SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has said that Microsoft could be in breach of antitrust regulations by limiting Windows RT to only support its Internet Explorer web browser.
Microsoft's upcoming Windows RT, more commonly known as Windows on ARM, has both the touch oriented Metro and so-called 'classic' Windows desktop environments. While Mozilla has already complained about the difficulties of developing Firefox for Metro, now it has attacked Microsoft for allowing only Internet Explorer in the Windows RT Classic user environment.
Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's general counsel said, "The upcoming release of Windows for the ARM processor architecture and Microsoft's browser practices regarding Windows 8 Metro signal an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn't have browser choices."
He explained that Microsoft's privileged Windows Classic environment supports only the Internet Explorer web browser and said that there is "no technical reason to conclude other browsers can't do the same".
However Anderson didn't stop at saying there is no reason that other web browsers including Mozilla's Firefox cannot provide a similar, if not better experience than Internet Explorer. He went so far as to say that Microsoft could once again end up in hot water with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and European Commission (EC) over antitrust issues.
Anderson said, "Because Windows on ARM relies upon so many traditional Windows assets, including brand, code, footprint, and experience, the decision to exclude other browsers may also have antitrust implications. If Windows on ARM is simply another version of Windows on new hardware, it also runs afoul of the EC browser choice commitments and seems to represent the very behavior the DOJ-Microsoft settlement sought to prohibit."
Microsoft has already been sanctioned by the US DOJ and the EC over its strong-arm tactics with Internet Explorer in Windows. It looks like this time around Mozilla and other web browser developers won't let years slip by before lobbying for change in order to improve user choice. µ
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