Opera is bringing an EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft

I read this story on Redmond Developer News this morning.  This quote basically summarizes the complaint:

We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them

I am wondering why these frustrated consumers don’t just use the monopolist software product one last time to google for alternative web browser windows and download one of the options.

This complaint has as much chance of actually working as the whole SCO vs. IBM thing.  My favorite quote is:

In addition to promoting the free choice of individual consumers, we are a champion of open Web standards and cross-platform innovation.  We cannot rest until we’ve brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide.

Yes you can, Opera.  You can rest right after you have bankrupted yourself attempting to sue a behemoth company that has more lawyers on its staff than you have total employees.  If you need publicity for your product, it will be much cheaper and effective to place a full page ad in every major newspaper in the EU.

Even though I am sure it is fine product, I have never used Opera.  However, I do share something in common with  them:  It is difficult to get knowledge of your product offerings to the consumers that could be interested in buying those products.  It is much more difficult than most people think.  This is specifically true for software products for the general public.  People want to use what they are familiar with and what is easy for them to obtain.  Contrary to their quote, I believe that the number of consumers that are tired of the monopolist is probably about topped out and those people have made their choice.  Unfortunately for Opera, the choice was some other product.

I recently read that market share for the Opera browser is under 1%, while Firefox is somewhere around 10-12%.  I think Safari was around the same percentage as Firefox.  I am not sure how accurate these numbers are and I can’t even remember where they came from.  However, the numbers seem to reflect my own personal surveys of folks I know and they mean that Opera needs to raise their market share if they do not want to go away for good.  I just don’t think this particular approach is going to work for them, even though the EU seems more sympathetic to these types of complaints than their US counterparts.

Of course, these numbers could also change if consumers begin to try other operating systems due to frustration with windows vista or just due to those funny mac vs. pc commercials.  The numbers say this would favor Firefox and Safari instead of Opera.  This is what Opera needs to work on instead of making sure they use up the legal budget before year end.

I have tried Firefox and I use Safari on my mac.  Both are good browsers but I still use IE when I am on windows.  With IE 7, the product has tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking and those are the killer features for me.  The reality is most of my web browsing comes from my rss reader and not my stand alone web browser.

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