Technology folks are questioning the recent European Unions attack on Microsoft for still including Internet Explorer in Windows. This is the same attack that was made by the DOJ years ago, which basically changed very little. But in Europe the market share of Internet Explorer has fallen dramatically as more users opt to use alternative browsers.

In a recent article it states that:

With Google entering the market last year with its Chrome browser, Apple’s Safari seeing a resurgence thanks to the rising popularity of the Mac, and the emergence of other rivals such as Opera, the browser business has become the focus of a new wave of innovation.

Also, Microsoft has moved to adopt more open technology standards in its own browser – partly, say rivals, because of the rising competition, though they complain that there is still some incompatibility.

With a more standards-based Internet Explorer, website operators will find it easier to make their sites work with all browsers, not just the dominant Microsoft technology. That sea change accounted for some of the surprise at last week’s move by Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner.

“Quite extraordinary” was the response of Jonas Koponen, a partner at Linklaters in Brussels. “Difficult to understand”, concurred Denis Waelbroeck, a partner at Ashurst.

According to Mr Waelbroeck, there did not appear to be “the least evidence” of market foreclosure caused by the “bundling” of Internet Explorer with Windows.

Other observers suggested that the timing of the announcement, when the impact of the current economic recession is spilling over the technology sector, was equally alarming. But, on this score at least, the commission’s latest salvo seems to confirm its stance that competition rules are every bit as important in bad times as in good.

So what do you think? Is this a viable issue or should it be put to rest?

Comments welcome.