OVERNIGHT TECH: Committee to look at Microsoft competition allegations

The Lede: Senate Judiciary Committee staffers plan to take a look at allegations that Microsoft has made it difficult for competing Web browsers to run on a certain version of Windows, an aide to Antitrust subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) told The Hill Thursday.

The Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Firefox browser, and Google have accused Microsoft of hindering their browsers’ ability to run on Windows devices with ARM processors, which are popular in mobile phones. They say that only Microsoft’s Explorer browser is able to run on the devices.

{mosads}In a case of deja vu, the Mozilla Foundation is the heir of sorts to Netscape, whose Navigator browser frightened Microsoft into kicking off the browser wars of the 1990s, in which Microsoft was victorious as a result of what many called anticompetitive behavior.

Microsoft’s conduct became the impetus behind the Justice Department’s antitrust suit that almost caused the company to be broken up before the Bush administration settled with the company shortly after former President George W. Bush took office.

What was left of Netscape released the source code of its Navigator browser to live on as the open-source Mozilla project, which retook much of the browser market that Microsoft had gained control of.

Conservative scholar calls for critical infrastructure protections: Jack Goldsmith, a conservative professor at Harvard Law School, argued that the government should set mandatory security standards for critical infrastructure in a post on Thursday at Lawfare, a blog that covers legal and national security issues.

“There is no reason to think that the firms who own [critical infrastructure] will invest in the amount and types of CI cyber-defense that will adequately protect the nation,” he wrote. “This is a classic case for government regulation — indeed, it is the classic case for government supply of the public good we call national defense, since there is every reason to think that the private sector, following its private interests, will undersupply national defense in this context.”

The White House and Senate Democrats argue the mandatory standards will help to protect critical systems from a catastrophic attack. But Republicans say the standards are unnecessary and would burden businesses.


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Tags Al Franken

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