Microsoft has officially responded to the antitrust complaint filed by Opera with the European Commission. The software giant's key point: there are plenty of readily-available choices for Windows users looking for a browser other than Internet Explorer, and there's nothing forcing anyone to surf with a browser he or she doesn't like.
"It's important to note that computer users have complete freedom of choice to use and set as default any browser they wish, including Opera, and PC manufacturers can also preinstall any browser as the default on any Windows machine they sell," Microsoft spokesperson Jack Evans told Ars. "Microsoft is committed to ensuring that freedom through our Windows Principles."
In its complaint, Opera accuses Microsoft of harming competition in the browser space by producing a browser that's not standards compliant and illegally monopolizing the market by bundling IE with Windows. The Norwegian company would like the EC to force Microsoft to ship Windows without IE preloaded or with additional browsers installed. In addition, the company believes that Microsoft should be forced to follow "fundamental and open web standards accepted by web authoring communities."
In response, Microsoft defended the deep ties between Windows and IE. "Internet Explorer has been an integral part of the Windows operating system for over a decade and supports a wide range of web standards," said Evans.