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Microsoft folds, offers rival browsers with Windows 7

By Matthew ยท 62 replies
Jul 24, 2009
  1. JDoors

    JDoors TS Rookie Posts: 62

    @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).
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    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.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    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.
  4. @ 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.
  5. This is basically a rewording of my last post. So I can assume you're conceding, whether you realise it or not.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

    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)
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    I didn't realize this had turned into a discussion about who has a larger e-peen.
  8. 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 *****s 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.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

    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.
  10. @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.
  11. @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?
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

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

    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!.
  13. bjlauritz

    bjlauritz TS Rookie

    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?
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

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

    DarkCobra TS Rookie Posts: 79

    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.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

    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".
  17. Stonos

    Stonos TS Rookie Posts: 29

    Actually, they have already done this in the past with "Windows XP N edition" : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/886540 :p
  18. 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.
  19. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    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.
  20. @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.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,300

    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").
  22. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,171   +203

    Sheesh.. i live in the EU. What the hell are we playing at??? Not all of us are clowns..
  23. 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.
  24. (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".
  25. 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.
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