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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2010-02-22">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>FSFE to users: Seize your freedom of choice!</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>FSFE to users: Seize your freedom of choice!</h1>
  9. <h2>FSFE welcomes greater competition in European browser market</h2>
  10. <p>
  11. FSFE welcomes the arrival of greater competition in the web browser
  12. market. From today, Microsoft has to offer Windows users in Europe the
  13. possibility to choose among different browsers. This step puts into
  14. practice the company's settlement with the European Commission from
  15. December 2009. The Free Software Foundation Europe was an active
  16. participant in the Commission's investigation.
  17. </p>
  18. <p>
  19. "For the first time, Microsoft has been forced to offer all users a choice
  20. among different web browsers," says FSFE's President Karsten Gerloff. "This
  21. is a stop sign for the company's strategy of extending its near-monopoly in
  22. desktop operating systems to other markets."
  23. </p>
  24. <p>
  25. FSFE is fighting for freedom of choice and Open Standards. Microsoft's own
  26. Internet Explorer browsers do not interpret web standards correctly. The
  27. company's near-monopoly on the desktop has meant that web designers have
  28. often catered to Microsoft users only, leaving users of rival browsers to
  29. deal with broken pages.
  30. </p>
  31. <p>
  32. "Microsoft has gained its dominant position in the browser market by
  33. violating its consent decree with the US competition authorities. The
  34. problem we are trying to fix here wouldn't exist if Microsoft had complied
  35. with the laws," says FSFE's Legal Counsel Carlo Piana. "It is no
  36. coincidence that we have recently seen more competition among browsers,
  37. after years where there was no innovation and a total lack of investment by
  38. Microsoft."
  39. </p>
  40. <p>
  41. It is now up to the users to take advantage of the choice they are offered.
  42. Gerloff reminds the EC that it will constantly need to monitor the success
  43. of the 'ballot screen'. "Microsoft is a convicted monopolist and has broken
  44. countless promises in the past," he says. "We urge the European Commission
  45. to keep a sharp eye on how well this measure plays out in practice."
  46. </p>
  47. <p>
  48. The 'ballot screen' is currently limited to Europe. "We call on competition
  49. authorities around the world to take a cue from the EC's good work in this
  50. case. The effect on competition and standards compliance would be much
  51. greater if users were offered a choice everywhere", says FSFE's Legal
  52. Counsel Carlo Piana.
  53. </p>
  54. <p>
  55. It remains to be seen how the 'ballot screen' will improve competition in
  56. the market for web browsers. FSFE is equally concerned about the lack of
  57. interoperability between Microsoft's products and Free Software
  58. competitors, and the company's practice of bundling its operating system
  59. with consumer hardware.
  60. </p>
  61. <h3>Background:</h3>
  62. <p>
  63. The initial complaint about Microsoft's abuse of its dominant position in
  64. the web browser market was brought by Opera. FSFE has supported the
  65. investigation as an interested third party, providing feedback and helping
  66. to shape the measures imposed by the European Commission.
  67. </p>
  68. <p>
  69. The settlement on web browsers is only the latest among several European
  70. Commission investigations into Microsoft's anticompetitive behaviour. The
  71. most famous among these actions -- where <a
  72. href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/ms-vs-eu.en.html">FSFE was a key
  73. player</a> -- concerned the workgroup server operating system market. Also
  74. known as the Samba case, it ended with a landmark decision in 2007 by the
  75. European Court of Justice. Microsoft was forced to disclose
  76. interoperability information that it had illegaly withheld from
  77. competitors.
  78. </p>
  79. <p>
  80. On the same day that the ballot screen was announced, Microsoft also
  81. promised to disclose interoperability information for a number of its
  82. products, such as Windows Server, Microsoft Office, Exchange and
  83. SharePoint. Here, an investigation by the European Commission is still
  84. ongoing.
  85. </p>
  86. </body>
  87. </html>
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