Q&A on Mozilla and the European Commission

In response to questions that have been asked about Mozilla’s involvement with the recent European Commission (EC) conclusion regarding Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system, we’ve prepared this brief set of questions and answers.

What is Mozilla’s involvement in the EC’s complaint against Microsoft?
We are following it closely and are obviously interested in the outcome. Mozilla has received “interested third party” status in the EC’s investigation. As a result, we may see the Statement of Objections confidentially. We may participate in a hearing if the EC concurs. Mozilla’s role as an interested third party best enables us to contribute our knowledge of the browser industry to the EC. Mozilla is not a complainant; we have not “joined the suit”, despite some reports to the contrary.

Why is Mozilla getting involved?
The EC has taken a position that Microsoft’s actions harm competition among web browsers. The EC is currently developing a response based on this conclusion. A good remedy could be helpful; a bad remedy could create more damage. Mozilla has relevant and unique expertise in the web browser industry, both as to the nature of the damage and the complexities of possible remedies. We believe it’s worth offering that expertise to the EC. Ultimately, this case has huge potential impact on our mission of supporting an open and participatory web.

What does Mozilla want to have happen?
We want any remedy imposed to support an open and participatory web. By the same token, we seek to avoid any remedy that causes unintended damage.

There have been a number of opinions shared by individuals affiliated with Mozilla. What is Mozilla’s official stance on the EC complaint?
As with any dedicated and enthusiastic community, ours is one of diverse opinions. Our official stance: (1) we want to offer our knowledge to the EC as it considers its next steps; and (2) we intend to continue public discussions of this topic.

What remedies does Mozilla propose?
Mozilla has not proposed any remedies at this point. We have started a discussion to help figure out what the options are and how helpful they might be.

When will you have an opinion on remedies?
We’re synthesizing feedback from our community, our own previous experiences and from the EC. We don’t have a preset timetable.

What will the EC’s decision mean for Microsoft in other parts of the world?
Mozilla has no way of knowing this – we’ll learn what this means along with everyone else.

For additional information, please refer to the following blog posts by Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Foundation chair:

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