June 12, 2009 / 8:50 AM / 10 years ago

Opera says Microsoft EU browser offer 'not enough'

* Opera says move would not restore competition

* Says Microsoft’s dominant position would prevail

By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

HELSINKI, June 12 (Reuters) - Norwegian browser maker Opera ASA OPERA.OL said on Friday Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) plan to ship Windows operating system in Europe without its Internet Explorer web browser was not enough to restore competition.

On Thursday the world’s top software maker Microsoft, countering pressure from European regulators, said it plans to ship the newest version of Windows in Europe without its Internet Explorer web browser. [ID:nN11506625]

“I don’t think what Microsoft announced is going to restore competition,” Opera’s Chief Technology Officer Hakon Wium Lie told Reuters.

“I don’t think its going to be enough, I don’t think it will get them off the hook,” he said.

Microsoft’s abrupt reversal comes shortly before the European Commission is due to rule on antitrust charges brought against Microsoft in January, claiming that Microsoft abuses its dominant position by bundling its Internet Explorer browser, shielding it from head-to-head competition with rival products.

Until now, Microsoft has claimed that the browser was an integral part of the operating system and should not be pulled out, but it now plans to do that for a European version of Windows 7, due to be rolled out later this year.

Opera said that if Microsoft’s plan would be the final outcome it would have no impact on Internet Explorer’s dominant role.

“Then we would be very disappointed. That means Microsoft’s dominant position will continue,” Wium Lie said, adding operating systems should be sold with several browsers — giving consumers the choice — not with no browsers at all. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Mike Nesbit)

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