Space Ramblings

Opera Files Lawsuit Against Microsoft 10 Years Too Late

Get ready to flash back to 1997, dumb t-shirts are in, MP3 players don’t exist and much of the population still is unclear on what email is and are using AOL. That’s about right for Opera’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft over that same old chesnuts, Windows-Internet Explorer integration. It’s not that the suit is baseless, because everyone and their brother can tell you that Microsoft’s strategy used to be built on integrating products into their OS monopoly to destroy the competition, but the lawsuit is nevertheless hopelessly 1997 because in 2007, Microsoft is still scrambling to play catch up on the internet and losing browser market share to Firefox. It has not been able to usefully compete with Google despite its virtual browser monopoly and Yahoo is thriving as a portal no matter how hard Microsoft tries to drive traffic to MSN.

So it isn’t that Microsoft isn’t a monopoly but it has never really learned to play by the internet’s rules and the fact of the matter is that Google is the new Microsoft. Opera is taking advantage of the European Commission’s readiness and willingness to bitchslap Microsoft around to try and jump into the game but Opera is very much an also ran browser, it has its own customer base but it’s a narrow one and even when Opera was free, there was relatively little interest in it. I tried Opera but it was more of a curiosity than anything else.

Opera is asking the Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, to force Microsoft to unbundle IE from Windows, or include other browsers as a standard part of its operating system. It also wants it to require Microsoft to adhere to industry standards with its Web browser.

I’m not sure how many any of this would really matter. Opera keeps going back and forth but last time I checked, it’s still a commercial product and aren’t computers already bloated enough without including every single browser in them? Unbundling IE in favor of some sort of screen that would allow customers to choose from a browser to install may be reasonable enough, but let’s face reality, they will probably just install IE anyway.

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