Smaller Companies Speak Out

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-03-02 Print this article Print

However, a number of Microsoft's competitors, including Mozilla and Google, all reportedly asked the Commission for last-minute changes to the agreement. Opera CEO Jon Tetzschner told eWEEK in an October 2009 interview that his company had concerns over the original proposal, which would have listed the browsers in alphabetical order, and said it would be best if browser placement on the ballot screen were randomized.

"Today is a victory for choice on the Web and the myriad benefits choice brings," Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera, wrote in a March 2 statement posted on Opera's Website. "The Choice Screen is a critical milestone in the evolution of the Web, for Web users, Web developers and everyone else who wants to see the Web remain a healthy platform for innovation, information and communication."

But some smaller browser companies seemed to be preparing a more negative response to the ballot-screen rollout.

"Under Microsoft's current choice screen design, users are presented with a screen that shows only the top five largest browsers," a representative for Flock wrote in a March 2 e-mail to eWEEK. "There is no indication that users have to scroll to the right, 'off-screen' to find the other seven browser choices. This system encourages only choice among the largest, corporate players and it doesn't do what the EU intended, which is to encourage a wider selection of choices."

The CEO of Flock, Shawn Hardin, had not yet been reached by eWEEK's press time.

The ECIS (European Committee for Interoperable Systems), a nonprofit organization devoted to creating market conditions favorable to interoperable IT solutions, is also pushing for the ballot initiative to be expanded beyond Europe. In a March 2 statement, the organization wrote that it "calls on competition agencies around the world to give consumers the benefit of browser choice, which will spur competition and improve the Web experience for all."

ECIS counts Opera among its members. "Consumers deserve the same unbiased browser choice on all the world's more than 1 billion personal computers," the organization's statement continued.

In his March 2 statement, Competition Commissioner Almunia also suggested that PC manufacturers in the EU would be able to install competing browsers on Windows PCs "instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer." Furthermore, he suggested, "Microsoft further committed not to retaliate against PC manufacturers who pre-install a non-Microsoft Web browser on the PCs they ship and make it the default Web explorer."

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel