Mixed signals as Google joins EU case against Microsoft

25 Feb 2009

On the same day as Google launches its Toolbar 6 Beta for Internet Explorer, the search and ads giant has joined with the EU in its anti-trust case against Microsoft over the dominance of the software giant’s search browser.

It is understood Google believes the browser market is largely uncompetitive, holding back innovation.

Google launched its Chrome browser last year, but it has still to gain significant traction in the market.

Google joins Firefox browser creator Mozilla Foundation and Norway’s Opera on the side of the EU in its case against Microsoft.

In January the European Commission sent a statement of objections (SO) to Microsoft over the tying of its web browser Internet Explorer (IE) to its ‘dominant’ PC operating system Windows.

A Statement of Objections (SO) is a formal step used by the Commission in anti-trust investigations. In the SO, the Commission sets out evidence and outlines its preliminary conclusion that Microsoft’s tying of IE to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.

The SO is based on the legal and economic principles established in the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 17 September 2007, in which Microsoft software giant was slapped with a massive €530m fine that, despite a subsequent appeal, was upheld by the Court of First Instance.

Meanwhile, the new Toolbar 6 Beta from Google includes a host of new features aimed at making search and navigation faster, stronger, and easier than ever before.

This major update to Toolbar is launching simultaneously in 40 languages for the hundreds of millions of toolbar users worldwide.

Some highlights of Google Toolbar 6 include: access to search from outside the browser with the new Quick Search Box feature, enhanced search suggestions and easier navigation to your favourite sites with a redesigned new tab page.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years