The European Commission has decided to allow Mozilla to take part in an antitrust lawsuit currently underway against Microsoft regarding the inclusion of the firm's web browser, Internet Explorer, with Windows.
The European Commission has formerly charged Microsoft with anti-competitive business practices. According to a Form 10-Q document, the "European Commission issued a statement of objections expressing the Commission’s preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law."
Mozilla is not a plaintiff in the case, it is only an "interested third party," which means it will be able to review the statement of objections that was sent to Microsoft last month, as well as provide arguments to the European antitrust regulators and attend a hearing if Microsoft happens to request one. Chairperson of Mozilla Foundation and former CEO of Mozilla Corporation, Mitchell Baker, posted an entry on her blog stating that she doesn't have "the single smallest iota of doubt" that the inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows is anti-competitive and restricts consumer choice.
"I’ve been involved in building and shipping web browsers continuously since before Microsoft started developing IE, and the damage Microsoft has done to competition, innovation, and the pace of the web development itself is both glaring and ongoing," said Baker.
Last month, Opera CEO, Jon von Tetzchner said the European Commission's previous attempt at breaking Microsoft's supposed monopoly with Windows Media Player through the sale of "N" editions of Windows alongside the normal editions is not the solution he is after. Sales figures for these versions was poor due to the equal pricing. Not many customers would be willing to pay the same for less, which is understandable given no other alternative software was included.
Tetzchner wants to see Internet Explorer removed and replaced entirely by another browser, or an option for the user to pick which browser they want to use when installing Windows. Although since many users don't know there are other browsers, or even what a browser is, they will probably choose whatever comes to mind first or what they use at work, which is likely to be Internet Explorer.