Monday, January 19, 2009

Opera slings mud at Microsoft, sticks.

So the antitrust thing's back. The EU says Microsoft's violated competition laws by continuing to include Internet Explorer with versions of Windows. Opera, the original re-complainant, is understandably delighted.

So where's Microsoft go from here, other than back into the courtroom? Given that the fine dished out by the EU last time was 899 million Euros, it's a fair bet that someone's going to be digging into their pockets, deeply.

And with Microsoft feeling the pinch - its share price this morning stood at $19.71, down from over $35; and with persistent murmurs of impending cutbacks - now represents perhaps the EU's best chance to get the software giant to sit up and listen, properly.

Yes, the last antitrust issue before the EU was different - that was to do with Microsoft getting in the way - as the commission saw it - of other vendor's attempts to get their software to work properly on Microsoft operating systems.

But the EU budget's not getting any smaller, and member countries are raising less tax revenue than six months ago, thanks to the recession. Milking the Redmond cash cow might, in the once-removed eyes of European ministers, go down an absolute storm.

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