EU asks Microsoft to include alternative browsers in Windows?

By Justin Mann on January 26, 2009, 3:51 PM
In all the dealings the EU has had with Microsoft over antitrust issues in the past, the result was usually the same. The EU would demand the software giant to remove a particular component from Windows, Microsoft would claim it is impossible and the legal battle then begins. Could the EU be trying a different approach in the near future? It seems that in the newest set of demands the EU is making, they will require Windows to be shipped with third-party browsers installed.

What browsers would that include and how would Microsoft work with those behind them to make this possible? These are some possible concerns, but there are other less obvious issues, such as technical hurdles that warrant investigation. Apparently, part of the EU’s demands may require that certain components of IE be disabled if someone should choose a third party browser. It's likely that they mean some of the IE integration, such as it being the preferred application for certain types of content regardless of what browsers are installed.

It is Microsoft, not the EU, who is releasing this information, which makes you wonder what their angle is. Is the company trying to get public support for “IE preservation” in Windows?




User Comments: 13

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tengeta said:
Microsoft should just pull all of their products out of Europe, done deal. They lose all their European profit with these ridiculous trials anyways.
poundsmack said:
it would be an interesting stand point. MS could say, "ok enough is enough" and then no longer market windows to Euopean markets governed by the EU. then, with windows no longer being an option for computers sold there, i think the EU would come back to MS, tail between its legs, and say their sorry. but its getting rediculous, no one is forcing users to use IE. I use opera, but that doesnt mean i want IE disabled or not installed. Hell, i don't even want opera installed for me, I want to do it myself. The EU just needs to sit back and shut up, go bug Cisco or someone else who has a clear monopoly, there is plenty of competition in the broswser work in windows, we don't need your "help"
Jibberish18 said:
Yeah for sure, it gives Internet Explorer an advantage as it is packaged with the most popular Operating System in the world, so of course, most people will just stick to Internet Explorer and stick with it. But users are becoming more aware of other options out there, including Firefox first and foremost. I hope they're doing the same thing to Apple and it's Safari browser.
poundsmack said:
[b]Originally posted by Jibberish18:[/b][quote]I hope they're doing the same thing to Apple and it's Safari browser. [/quote]No! this is the kind of thinking that needs to stop! companies souldn't be forced to provide an alternative to their own software just because users might not know that their are other options with makes for an "unfair advantage." This practice only enchourages users to continue to be lazy and uneducated. what should happen is have information proveded to the user to let them know there are infact alterntives and if they want they can look into and learn about it. Now I understand compnaies getting upset that IE is bundled with windows, but the fact of the matter is it's all about how you market your product. if you want it included, start making deals with OEM's. Who else got a computer 6 years ago that came with Netscape as well as IE (raises hand) anyone else? (lots of hands go up). so you see, the government should not be fighting the battles that the corporations should be fighting. and it certainly shouldnt force a company to leave out or make offer an alternative due to "users being unaware of alternatives." If i buy a car (and i did just get a new Nissan Altima coupe) it is my job as the one purchasing the car to research it before buying it and compair it to others in its market sector. it would be like having the goverment make the Nissan dealership also have honda accords on the lot. "The statement of objections seeks to impose a remedy that is different than the remedy imposed in the earlier proceeding concerning Windows Media Player. While computer users and OEMs are already free to run any Web browsing software on Windows, the Commission is considering ordering Microsoft and OEMs to obligate users to choose a particular browser when setting up a new PC"(found here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3374 )this is only going ot cause more problems and bloat. If the EOM's have comprehensive education about hte browser selection then thats good. any the problem with this is that you can't just copy the company that makes the broswer's info about it, as in most cases it is clearly bias information or propaganda. every company that makes a browser will give its strong ponts and claim superiority (hint: most already do). so then you need unbias comparisons and data. and who will have to pay for these comparisons and research? will the EU make Microsoft? or make the OEM's? ...ug, the sad part is that with all of these agencies willing to fight peoples or companies batles for them, it just encourages a culture of lazyness that in turn breeds stupidity...(to frustereated to spell check, sound it out)[Edited by poundsmack on 2009-01-26 17:04:21]
old101 said:
