Mozilla: MS Tactics Don't Hurt Our Market Share

Dennis Faas's picture

The makers of the Firefox browser have officially joined the legal battle being waged by European regulators against Microsoft's tactics over Internet Explorer. But the man behind the latest Firefox edition says there's no need to include rival browsers in Windows.

The European Commission has formally accepted a request from Mozilla to submit documents to its investigation over Microsoft's potential antitrust violations in bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. The move comes at a very late stage: the Commission has already made a ruling in principle against Microsoft and is currently waiting to hear if the firm wants to make an official challenge. That would lead to a formal hearing where the Mozilla documents would come into play.

The chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, the group behind the open source browser, says she backs the regulators' view. Writing in a blog post, W. Mitchell Baker wrote that "the damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation, and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing." (Source:

She claims that once Microsoft achieved a virtual monopoly with Internet Explorer it lost motivation to keep developing and improving the browser, and that this may even have increased security risks for users.

Mozilla's evidence will be of particular interest to the investigation as Firefox is the one non-Microsoft browser which has managed to maintain and even expand its market share.

Surprisingly, one of the key developers behind Firefox says he doesn't agree with one of the solutions the European Commission is offering, namely that rival browsers also be included with Windows and users be offered a choice upon first using the system.

Mike Connor told PC Pro that this would be too confusing for users installing the software. He also said that Mozilla's market share, currently more than 20%, was proof that Microsoft's tactics don't hurt market share and that rival browsers can overcome monopolies simply by proving to users that they are better. (

Were Mozilla a traditional company, the public relations department would be having a fit that two senior figures appeared to be disagreeing so publicly. However, with Mozilla an open source project backed by a non-profit organization, there's more room for individualism.

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