Opera Complains About Bundled Internet Explorer
The European Commission has been prompted to look further into the bundling practices of tech giant Microsoft Corp. following a formal complaint accusing the company of thwarting competition by tying the two services together. Opera, maker of the fourth-most-popular Web browser, said that Microsoft made it hard for rivals to offer a serious choice when Internet Explorer comes bundled with its operating system. The company wants the Commission to make Microsoft separate IE from Windows and pre-install other browsers on new personal computers.
Microsoft responded to the complaint by saying, "We believe the inclusion of the browser into the operating system benefits consumers, and that consumers and PC manufacturers already are free to choose any browsers they wish." According to Hitslink, (link: http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=0), IE has approximately 77 percent of the browser market. Firefox is estimated at around 16 percent, followed by Apple's Safari, 5 percent, and Opera, less than one percent.
Big American Web companies shudder when they hear that their business practices are being scrutinized by the monopoly-wary European Commission. The EU trade regulator takes a dim view of companies whose practices compromise user privacy or exercise an unfair competitive advantage. Recently, Google and Microsoft have come under the European Commission's microscope, the former for its DoubleClick merger, the latter for bundling its media player software with its operating systems Windows XP and Vista.