2007-12-14

The doghouse: Opera files antitrust complaint against Microsoft

Following to the EU court's disastrous judgement against Microsoft in September, it looks like the EU is going to become a preferred playground for niche vendors who aren't satisfied with the smallness of their chosen niches, and harbor ingenius ideas that the government can help them carve out larger niches than the market would otherwise provide on its own.

What prevents you from installing Opera's browser on your Windows system? Nothing. You aim your browser to Opera's website, download, and run. A minute later, Opera is installed and running.

But Opera thinks that users merely having the ability to run their software on Windows is not enough. No, Microsoft should bundle Opera's software with Windows, because, er... Opera wants a bigger slice of the search engine revenue that comes from that "Google" search field in your browser.

How is it that people understand that the mere fact that Microsoft is allowing third party software on their platform is a blessing? Why don't we hear of antitrust lawsuits against those vendors whose platforms are closed altogether? Why does Opera not sue Apple because Apple is not giving Opera's browser equal, er, opportunity for search engine revenue on their iPhones?

Meanwhile, the real reason why the EU is happy to be acting against Microsoft probably has nothing to do with these actions being fair. It has more to do with strategic planning. The EU commissioners probably don't want the European economy entirely reliant on software provided exclusively by an American company, which has probably cooperated with intelligence agencies to allow the planting of all kinds of backdoors into the system. Whatever actions lead to the market becoming more diverse and less dependent on a single source of software, make the European economy more resilient in the event of a conflict, and less prone to industrial (and political) espionage.

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