Microsoft folds, offers rival browsers with Windows 7

By on July 24, 2009, 2:15 PM
It would seem that Microsoft has conceded to the requests of European regulators after facing antitrust accusations. On January 15, the European Commission charged the software giant with seeking to hinder rivals by coupling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system. With Microsoft’s OS being used on a vast majority of the world’s PCs, the company was accused of harming innovation and limiting consumer choice.

Redmond considered stripping IE from the European version of their latest operating system, Windows 7, but has since scratched that plan. Instead, the company has proposed a consumer “ballot screen” on the system’s first boot up, permitting users to choose between several third party browsers. Windows 7 will still ship with IE, but users will have the option to disable it. PC makers will also be permitted to pre-load any desired browser onto their systems.

I’m not entirely sure how Microsoft can even be pinned for abusing their market dominance by excluding competitor’s software from their own operating system. In my mind, it’s equivalent to a local diner forcing McDonalds to carry the diner’s homemade fries. Where is the line drawn?




User Comments: 62

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windmill007 said:

I think this is a fair choice. Windows is just an OS. i think choices will only benefit consumers. Since apparently Internet Browsers make the companies money. Microsoft shouldn't be able to give it away free without offering a choice. Kinda like IE8 which has express setup..Which of course choices Bing. They make money off that so they should give you a choice there also. They know most people will choice express.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

How the EU has been jerking MS around with a choke-collar for literally decades now has reached the asinine level. I'd say they had a legitimate gripe at one time when MS was clearly engaging in monopolistic practices. But in the last few years, it seems like the EU is poking MS (normally for cash) "just because."

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was just thinking... How will the EU handle Chrome OS, in which the browser IS the operating system? Seems like they would have some serious issues with Chrome, considering how much of a stink they make about what is essentially a standard sub-component of Windows.

poundsmack said:

This is a sad day indeed, and I will eplain why. I don't personally mind IE8, but it isn't my default broswer. I don't need, nor want, Windows to show me other browsers it shouldn't have to. Also, there are many many alternative broswers that work for teh windows platform, will the EU dictate who's will be included? how will they make sure it's "fair"? by putting Mozilla, Chrome, and the bigger "alternative" browsers in, isn't that overshadowing the more alternative ones? etc...

The fact is, this isn't the old days of netscape vs. IE, then this might have made sense but now? The EU should have better things to do with it's time than this, I can think of plenty of other companies with more problematic company practices to go after, i won't name names, but i am sure we can each think of at least 1 or 2 companies who have more questionable business practices than including their browser with their OS... good grief.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Choices benefit users until you have to randomize a list of 30 Internet browsers for users to choose the first time they boot into Windows, and a list of 30 AV products... and a list of 20 firewall products... and a list of 50 media players... and a list of notepad replacements... etc. etc etc..

If everyone and everything needs to play by the same rules, it will become ridiculous, although the notion is of being *more* fair is well appreciated.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is a bit ridiculously and I'd have to agree with you guys. It's one thing like Smack said if this was the 90's and Windows OS was coming to the masses bundled with IE. But in todays world the masses should know what a web browser is and have an understanding that they have choices. Not having IE forced upon you is great in my book. But forcing Microsoft to give you its competitors as alternatives to its own software? Where is this going to stop then like Rick said? Is Microsoft going to have to bundle alternative everything? I hardly use anything defaulted from Microsoft and educated myself on what's best for what I do. Its one thing if Microsoft was forcing everyone to jump through hoops to use alternatives but they're not. If consumers are to stupid to research and find alternatives its there fault and not Microsofts. There are plenty of real monopolistic threats out there against consumers forcing us to jump through hoops. And this is not one of them...

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is simply retarded. I don't understand how Microsoft packaging windows 7 with IE8 is an antitrust violation at all. It isn't like the browsers aren't free and readily available for download to begin with. The EU's request is absurd and microsoft should have told them to piss off. I'm disappointed in Microsoft for folding.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This is simply retarded. I don't understand how Microsoft packaging windows 7 with IE8 is an antitrust violation at all. It isn't like the browsers aren't free and readily available for download to begin with. The EU's request is absurd and microsoft should have told them to piss off. I'm disappointed in Microsoft for folding.
M$s lawyers attempted to do just that! Trouble is, (I think), that there's just so many billable hours in a legal day.

