Microsoft has been accused of ‘ignoring web standards' and should use its position to promote competition among browsers.


Speaking at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, Opera chief technology officer Hakon Wium Lie claimed that Microsoft should ‘make sure there is user choice when it comes to browsers' and that its dominance gave them an ‘obligation to promote competition'.


Opera has complained to the EU about Microsoft using its dominance to promote Internet Explorer over Opera and other browsers, with Google lending its support too. Lie claimed that he was concerned that Microsoft would use its Windows Software Update System to distribute the forthcoming new version of Internet Explorer to users.


Lie said: “That system should be used for other browsers too, to ensure users have genuine choice. We would be happy to channel Opera into that software update system.


“There is a choice for people who are conscious about it - they can download and install them. But there is still one dominant browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and most people don't care or don't know how to get other browsers. There is still room for more competition. Why does Internet Explorer have so many users when in the past it has been such a terrible browser?”


Chris Wilson, platform architect of the Internet Explorer platform team, said adding other browsers to the automatic updates could confuse users. He told BBC News: “It could be jarring [for users]. The move from one browser to another is a bigger leap because they have different user interfaces, different tenets and different missions.”