), this could only cause trouble.

    A first move could be to really have the option to uninstall Internet Explorer after you have installed another browser (like in Mac OS X, you can do this with Safari) without causing problems to windows update and other dependencies, in Win XP if i try to uninstall it just deletes the shortcuts. If I want Internet Explorer out I should be able to do it. This is the best solution.

    Giving an option to get the kind of software you like in the installation process like choosing your media players (ticking them): 1) Windows Media Player 2) CCCP with media player classic with/or zoom player 3) VLC 4) Movist and so on. The same would apply to Internet Browsers and other programms. Some of them would have to be downloaded which creates other problems like which software comes bundled, which software is Microsoft approved to be in the list and so on. What happens next with the preinstalled machines that come with lots of crap and their respective manufacturers choises (My last laptop PC was a Sony Vaio and I went through a clean install of Windows XP after I downloaded only the necessary drivers to get rid of the mess).

    The last option is IMHO a utopia not applicable to real life, I would be satisfied with just the first option. Keep it simple keep it clean
  • -5 Hide
    Humans think , February 25, 2009 11:57 PM
    @dmuir lol I was also responding to the same message but you were faster :p  the funny thing is that we wrote about the same things :) 
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , February 26, 2009 12:56 AM
    Although I may be repeating remarks above....Um how is something that you supply free considered as a market?
  • 1 Hide
    Claimintru , February 26, 2009 1:16 AM
    The reason the EU is so after Microsoft is not because of browser bundling, but because the browser is a requirement for windows updates and the browser itself is part of the Windows OS.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , February 26, 2009 1:33 AM
    You know, this must might convince me to switch from using Firefox and Google search to IE8 and Live Search. This is really starting to piss me off.

    ClaimintruThe reason the EU is so after Microsoft is not because of browser bundling, but because the browser is a requirement for windows updates and the browser itself is part of the Windows OS.


    Ever heard of Vista Update? You don't need IE for that. They've proved it themselves.
  • -3 Hide
    gimarbazat , February 26, 2009 1:50 AM
    when google will have an operating system better than windows then i will use their browser
  • 2 Hide
    gimarbazat , February 26, 2009 1:53 AM
    google should take care of their browsing and add business not of microsoft and internet explorer.

    "browser market is still largely uncompetitive (despite Firefox's huge adoption rate), thus making it hard for other companies to be innovative"

    i dont care of google being inovative or making money.. just wanna use my IE to browes the web
  • -2 Hide
    gimarbazat , February 26, 2009 1:55 AM
    I also dont give a sh.t on live search from microsoft and I use google.
    Google = search engine
    Microsoft = OS, Internet browser etc
  • 5 Hide
    mikecs , February 26, 2009 2:08 AM
    If your browser is better or offers something the other doesn't have guess what people will use it. If IE does everything people need it to do guess what? They are going to use it. If Mozzila or Chrome actually were these outstandingly better products consumers would flock to them for a better internet experience. In general a browser is a browser to me. Even if I personally do use Mozzila for most of my browsing at home its not like I want to rip my eyes out and walk away from a computer if all it has is IE. Google and Mozzila need to stop wasting time and money on b1tches and complaints and use that energy to develop an internet browser that actually improves upon the current standard. Is it so much to ask 3rd party companies to be innovative to bring consumers to thier products?
  • -4 Hide
    jsloan , February 26, 2009 2:16 AM
    microsoft is f**ked. eu is going to force microsoft to include google chrome browser with windows, ah cr*p! the first scroll has been opened, the apocalypse is near. their is no hope, the world is doomed.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 26, 2009 2:27 AM
    With regards to everyone wondering how would we download a browser...one option that is suggested is that windows installation asks you which browser do you want, and then installs it.
    Again, the problem with that is that sooner or later there will be way too many browsers on the market to be able to do that.
    In any case, I'm sure they can come up with a way...
    I entirely agree that this is necessary and that it would really stimulate the browser market and innovation.
  • 4 Hide
    davewbrown , February 26, 2009 2:39 AM
    So the U.S. government and the European Commission are saying most people are to stupid to browse the web or talk to friends to find out that there just might be an alternative to IE and maybe even Windows? So then why is IE losing market share?

    I guess companies like Google, Mozilla, Apple and any one else want what's best for the user. It's not about power! It's not about marketing! It's not about making money! It's about... uh... about... um... ah...

    I heard GM is in financial trouble because they were forced to offer Ford cup holders as an option.

    Usain Bolt is also being forced to wear a 50 pound weight when he runs.
  • 2 Hide
    demonhorde665 , February 26, 2009 3:16 AM
    this is freaking retarded !!!!!


    "you have a monolpoly of soemthing that is free... LAWSUIT !!!!"


    1. lets define a monopoly

    this is the definition according to www.dictionary.com a site often refered to in oline and on campus colleges.

    "Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: "Monopoly frequently ... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals" (Milton Friedman).
    Law A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party.

    A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
    A commodity or service so controlled.
    Exclusive possession or control: arrogantly claims to have a monopoly on the truth.
    Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled: showed that scientific achievement is not a male monopoly.

    Exclusive possession or control: arrogantly claims to have a monopoly on the truth.
    Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled: showed that scientific achievement is not a male monopoly."


    given this definition MS is NOT a monopoly ,

    1. they don't make the only OS
    2. they don't make the only internet browser
    3. internet browsers ARE NOT a paid for service or item

    also of note the windows operating system does not even prevent you from installing and using other internet browsers.


    any juge that rules agaisnt microsoft would be atotal idiot , granted i'm nto always on MS's side but in this case these companies needs to take a hike and quit trying to force MS to pay for ther advertising via law suits. they should start advertising with thier money and show peopel WHY thier itnernet browser is better , instead of whinning foul at MS for making their OS more functional.

Display more comments
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter