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Opera tells EU that Microsoft's IE hurts the Web

December 13, 2007 12:00 PM ET

He then called on Microsoft to shape up. "We seek no money from Microsoft. We would rather see Microsoft put their considerable talent and resources to work for the Web community."

Not surprisingly, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), a Brussels-based opponent to Microsoft that counts Opera as a member, echoed that line of reasoning. "Microsoft either fails to implement industry-standard accepted open practices or implements them in a manner that is not faithful to the standard by adding undisclosed proprietary extensions," ECIS' Thomas Vinje, the group's legal counsel, charged in a separate statement.

Web developers have been making the same case individually. In reaction to posts placed on the official IE blog, developers have blasted Microsoft for not properly supporting standards in the current IE 7, and not spelling out what standards will be supported in the upcoming IE 8.

The EU's Competition Commission confirmed the Opera complaint and said it would consider it. "We are going to study this complaint carefully," said Jonathan Todd, the commission's spokesman. "In particular in light of the case law established by the Court of First Instance in its ruling of the 17th of September of this year." In September, the Court of First Instance, the EU's second-highest court, ruled against Microsoft's appeal of a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling; within a month, Microsoft caved on all counts, saying it would not appeal further and would slash licensing prices for Windows protocols.

Microsoft reacted to the move from Opera by noting that users are free to install any browser, though it only touched on the standards part of Opera's complaint. "Computer users have complete freedom of choice to use and set as default any browser they wish, including Opera, and PC manufacturers can also preinstall any browser as the default on any Windows machine they sell," said Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans in an e-mail today. "Internet Explorer has been an integral part of the Windows operating system for over a decade and supports a wide range of web standards.

"We will, of course, cooperate with any inquiries into these issues," Evans added.

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