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<html newsdate="2009-02-27">
<title>FSFE engages in the EU browser case</title>
<h1>FSFE engages in the EU browser case</h1>
<p>Free Software Foundation Europe today announces that it
will support the European Commission's antitrust investigation against
Microsoft and to this effect it has formally requested to be admitted as an
interested third party.</p>
<p>The investigation began on the 16th of January when the European Commission
DG Competition reported that it had issued a statement of objections regarding
Microsoft's abuse of web standards and the tying of Internet Explorer (IE) to
the Windows Operating System product family. It is based on a complaint
submitted by Opera, a European company involved in web browser development,
which FSFE publicly supported in 2007.</p>
<p>FSFE considers anti-competitive behaviour unacceptable, whether it occurs
through "tying" products, or in circumventing standards and fair access. FSFE
will seek to support all processes that ensure competition and enable
<p>FSFE promotes freedom of choice and protects Open Standards. This includes
working against abuse of standards through proprietary extensions that
unlawfully segment the Internet. FSFE welcomes the participation of any company
in the browser market, including the optimisation of their products to work
well on target platforms.</p>
<p>But no company should be in a position to dictate what the Internet will
look like by leveraging platform dominance into erosion of standards through
control of server and client.</p>
<p>FSFE President Georg Greve comments: "Antitrust law has to step in when
there is consistent and massive abuse of a dominant position that is damaging
competition in other areas. In this case, Microsoft first used the platform
monopoly to create artificial ubiquity for Internet Explorer, and then modified
the standards on both ends to distort compatibility and competition."</p>
<p>"The design decisions that give IE better integration than alternative
browsers and to change web standards in undocumented ways were not
technologically justified. The consequences that made the intervention of the
European Commission necessary were intended, not accidental," Greve
<p>"Microsoft's pleas to be in favour of competition and interoperability must
be followed by real acts of goodwill," states Carlo Piana, counsel for FSFE.
"So far we have seen little of it: recent actions taken against Free Software
are eloquent. We will be restless in demanding that real competition be
restored and that all players are treated equally."</p>
<p>For FSFE's previous statements, please see:</p>
<li><a href="/news/2007/news-20071221-01">FSFE supports new antitrust investigation against Microsoft</a></li>
<li><a href="/news/2009/news-20090120-02">Web browser interoperability: FSFE welcomes EC's decision and offers support</a></li>
<p>For FSFE's letter to the European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes,
please see:</p>
<li><a href="">Support of Opera Software antitrust complaint</a></li>
<p>FSFE previously supported the European Commission's DG Competition in its
2001 investigation against Microsoft's non-disclosure of interoperability data.
This was the first time the Free Software community became involved in such a
case, and helped lead to a final decision in 2004 against Microsoft demanding
that interoperability information be made public.</p>
<p>The ruling was upheld by a 2007 ruling at the European Court of First
Instance, and eventually, Samba and the entire community received access to the
interoperability information upon conditions compatible with the GNU General
Public License, which is now being implemented into better and more
interoperable software that will benefit the entire IT ecosystem.</p>
<h2>About the Free Software Foundation Europe</h2>
<p>The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit non-governmental
organisation active in many European countries and involved in many global
activities. Access to software determines participation in a digital society.
To secure equal participation in the information age, as well as freedom of
competition, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is
dedicated to the furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use,
study, modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by
supporting development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.</p>
<p>You will find further information about the work of the FSFE at <a
<li>Belgium: +32 2 747 03 57</li>
<li>Germany: +49 700 373 38 76 73</li>
<li>Sweden: +46 31 7802160</li>
<li>Switzerland: +41 43 500 03 66</li>
<li>UK: +44 29 200 08 17 7</li>
<p><a href="/about/contact.html">Other ways to get in touch</a> with the
<tag key="policy"/>
<tag key="antitrust"/>
<tag key="microsoft"/>
<tag key="european-commission">European Commission</tag>
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