After announcing that it was removing the browser from Windows 7; last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft has now offered to include an application which would allow users to choose which browser they would like installed. This paragraph caught my eye:
"EU jurisprudence on tying had long revolved around situations like a maker of nail guns requiring that customers use only its nails, or a milk-packaging-machine manufacturer forcing dairies to buy its cartons. The 2004 Media Player case extended that line of thinking to software. And from there, it was a relatively short step to argue that Internet Explorer, like Media Player, was illegally tied to Windows."
With the news of iTunes 8.1.2 breaking connectivity with the Palm Pre and Palm releasing webOS 1.1 to fix the break (precentral.com) the battle could go on endlessly. Given the Wall Street Journal's jurisprudence statement and iTunes having a 70+ percent market share, could the EU force Apple to open up iTunes to all hardware vendors. On the surface it seems they could, all they need is for someone to bring the case to them. Palm seems the likely candidate, company spokesperson Lynn Fox said:
"Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content they own without interference across devices and services, so on behalf of consumers, we have notified the USB Implementers Forum [USB-IF] of what we believe is improper use of the Vendor ID number by another member."
It seems that Palm may be on its way to file a complaint with the EU, although by impersonating Apple's vendor id they are currently in violation of their agreement with the USB Implementaters Forum.
If a case is ever brought forward it could take years to resolve, but if I were Apple I would tread gingerly.