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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<html newsdate="2009-12-16">
<title>FSFE: EC's browser case settlement with Microsoft</title>
<h1>FSFE welcomes greater user choice in browsers, warns that Free
Software is excluded from interoperability</h1>
<p>Free Software Foundation Europe congratulates the European Commission
on pushing Microsoft to give users greater choice between different
browsers. "The selection screen will make users aware that they can
make their own choices," says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President. "We
are glad that FSFE has helped the Commission to put limits to
Microsoft's desktop monopoly."</p>
The Commission announced today that it has settled its antitrust case
against Microsoft regarding web browsers. FSFE participated in the
case as an interested third party. "Microsoft has abused its dominant
market position to push out competitors by tying its own browser to
the Windows operating system," says Gerloff. "The company's continued
refusal to comply with <a href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">Open Standards</a> also means that many
websites today are designed to work only with Internet Explorer,
leaving users of other browsers at a disadvantage."
The European Commission is also investigating the way Microsoft
prevents competitors from interfacing with many of its desktop
productivity programs. Microsoft has offered a unilateral
commitment. Yet these promises are useless for Free Software
developers, since they exclude commercial use of Microsoft's
interoperability information.
Carlo Piana, FSFE's legal counsel, says: "The patent commitments are
clearly insufficient, because they don't allow commercial
exploitation. This keeps out competition from Free Software, which in
many areas is the biggest competitor to Microsoft's programs.
Instead, Microsoft will continue to threaten commercial Free Software
developers and their customers with patent FUD (fear, uncertainty and
FSFE's President Karsten Gerloff says: "We welcome the Commission's
decision to keep the interoperability investigation open while it
monitors whether Microsoft's promises help to promote competition. We are
confident that the Commission will take action if the commitment
doesn't improve things for Free Software."
<tag key="policy"/>
<tag key="european-commission">European Commission</tag>
<tag key="microsoft"/>
<tag key="antitrust"/>
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