Microsoft folds, offers rival browsers with Windows 7

By Matthew · 62 replies
Jul 24, 2009
  1. 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.

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  2. windmill007

    windmill007 TS Rookie Posts: 308

    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.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,720   +860

    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."
  4. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    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.
  5. poundsmack

    poundsmack TS Rookie Posts: 74

    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.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    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.
  7. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    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...
  8. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    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.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    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 ) :rolleyes:
  10. poundsmack

    poundsmack TS Rookie Posts: 74

    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.
  11. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    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*
  12. 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 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.
  13. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    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 *** time will tell.
  14. Miyasashi

    Miyasashi TS Rookie

    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.
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    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.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    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.
  17. 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!
  18. 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.
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    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.
  20. NunjaBusiness

    NunjaBusiness TS Rookie Posts: 36

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

    Me: "Open your browser and go to 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!)
  21. JDoors

    JDoors TS Rookie Posts: 62

    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?
  22. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    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.
  23. DarkCobra

    DarkCobra TS Rookie Posts: 79

    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.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558


    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?
  25. 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.
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