Microsoft is leveraging its Windows monopoly over the operating system industry and banning other web browsers in order to promote its own browser, Internet Explorer. No, it isn’t 1998, it is just another day in the tech world 2012.
The only difference between now and then, is that now Microsoft has to deal with a much bigger rivals which holds significant market share.
This whole deja-vu affair blew up yesterday in a blog post by Mozilla (the developer of the Firefox browser). The organization’s general counsel, Harvey Anderson, essentially claims on the post that users of Windows on ARM (for tablets), might not enjoy the free choice of selecting a browser.
Anderson explains that on the next version of Windows 8 for ARM processors (also known by the pretty stupid name Windows RT), the system will basically restrict any other third-party browser except for Microsoft’s IE on the Windows Classic environment.
Without getting into the technicalities, Anderson’s logic is pretty simple: If the system can run IE, there’s no reason why it can’t run other browsers as well. Sounds like a reasonable argument to me, but apparently Microsoft think otherwise.
The software company giant also drawn its top heavy legal guns and sent its deputy general counsel David Heiner to explain why Windows on ARM will limit other browsers. He stated the following two reasons:
- Only Microsoft can handle the technicalities of ARM processors efficiently.
- “Windows RT isn’t Windows anymore.”
I have to admit that even though I’m not familiar with all this software meets hardware thing, both of Microsoft’s reasons, well, suck. Claiming that a company is the “only” one that able to deal with the technical requirements is total BS (and a very arrogant thing to say).
And claiming that Windows RT is not Windows sounds even worse! I mean, just look at the name, WINDOWS! But yet again, I’m no expert…
Maybe its because of Microsoft’s lame answers, maybe its because it was the time to step up or maybe its just because this can also affect its own Chrome browser, Google also joined this recent browser battle. It released the following statement to CNET:
We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation. We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition.
So far, this story hasn’t reach to the legal court rooms. No company has any intent to spend money on lawyers for such a small market (Windows on tablets? Give me a break). However, things may rapidly change so don’t be surprised if we’ll see this battle going to court in the future to come.
For Microsoft it won’t be the first time. Back on 1998 the company dragged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into a legal battle for exploiting its software monopoly to promote IE. This case almost broke Microsoft into two separate units but eventually ended with a settlement.
Stay tuned, because in 10 years we’ll probably see the same story where Microsoft won’t grant access to its spaceship software or something.