EU investigating Microsoft over Windows 8 browser shut-out
by MarkFlax - 7/19/12 12:40 PM
EU antitrust regulators are looking into complaints by rival software makers that Microsoft is preventing them from installing their browsers on one version of Windows 8, Reuters reports.
Microsoft is accused of shutting out browser makers in favor of its own Internet Explorer on Windows RT, a tablet-centric version of the Windows 8 operating system designed for devices running ARM chips.
The EU watchdog is also investigating allegations that Microsoft does not provide rival browsers with access to complete APIs (application programming interfaces, which allow the OS and other programs to talk to each other) in Windows 8, according to Reuters.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 browser, which comes with Windows 8, will run in both "Metro" and "Classic" modes, the former running from the Start screen, the latter running from the 'behind the scenes' desktop. Mozilla, the creator of the rival Firefox browser, claims that running a third-party browser in Classic mode is the only way Microsoft has allowed developers to access the APIs.
As a result, with the exception of IE10, browsers running on Windows RT can't take advantage of the best features of both classic and Metro modes, according to Mozilla.
"On ARM chips, Microsoft gives IE access special APIs absolutely necessary for building a modern browser that it won't give to other browsers so there's no way another browser can possibly compete with IE in terms of features or performance," Mozilla's Asa Dotzler wrote in a blog recently.
It's not clear whether the allegations relate solely to Windows RT or whether it also includes the desktop and notebook versions of Windows 8.
More at the link.
I could see this coming. I had been testing the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 on my Desktop and it has Internet Explorer 10 both for the Metro interface and the more normal Desktop style interface.
However installing Firefox it would display the Metro icon, but when opening the browser from there it defaulted to the Desktop style. Microsoft has not let Mozilla test its browser on the Metro APIs.
Microsoft are already in trouble with the EU over it's Windows 7 OS and not, apparently, allowing users the choice of browser at first access to the OS, as Carol provides information in here post here;