Google Joins Antitrust Case Against Microsoft - InformationWeek

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2/25/2009
12:58 PM
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Google Joins Antitrust Case Against Microsoft

The move could potentially force Microsoft to offer the option of using Google's Chrome browser at the installation of Windows.

Google said it wants to help the European Commission prove its antitrust charges against Microsoft regarding the bundling of the Internet Explorer browser with Windows.

In early January, the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Microsoft that said the bundling of the browser "undermines product innovation, and ultimately reduces consumer choice." The search giant wants to become a third party in the proceedings, which would give it access to confidential documents, as well as have a voice for a potential remedy.

"Google believes that the browser market is still largely uncompetitive, which holds back innovation for users," Google wrote on its blog. "This is because Internet Explorer is tied to Microsoft's dominant computer operating system, giving it an unfair advantage over other browsers. 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."

The European Commission could eventually require Microsoft to distribute Windows in the European Union without Internet Explorer, or offer an installation screen that gives consumers a choice of which browser to install. Google is hoping this could potentially create room for its relatively new Chrome browser.

Even though it's bundled with the most popular computer operating system in the world, Internet Explorer has been steadily losing market share. It still retains about 70% of the market, but Mozilla's Firefox has surpassed 20% for the first time, and Apple's Safari is above 7%.

Mozilla has also asked for third-party access to the proceedings, and it was recently granted.

"Microsoft's business practices have fundamentally diminished (in fact, came very close to eliminating) competition, choice, and innovation in how people access the Internet," said Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's chair, in a blog post.

If you haven't seen Chrome in action yet, take a spin through our Google Chrome image gallery and have a look at the browser that's being touted as a game-changer.

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