This is just another example of EU's anti-competitive, trade protectionist policies, and their attempt to micro-manage everything. Example: their Constitution, which fortunately was not accepted, was over 500 pages, I believe. It was like a Corporate Manual dictating correct procedures for every activity.tengeta/poundsmackYour idea is not that crazy!. A few years ago the City of Munich decided to abandon Windows and go to Linux. I believe the program failed because City employees were buying their own Windows so they could do the work.
gars said:
o/ its so ridiculesi made a product and sell it, someone comes to me and tell me that i should cut a piece and replace it with something else that's not mine.just one word - gfysyou just don't need itremember the old phrase what is linux like?it's like wigwam - no windows, no gates, apache inside.Welcome to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apache_Wickiup,_Edwar
_Curtis,_1903.jpg]EU[/url]
DarkCobra said:
I agree. The Windows OS is a "package system". It's pretty much all you need to get started. You have the option to swap out whatever components you want from it which is what we all do with little trouble. But the one thing you don't get to do is tell them they have to sell it to you on an piece-by-piece basis. If Europe doesn't want the "package system" or they're too stupid/lazy to swap out what they don't want then MS should stop marketing to them altogether.If you buy a GM car you're going to get the brand of radio and tires that they contract with and provide. You can either buy it and swap them out yourself or simply don't buy a GM car. But you don't get to tell GM they can't sell the car because you don't like the radio they gave ya!
Jibberish18 said:
[quote]No! this is the kind of thinking that needs to stop! companies souldn't be forced to provide an alternative to their own software just because users might not know that their are other options with makes for an "unfair advantage." This practice only enchourages users to continue to be lazy and uneducated.[/quote]I meant that I hope they're also looking at Apple and not just Microsoft as Microsoft isn't the only company that bundles it's own browser. Besides that, Microsoft actually seems to leave a lot of things out of their operating system so that Third Parties can make the software for it and sell it. It's only lately that they've started providing things here and there to use.[Edited by Jibberish18 on 2009-01-27 03:46:07]
DarkCobra said:
I hear ya Jibberish18. Actually, you and Poundsmack are both right and so are all the above responses to this nonsense. Poundsmarks point that this should NOT be happening to any company is correct. Your addition that "IF" the EU is going to do this to Microsoft they had darn well better do it to Apple to because they include the Safari Browser as well. Both points are valid.
poundsmack said:
[/quote]I meant that I hope they're also looking at Apple and not just Microsoft as Microsoft isn't the only company that bundles it's own browser. Besides that, Microsoft actually seems to leave a lot of things out of their operating system so that Third Parties can make the software for it and sell it. It's only lately that they've started providing things here and there to use.[/quote]yes I agree. I missunderstood for a second there. Glad to see that the vast majority of people are on teh same page on this.
anguis said:
The reason why they aren't complaining about Apple is because Mac OS X does not integrate Safari into the OS. It's a completely separate package. IE is integrated into Windows. You can get rid of Safari and never need it again if you want, but as for IE, certain things default to IE no matter what browser you have set to default.Though, again, I agree with the preceding posters. The EU needs to stop badgering companies for releasing their own software with their own software packaged with it. If I would make an OS and make my own web browser to package with it, I damn well will, and no one should be able to force me to do otherwise.
nazartp said:
[b]Originally posted by anguis:[/b][quote]The reason why they aren't complaining about Apple is because Mac OS X does not integrate Safari into the OS. It's a completely separate package. IE is integrated into Windows. You can get rid of Safari and never need it again if you want, but as for IE, certain things default to IE no matter what browser you have set to default.[/quote]The only reason they are not bugging Apple is because their market share is so small, especially in Europe, the government doesn't care.I don't know European laws, but in the US to end up under the anti-trust litigation the company needs to have market share significant enough to be able to influence the prices in the market place. Apple is nowhere near that market share. The moment they become significant enough they will get sued. Same as with viruses written for their OS - the moment hacking into Macs becomes profitable, the system will be hit. It's all the numbers game.
DarkCobra said:
Anguis is correct! I've also noticed that for a few things I.E. opens and not my default browser Firefox. I think his explanation that I.E. is built into the OS is the reason. While pretty much avoidable most of the time it is not completely eliminated. I don't know if there are any registry hacks to make it so . . . could be, but probably too much of a pain to bother. Excellent point.
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