As to download-able free web browsers, I know that, you know that, as does everybody else here at Techspot. But, not everybody does know that! (Presumably because they don't visit Techspot! Alright, here I might be exaggerating a bit. Or at least somewere between a bit and a smidge )

poundsmack said:

There is a simple solution to all this.

The EU: inclose other browsers or else!

Microsoft: Ok, we have had enough. If you don't stop your whining we are just going to rerelease Windows ME as the only "upgrade" option for all EU participating countries.

The EU: ...we ....we're sorry.

tengeta tengeta said:

This isn't the answer for the computer illiterate.

If they select Opera or Firefox, they won't even know who made it or who is involved, they will think Microsoft made all the browsers due to this, but hey, that only gives Microsoft MORE CREDIT.

I just didn't get it from the beginning, and I really thought they were going to realize how dumb it was... I can't wait for endless windows and choices of programs I may never even care to use, just because those programs are failing in sales and have been forced into my new OS installation. Not to mention a longer installation time, and the fact your system will have to make itself vulnerable on the internet just to download a damned browser before you may even set up your security programs.

6 years down the road...

Windows 8: "What TV watching do program you want?"

Me: "None, thanks."

Windows 8: "Sorry, your government has decided that you pick from this screen of 6 programs that do it, and you must choose one before using Apple's Windows 8, as an overall alternative, you can just delete me and install a different operating system too!"

Me: "Apple owns Windows now? Screw this, I'm gonna use ChromeOS after all"

Windows 8: "First off, The Government gave Windows to Apple as an award for being behind in competition, just to be fair they gave Microsoft control over the iPod market. Second..."

...

Me: Yeah, what?

...

Windows 8: *Sad Apple Bluescreen*

Guest said:

None of you understand anything about this subject at all, do you? The EU never dictated Microsoft had to remove IE from Windows 7, or that they had to include alternative browsers. The EU simply stated:

"The evidence gathered during the investigation leads the Commission to believe that the tying of Internet Explorer with Windows, which makes Internet Explorer available on 90% of the world's PCs, distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match. The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain. In addition, the Commission is concerned that the ubiquity of Internet Explorer creates artificial incentives for content providers and software developers to design websites or software primarily for Internet Explorer which ultimately risks undermining competition and innovation in the provision of services to consumers."

The EU's original statement was entirely correct and proper, as evidenced by the fact IE is still the most widely used browser, stil lags behind other browsers in terms of W3C compliance, and that web developers often still code sites with IE specifically in mind - which is a serious problem, as it means these sites (often non-trivial ones such as online banking portals) can be inaccessible in other operating systems.

And Microsoft obviously can't afford to bully the EU into letting them off the hook as some posters have suggested. The EU is the world's biggest economy (yes, bigger than the United States) and if Microsoft want to do business within the EU (which they do) they have to play by the EU's rules. Some European governments are already switching departments over to FOSS software like Linux and OpenOffice.org rather than Microsoft products, which is no doubt harmful enough for Microsoft enough as it is, without aggravating the EU with bully tactics or threats.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The only one here not getting it is you dear Guest. As everything you stated has been addressed. As originally brought up by smack the EU is almost 15 years to late. When it was a serious threat and should have been dealt with then. But it was not, IE was distributed to the masses and became the norm and the majority of internet users are now familiar with the product and use it. Fortunately things have changed and more and more have educated themselves and moved on to browsers they appeal to most. Not having IE being forced onto you is enough for me and should be for anyone looking for fairness. If people are to lazy to get educated, don't blame Microsoft.

This verdict will also not change a thing and website developers will still code with IE in mind (Personally I keep IE/FF in mind). And this seems more of the EU trying to stick it to them more so then actually caring for consumers/competitions interest imo. And educating the masses would be far more productive.

I'm happy for the EU switching to Linux and OO, still doesn't change the fact that they overstretched in this case more so to make a point which might come back and bite them in the ass time will tell.

Miyasashi said:

The makers of Opera couldn't care less if Firefox / Google Chrome or whatsoever is not in the list of choices so it wouldn't surprise me if they keep on complaining even if they are on that list, they would come up with something like "We're not the first choice" God bless alphabetical order.

I don't mind having the choice or not while installing, it's not that bad having the choice at all but to me unnecessary because I oftenly see Opera in browser-tests on the internet or in magazines and sometimes they're #1 in those tests so they're being advertised well enough to me.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

I believe Microsoft will regret this decision. The EU will probably start asking them to bundle other alternatives next, as someone already stated.

@Guest, I find it hard to believe that there will be a large number of users who don't know about alternative browsers.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I wonder will google be forced to give users of it's new OS a choice of browser other than its own chrome browser?

Well, if anyone thought that WGA was an invasion of privacy, they will probably be astounded how intrusively an OS by Google minds your business. They already install "Google Update" directly into Windows "prefetch".

The above quote begs a comma after, "I wonder". "Google" is a proper noun, (tentatively), and deserves to be capitalized.

Guest said:

Personally I have never liked IE. I think Opera sucks too. Just another IE with a different name. Linux and OO suck in the fact that I am not financially set up to purchase any extra programs and my linux computer came with the bare minimum, the OS and that was it. I run a home business so I had to put Windows on it so I could use it the way I need to. I am most satisfied with FF.

So sorry, but I think some people need to grow up and, instead of blaming someone for their lack of advertising skills, hone them!

Guest said:

Relic, Rage... you're living in a bubble if you think times have changed and most users are aware other browsers than IE even exist. This is due to IE being bundled with windows and the default browser, which is what the EU is investigating. The EU didn't make any conclusive claims yet, and the actions taking place are solely the decisions of Microsoft, not the EU - which almost everyone seems to astonishingly ignorant of.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

you're living in a bubble if you think times have changed and most users are aware other browsers than IE even exist

The vast majority of people who use computers today know this IMO. Maybe it's different for where you live, but everyone I've met so far knows exactly what Firefox is.

NunjaBusiness said:

My clients don't really know the difference between IE and FF:

Me: "Open your browser and go to www.my sitename.com and click on downloads."

Client: "OK"

Me: "Alright, click on the download link, what browser do you use?"

Client: "Uhh, Mozilla Explorer?"

Me: "OK, when you click the link, does it insist on saving it?"

Client: "Yes!"

Me: "OK, that is Mozilla FireFox, do you have any idea where it saves the files you download?"

Client: "My hard drive?"

Me: (Sigh!)

JDoors JDoors said:

I understand why MS had to back off the "No Browser Included" threat -- That wouldn't exactly be a selling point for a new OS. Choosing or being forced to include your competitor's products with yours is moronic, but given the state of the EU appears to be the logical compromise. So what NEW surpises will the EU have for Microsoft? Any guesses?

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

If you have the knowlege to install windows or buy a pc you should have the common sense to know that the company that created the os will also include their browser. I dont use IE at all, but this is pretty rediculous to tell the company that provides the os that they cant include their browser. Just download a new one, geeze, it takes 2 minutes.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

Gotta agree with pretty much everyone else. This is absurd! MS should never have given in to the Europeans like this and they will quickly find themselves on a very slippery slope because the EU will continue to whine about even more now just as they've been doing!

I loved the prior suggestion about giving them Windows "ME" and being done with them! LOL

However, seriously though . . . If I buy a Toyota vehicle can I now demand a choice of other manufacturers engines, transmissions, tires, radios? Where does this madness end? I'm not sure myself but I'm pretty sure MS is going to seriously regret caving into this childish and ridiculous demand of the Europeans. The rest of us have had no real problems in swapping out browsers. All MS needs to do is stop making IE the default browser for everything and allow let's say FF or Chrome to take over 100% of the browser duties.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Conundrum.............

OK, here's the thing.Your brand new computer finally arrives, and you're ready to do some serious surfin' on the interweb. Whoops, there's no web browser, bummer. So, you decide to download one, but how? Thirty days pass while you're trying to figure it out. On the thirty first day XP craps out, since you forgot to activate it. Well there was the thing about the no browser, that put a damper on the festivities.

Anyway, the EU is starting to remind me of the US government with respect to the tobacco industry! Oddly, the people were the ones smokin' and dyin', yet the government kept the billions of dollars in fines, claiming they were entitled to the money.

We sued them for you, so we get the money, now shut up.

Now, what's the likely hood that the EU will return any of their fine moneys back to where it belongs, like maybe the people that were injured by the monopoly?

Guest said:

The vast majority of people who use computers today know this IMO. Maybe it's different for where you live, but everyone I've met so far knows exactly what Firefox is.

Yes, same for me personally, but people you know doesn't equate to all computer users. A large bulk of people I know consist of twenty-something computer literate people, that's an incredibly biased sample. I'm assuming this is probably the same in your case also. Does your grandmother know the different between IE and Firefox and Chrome and Safari and Opera, etc. etc.? And if she doe was this something she knew independently, or was it because you - a computer literate person - informed her of different browsers available?

Statistically the vast majority of people still use IE and aren't aware of, let alone tried alternative browsers. The bulk PC users simply buy a PC with an OS and bundled (** the OEM, which is different from Microsoft bundling IE ** default) software (Antivirus, MS Office, Photoshop Elements, etc.) and never install anything else - other than maybe a Sims game or a select piece of software from a retail store they need - until it's time to buy a new PC again.

JDoors JDoors said:

@Guest: "Does your grandmother know the different between IE and Firefox and Chrome and Safari and Opera, etc. etc.?"

She'll be forced to choose a browser WITHOUT that knowledge if she's in the EU, and if her experience with that choice is unsatisfactory (let's say she was used to IE and chooses another browser, out of confusion or on a lark or for whatever reason, she'll be all like, "WTF is this?" , well, guess who gets the blame? Microsoft! She is not likely to understand why the browser MS allowed her to install has NOTHING to do with with the product she paid for, Windows, but was forced upon her by the EU (please don't get all indignant and technical and "explain" how the EU did not force this particular "solution" upon their citizens, this is ENTIRELY a response to pressure from the EU -- No one else, anywhere, has to deal with this).

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

"Does your grandmother know the different between IE and Firefox and Chrome and Safari and Opera, etc. etc.?"

That's assuming she actually uses a PC.

And people usually know because others told them about the risks\benefits associated with a specific browser; how many people today actually research this kinda stuff? I could probably count the ones that I know who do that on my fingers.

IMO, people just don't care about educating themselves about these things anymore; the mindless consumer is the order of the day, with much encouragement from certain corporations.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

They already install "Google Update" directly into Windows "prefetch".

I'm not sure I follow you: The Windows "prefetch" folder is pretty much a temp folder.

Prefetch files are basically memory indexes of the program they pertain to, which speeds up application launches. Even command line tools like netstat will have a prefetch file after you use them, so it is no surprise Google has entries there as well.

I don't know about Vista or 7, but XP also limits the prefetch folder to about 128 entries. Eventually -- providing your don't use the Google Updater -- the GU prefetcher will disappear anyway.

Google Udpater's biggest crime is adding itself to your msconfig startup, but I can't imagine anything in the prefetch folder being a concern.

Guest said:

@ JDoors

It's not technical or indignant, it's the actual facts of the matter. This is Microsoft's decision, not the EU's. If you want to play cause and effect, then this eventually stretches back to the fact that Microsoft have abused the position since day one, and are prone to more government scrutiny (worldwide) than their competitors as a result.

And if you read the article properly, OEMs have the ability to preinstall a browser, it's highly likely they'll do this since they preinstall dozens of other applications usually anyway. The only way the situation you describe will occur is if your grandmother is installing a retail copy of Windows on a machine, in which case I'd assume she's knowledgable and/or confident enough not to out of her depth choosing between IE and Firefox.

Guest said:

That's assuming she actually uses a PC.

And people usually know because others told them about the risks\benefits associated with a specific browser; how many people today actually research this kinda stuff? I could probably count the ones that I know who do that on my fingers.

IMO, people just don't care about educating themselves about these things anymore; the mindless consumer is the order of the day, with much encouragement from certain corporations.

This is basically a rewording of my last post. So I can assume you're conceding, whether you realise it or not.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'm not sure I follow you: The Windows "prefetch" folder is pretty much a temp folder.

Prefetch files are basically memory indexes of the program they pertain to, which speeds up application launches. Even command line tools like netstat will have a prefetch file after you use them, so it is no surprise Google has entries there as well.

I don't know about Vista or 7, but XP also limits the prefetch folder to about 128 entries. Eventually -- providing your don't use the Google Updater -- the GU prefetcher will disappear anyway.

Google Udpater's biggest crime is adding itself to your msconfig startup, but I can't imagine anything in the prefetch folder being a concern.

OK, this is an amateur's assessment of the issue. Sadly, "eventually" didn't happen soon enough. I pulled the "exey" file from c/programs and also the corresponding "prefetch" files.

I use Spybot SD16's startup manager, and as I recall, "Google Update" didn't appear there, but ran anyway. It doesn't run now. Perhaps as you suggest, there is a negative correlation between my actions and my results, but Google Update is no longer annoying me. As I said earlier, (but perhaps it was in other places), I also use "No Script in FF, in an attempt to prevent "Google Analytics" from minding my business as well. (via Java)

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

This is basically a rewording of my last post. So I can assume you're conceding, whether you realise it or not.

I didn't realize this had turned into a discussion about who has a larger e-peen.

Guest said:

I think people here are a bit to sceptical.

Everybody seems to agree that it's good that IE is the only browser comming with it, which is great. And true.

And while this situation might not be perfect, what other alternatives is there?

I'm just hoping that on the selection screen, you will get an unbiased description of all the browsers, as well as some help for those being complete ****** at computers. (One of those, this one is the best for shopping, this one for speed, and so on)

This is actually nothing but great.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

And while this situation might not be perfect, what other alternatives is there?

I'm just hoping that on the selection screen, you will get an unbiased description of all the browsers, as well as some help for those being complete ****** at computers. (One of those, this one is the best for shopping, this one for speed, and so on)

Don't you think that what you're suggesting is really over the top? Does anybody read license agreements? Do you think anybody would read a comprehensive browser review as part of an install sequence?

Selection screen, " Would you like to install Internet Explorer now"?

Please be advised there are other web browsers available that may be used alone or in addition to Interner Explorer.

Click "install" to put IE onto your computer.

Guest said:

@rage, Neither did I, my point was I failed to see why you were seemingly disputing my argument, whilst saying the exact same thing I just did.

@guest, The Reg went into a lot more detail on what exactly this is going to entail. Microsoft's proposal is for a ballot screen with options of the five browers with greatest market share over the past six months, the download will come directly from the browser's own servers. Microsoft will also open up the API's that integrate IE with the OS, so competitor products can have a level playing field as far as integration is concerned.

The change that I reckon will have the most impact is allowing OEMs to choose to bundle PCs with non-Microsoft browsers without retaliation from Microsoft, you could argue that OEMs have always had the ability to do this, but Microsoft has a long history of bully tactics when partners engage in that sort of behavior. The statement on this is that they wont revoke OEM licenses with written notice, which still seems to leave them some wriggle room for old monopolistic/potentially illegal tactics, but who knows how it will turn out.

Guest said:

@captaincranky

How about "Please select the browser you would like to install"

"Microsoft Internet Explorer 8" "Mozilla Firefox 3.5" "Opera 9.64" etc.

With the browser icon next to each option?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It is Said, "That Behind Every Great Fortune, There's a great Crime"....!

The change that I reckon will have the most impact is allowing OEMs to choose to bundle PCs with non-Microsoft browsers without retaliation from Microsoft, you could argue that OEMs have always had the ability to do this, but Microsoft has a long history of bully tactics when partners engage in that sort of behavior. The statement on this is that they wont revoke OEM licenses with written notice, which still seems to leave them some wriggle room for old monopolistic/potentially illegal tactics, but who knows how it will turn out.

This is almost the only thing that has been said until now in this thread. Sort of, anyway.

I think a web browser should be part of an OS, it's the application that is the most indispensable. IMO, most people buy computers with the internet being foremost on their minds. So, to remove a browser, or to make it optional cripples the machine, and greatly curtails it's usefulness.

Even Linux distros could come under fire, should the prevailing opinion be implemented. Bluntly, if you install a linux distro. it installs Firefox, period. It doesn't talk to you, it doesn't hold your hand, it doesn't describe other browser options, it doesn't debate features, it just installs it.

Now, here's my question, isn't that sort of the same thing? I think the only reason that the EU doesn't sue Mozilla, is because they know there's no money in it.

And as I said, the poor, poor, unjustly exploited consumers won't see one damn dime of any decision handed against M$!

The EU is probably as corrupt as any other organization. All they need to do is find a friendly judge, (or panel of judges, as it were), and they'll come down with any verdict the EU desires.

As to your "monopolistic/potentially illegal tactics"observation, well, we both know that's harder to get rid of than crab lice and Kudzo combined. In my generation we had the "payola" scandal. Do you think that that's stopped? The fed just locked up half the politicians in New Jersey! Do you think the New Jersey government is clean now? Do you think backroom deals in major corporations will ever stop? My guess is a resounding, EN OH!.

bjlauritz said:

It seems to me that if MS is required to bundle it's competitor's software with it's own, if only to provide a choice, A: Either the owner of the copyright may be able to charge MS a license fee, or, B: MS should be able to charge them an advertising or marketing fee.

Either scenario would be ridiculous, but then again, who knows?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It seems to me that if MS is required to bundle it's competitor's software with it's own, if only to provide a choice, A: Either the owner of the copyright may be able to charge MS a license fee, or, B: MS should be able to charge them an advertising or marketing fee.

Either scenario would be ridiculous, but then again, who knows?

In a perfect world, the charges would offset.......

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

This is indeed turning into a mess. The EU may yet regret setting all this in motion. If MS is required to package everybody else's browser then who supports them when they break? FF for instance is open source code. Does MS field problems with it when it malfunctions now or does Mozilla retain it? Will any and all new browsers demand equal inclusion in the packaging? Should MS now have to package all other competing media players? If not, why not as the principle is the same. The EU will next claim they're being forced to use Windows Media Player and demand a choice of all the others!

I'll say it again, if I buy a Toyota vehicle can I now demand another manufacturers engine, transmission, radio? What a slippery slope we will soon be on if this kind of convoluted logic continues. MS should NEVER have caved into this demand and they'll quickly regret it. There were better ways to do this and some have been mentioned here.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The EU smells fine money from M$. This whole issue is a big steaming pile of crap, wrapped in really ugly wrapping paper called "legal documents".

Stonos said:

DarkCobra said:

The EU will next claim they're being forced to use Windows Media Player and demand a choice of all the others!

Actually, they have already done this in the past with "Windows XP N edition" : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/886540 :P

Guest said:

What is this site, going by the comments a microsoft susiduary? Wake up yanks and smell the roses like the rest of the world can. The USA introduced the world to the power of litigation, as the litigation capital of the world. There have been your own States that have taken MS to court over its practices. Were they after dollars too? I'm no techie I prefer to use Firefox not just because I hate having to be dictated to by a company supposedly producing a World Wide standard OS, how can one delete an extraneous web browser like Internet explorer form the OS. And also there are to many people, just in the USA, actively proving that MS produces bloatware that is vulnerable and never a properly finished product. I'd say I've never been entirely happy with MS since DOS 3.1, probably one of MS's last honest not overly buggy efforts.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Personally, I would like to see how MS handles this whole situation, considering that in Vista and XP they have forced IE8 on everyone who doesn't micromanage their updates, by bundling it in the high priority updates. Aren't those same people, who would normally just trust MS and use the "express" option for updating, the same crowd who would not necessarily know about the different browser options, or even what it all means?

Seems like they would have to do a little updating revision, unless it's all part of the plan, and giving the option to opt out of IE in the beginning is just the smokescreen, so they can backdoor it later.

Guest said:

@captaincranky

No PC manufacturer in their right mind is going to sell a computer without a web browser included.

The Firefox/Mozilla comparasion is flawed for various reasons:

1) Linux distros for some part aren't commercial products in the same way Windows is. Canonical ltd. could fall under scrutiny from the EU regulations,as it's a commercial company, the Debian Project cannot because it's a non-profit volunteer organisation.

2) Similarily, the Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organisation and therefore cannot possibly be bound for the same regulations Microsoft is being hampered with, under current EU law.

3) There is no single "Linux" as there is with Windows to find fault with. You can't apply the collective issues with all Linux distributions as being a single issue, you'd need to find a particular instance of abuse with one private company, not Linux as a whole.

4) Your statement isn't entirely correct anyway, most KDE distros come with Konqueror rather than Firefox.

5) The Linux distributions and Firefox are from different organisations, even supposing nonprofit companies were bound by the same rules as commercial entitites like Microsoft, there can't be any case of wrongdoing here by either party unless there was deliberate collusion between the two entities to stifle competition. This doesn't appear to be the case; makers of Linux distros choose Firefox for whatever reason (because it's popular, mature, etc.) and Mozilla simply produce a browser, and have no say on what OS it's installed on by default.

6) Microsoft came under scrutiny for abusing their monopoly, Linux can hardly be charged with the same with such a negligible marketshare.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

What is this site, going by the comments a microsoft susiduary? Wake up yanks and smell the roses like the rest of the world can. The USA introduced the world to the power of litigation, as the litigation capital of the world. There have been your own States that have taken MS to court over its practices. Were they after dollars too? I'm no techie I prefer to use Firefox not just because I hate having to be dictated to by a company supposedly producing a World Wide standard OS, how can one delete an extraneous web browser like Internet explorer form the OS. And also there are to many people, just in the USA, actively proving that MS produces bloatware that is vulnerable and never a properly finished product. I'd say I've never been entirely happy with MS since DOS 3.1, probably one of MS's last honest not overly buggy efforts.

I think you've completely missed the point to one degree or another. <(What's wrong with that statement)?

I've already conceded to, and it's well known that, the US is the most litigious society on the planet, bar none! The Windows APIs certainly permit the installation of alternative browser. M$ publishes the criterion for utilizing those same APIs. Therefore at a certain point, it proves that the average user who can't take the time to learn of alternatives to IE, or is too stupid to do so, maybe too big a ***** to to own a computer in the first place.

Yes, M$ is a huge, malevolent monopoly, that's been well conceded. For that matter, so are many, (arguably all), governments! If the concept that M$ includes a web browser with it's OS is actionable cause for anti-trust litigation, then the EU's Attorney's General need to go back to law school, because this BS seems like they're trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

I think my point still holds, the "injured parties", (the customers who are too stupid to change browsers), will never see one thin Euro! Because any fines that the EU collects, will go into the state coffers, as well as probably many politicians pockets.

So, where's the consumer protection in all of this?

If anyone actually wanted to make an anti-trust case against M$, they'd sue every software manufacturer who doesn't co-publish their software for other prevalent operating systems. I think you could safely categorize this (non) practice as, "aiding and abetting the creation of a monopoly"!

Wouldn't it be nice to nice to have "Crysis" for Linux. (OK, here I'm not speaking for myself. I'd be really happy with "Photoshop" .

fimbles fimbles said:

Sheesh.. i live in the EU. What the hell are we playing at??? Not all of us are clowns..

Guest said:

I agree with you, but put forward that I think it's also that, more generally, the EU hates the US's being the "super power" (however silly that title is) and continues to want to take the US down, stomp on them, and become the new "super power". Couple this with how huge MS is, how predominantly important an OS is in order to make use of a computer, how they have to see "MS Windows" every time they start up their computer...

To us it's not a nationalistic thing, but to them it can be seen that way I suppose. I mean, how many OS manufacturers do they have that come even close? With 90% market share the answer of course is none.

They're going to field every possible excuse to slow down and reverse MS dominance. period. Ultimately it doesn't matter anyway, as all consumers become more tech savvy it just becomes a question of whether consumers choose to pay $150 - $200 (for the OS) plus hardware expenses every 4-6 years to upgrade their OS and how much effort is involved in the transition.

Over the next 20 years MS OS dominance will recede. How much is the only question.

Guest said:

I think you've completely missed the point to one degree or another. <(What's wrong with that statement)?

I've already conceded to, and it's well known that, the US is the most litigious society on the planet, bar none! The Windows APIs certainly permit the installation of alternative browser. M$ publishes the criterion for utilizing those same APIs. Therefore at a certain point, it proves that the average user who can't take the time to learn of alternatives to IE, or is too stupid to do so, maybe too big a ***** to to own a computer in the first place.

Yes, M$ is a huge, malevolent monopoly, that's been well conceded. For that matter, so are many, (arguably all), governments! If the concept that M$ includes a web browser with it's OS is actionable cause for anti-trust litigation, then the EU's Attorney's General need to go back to law school, because this BS seems like they're trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

I think my point still holds, the "injured parties", (the customers who are too stupid to change browsers), will never see one thin Euro! Because any fines that the EU collects, will go into the state coffers, as well as probably many politicians pockets.

So, where's the consumer protection in all of this?

If anyone actually wanted to make an anti-trust case against M$, they'd sue every software manufacturer who doesn't co-publish their software for other prevalent operating systems. I think you could safely categorize this (non) practice as, "aiding and abetting the creation of a monopoly"!

Wouldn't it be nice to nice to have "Crysis" for Linux. (OK, here I'm not speaking for myself. I'd be really happy with "Photoshop").

(this is just agreeing with you in the same vein and adding a side point..)

What else are they going to say is a monopoly? How about the multi-tasking systems in Windows? How about the command-line prompt? Gotta make it possible to use an OS Shell from Linux. Perhaps the PINE instead of Outlook! (unfair competition including Outlook Express!!) I suppose Wordpad is too much too!

What I'm getting at is this -- in the mid-to-late 90's.. the Internet was still getting going .. and OS's were still "evolving" .. as they continue to do today ... and now being able to access a web-page is a central part of using a computer. Therefore a web-browser is a central part of using a computing experience. If you purchase Linux your various distro will determine which browser you get (Konqueror or FF) .. if you purchase MS Windows, your choice of OS will determine which browser comes with the OS. Additionally, there is functionality built into IE that is interconnected with other software in the OS and even if you install a 3rd party browser, that browser does not interconnect with the OS in the same manner. So even if you do install the EU Windows 7 OS and choose FireFox over IE, you still have some of IE irrevocably imbedded into the system.

That's like selling a GM car that has OnStar built into it, and forcing the dealers to all have options upfront for 3rd party products that to install them would require removal of Onstar and the antenae and wiring in order to install the 3rd party product. Oh and it doesn't interface with GM's onboard computers very well because it's designed for GM, Ford, Mercedes, BMW, and everyone else as well.

IE is designed by it's manufacturer FOR Windows. It's the "onstar" of windows so to speak.

I know from running my little computer consultancy that the majority of users do NOT want options they just want it WORK. Options = confusion = time spent figuring it out = wasted time. They just want the same environment they've been familiar with since they started using their computer and if they learn something new they want it to be something NEW not just "yet another-another browser-browser".

Guest said:

Gotta agree with pretty much everyone else. This is absurd! MS should never have given in to the Europeans like this and they will quickly find themselves on a very slippery slope because the EU will continue to whine about even more now just as they've been doing!

I loved the prior suggestion about giving them Windows "ME" and being done with them! LOL

However, seriously though . . . If I buy a Toyota vehicle can I now demand a choice of other manufacturers engines, transmissions, tires, radios? Where does this madness end? I'm not sure myself but I'm pretty sure MS is going to seriously regret caving into this childish and ridiculous demand of the Europeans. The rest of us have had no real problems in swapping out browsers. All MS needs to do is stop making IE the default browser for everything and allow let's say FF or Chrome to take over 100% of the browser duties.

Windows ME for the win!

I think they just gave in because it would cost them more in sales to delay for 1 year while fighting them than it would to just do what they're asking.

Guest said:

"I agree with you, but put forward that I think it's also that, more generally, the EU hates the US's being the "super power" (however silly that title is) and continues to want to take the US down, stomp on them, and become the new "super power". Couple this with how huge MS is, how predominantly important an OS is in order to make use of a computer, how they have to see "MS Windows" every time they start up their computer..."

Sorry, but this is an utterly insane opinion. I don't even know where to start. Never mind the fact that the EU is already a larger economic block than North America, or that Microsoft has 16 European offices and around 16,000 European staff, or that the 18th century is over.

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