Mozilla asks EU to reject Microsoft's Windows 7 browser plan

If the plan were accepted, IE would enjoy most-favored-browser status

Mozilla Foundation officials last week launched a concerted campaign to prod European Union antitrust regulators to demand more from Microsoft Corp. than the browser ballot screen the company has promised to offer Windows 7 users later this year.

Microsoft told EU antitrust officers on July 24 that to ease their concerns about its market dominance, it would provide European users a choice of Web browsers with its upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

Mitchell Baker, the former CEO and current chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, and Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's chief counsel, last week wrote lengthy blog posts citing their concerns about the Microsoft proposal and spelling out the changes they want to see in Windows 7.

John Lilly, Mozilla's current CEO, called the blog posts "part of our effort to get across our point of view. In principle, [Microsoft's proposal] sounds good, but in practice, the way they implement it will make a big difference."

In one of last week's posts, Baker argued that even if the plan were accepted, IE would enjoy most-favored-browser status.

"Even if everything in the currently proposed settlement is implemented in the most positive way, IE will still have a unique and uniquely privileged position on Windows installations," she said.

Anderson said that his concerns about the plan include IE's continued ties with other Microsoft software, particularly Office, and the unfair advantage IE would maintain because the other browsers must be downloaded.

Mozilla is also calling on Microsoft to extend its plans for EU countries to users around the world.

EU regulators have not set a timetable for a final decision on Microsoft's proposal, but sources close to Microsoft have said they expect a resolution before the end of October.

This version of the story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
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