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Opera: Microsoft's 'minor tweak' of Windows 7 not enough


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#1 Dead'Soul

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:01

Computerworld - Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker that sparked an antitrust investigation into Microsoft business practices in Europe, remains dissatisfied with its rival's move to dump IE8 from Windows 7.

Last week, Microsoft shared a bit of technical information about how it is stripping IE8 from Windows 7 to create the "E" editions for the European Union market.

"The only functional difference is that the Internet Explorer 8 component is not available," said Arik Cohen, a Microsoft program manager in a Q&A on the company's Windows blog. "This is the same component that your users can turn off in the 'Turn Windows features on and off' control panel in the Windows 7 RC build."

All other parts of IE will remain in the E editions, said Cohen, "since they are part of the Windows core."

The "Turn Windows features on and off" feature refers to the kill switch option Microsoft added to Windows 7 in March. Then, Microsoft managers confirmed that the new operating system would offer user settings for disabling, but not deleting, a host of bundled applications, including IE8. "If a feature is deselected, it is not available for use," said Jack Mayo, a program manager on the Windows team. "This means the files (binaries and data) are not loaded by the operating system and not available to users on the computer."

Files are not actually deleted from the PC, however, so users can later reactivate the disabled applications, said Mayo.

Flipping a switch to simply make IE8 unavailable is not enough for Opera, the browser builder that complained to EU regulators in late 2007. Its complaint led the government's antitrust agency to charge Microsoft in January with shielding IE from competition.

"Microsoft's minor technical tweak will not restore browser competition on the desktop," said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's chief technology officer, in an e-mail today.

Opera has previously expressed dissatisfaction with Microsoft's decision to dump IE8 from Windows 7. In June, when Microsoft announced the E editions, Lie was skeptical, even though it was unclear at the time exactly what part of the browser would be removed. "The rendering engine will remain," Lie argued then. "Who knows what Windows Update would do? You could wake up in the morning and see all of IE8 there again."

Microsoft may have felt forced to leave parts of IE within Windows, since some of the OS's functionality, particularly Windows Update, likely depends on those components.

A month ago, Microsoft acknowledged that its unilateral move might not satisfy critics, including EU officials. "Our decision to only offer IE separately from Windows 7 in Europe cannot, of course, preclude the possibility of alternative approaches emerging through Commission processes," Dave Heiner, Microsoft's deputy counsel, said on June 11.

While the EU has not yet ruled -- Microsoft dropped an oral hearing slated for early June because of scheduling conflicts -- but Lie said that as far as Opera is concerned, turning off IE but leaving bits and pieces in Windows 7 isn't enough. "At Opera, we'd like to give users access to more browsers, not fewer," he said.

Opera wants the EU to order Microsoft to insert a ballot screen into Windows; the screen would offer users several browser choices that would then either be activated -- if all were pre-installed on the machine -- or downloaded and installed.

Regulators also have hinted that the ballot screen is its preferred solution. "A potential remedy ... and which would not require Microsoft to provide Windows to end-users without a browser, would be to allow consumers to choose from different web browsers presented to them through a 'ballot screen' in Windows," the European Commission said in a June 12 statement.

Nor has Microsoft publicly disclosed what, if any, incentives it's held out to European computer makers to continue to install IE8 on new PCs. Last month, Mozilla said that that was critical to figuring out whether Windows 7E would level the playing field. "It's impossible to evaluate what [Microsoft's proposal] means unless and until Microsoft describes -- completely and with specificity -- all the incentives and disincentives applicable to Windows OEMs," said John Lilly, Mozilla's CEO. "Without this, it's impossible to tell if Microsoft is giving something with one hand and taking it away with the other."

Microsoft's Cohen also claimed that the "vast majority" of applications work on Windows 7 E, including programs that use Windows' embedded browser components, including Trident, IE's layout engine.

Original Article


#2 Neoauld

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:06

i really hope this doesnt happen
if windows is shipped with a third party browser, people will hold MS responsible for its failures
and opera has tons of rendering issues

and then everyone browser on the planets gonna want into that ballot screen, so theyd have to choose one of the significant browsers, IE chrome/opera/IE?

#3 trag3dy

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:18

It would be funny if Microsoft does as they request and puts a ballot screen for browser selection in the installation process but doesn't list Opera as a choice.

Anyways, Opera should make a product worth using and (more) people will use it. It's that simple. They don't need to get the EU to do their dirty work for them.

Edited by trag3dy, 18 July 2009 - 06:26.


#4 statm1

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:22

Of course your dissatisfied Opera, your little whining didn't work like you wanted it to. It is not the marketshare leaders job to promote competitors products. Period.

On a counter note, what happens to all the IE-based browsers out there that rely on having the trident engine on all Windows machines to even run correctly. Opera should not beable to dictate that a required component of its competitors operation just be deleted from the machine. I am sure the developers of Maxthon, Avant, TheWorld browser, Slimbrowser, and countless others would not be very happy.

#5 brentaal

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:22

"Microsoft's minor technical tweak will not restore browser competition on the desktop," said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's chief technology officer, in an e-mail today.

As if "restoring browser competition on the desktop" is what they want. :/

#6 statm1

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:26

Technically, browser competition has already been going for awhile. Firefox wouldn't keep gaining marketshare if it wasn't. Opera just hasn't been able to gain any traction.

#7 XPS

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:28

How about Opera stops bitching and actually makes a good product? that might help them more.

I have never SEEN Opera on a computer (other then Adobe including it in apps) and most people I know that bought cell phones that come with Opera Mobile have ripped it off of their phone.

Firefox has risen, Opera hasn't because it blows, not because of Microsoft.

#8 macrosslover

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:29

so how about a Ballot Screen with Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Safari & Chrome.....those are the major browsers aren't they??

#9 M_Lyons10

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:31

This is just ridiculous. Opera whines constantly. The only thing in their mind that would make things fair for them is to bundle Opera with Windows... ROFL Wasn't bundling a browser with Windows an issue not all that long ago? ;) The ballot screen is ridiculous in my opinion. How can the EU force Microsoft to bundle other companies software with Windows? They would be expected to provide some support for that.

Also, completely removing IE just isn't an option. There are applications that use bits of that. Should Microsoft break all of this compatibility even if IE doesn't appear as a browser when it's disabled? So stupid...

And Opera doesn't make a good browser. They can't compete. THAT is their issue, not that IE was bundled with Windows... They need to just go away IMO.

And for the record, I don't use IE, nor am I an IE fan...

#10 fhpuqrgrpgvirzhpujbj

fhpuqrgrpgvirzhpujbj

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:32

"Microsoft's minor technical tweak will not give Opera at least 97% of marketshare, and this is unacceptable." said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's chief technology officer, in an e-mail today.


fix'd

#11 M_Lyons10

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:32

How about Opera stops bitching and actually makes a good product? that might help them more.

I have never SEEN Opera on a computer (other then Adobe including it in apps) and most people I know that bought cell phones that come with Opera Mobile have ripped it off of their phone.

Firefox has risen, Opera hasn't because it blows, not because of Microsoft.


Exactly. + 100...

#12 -KJ

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:34

Opera does make a good browser, but they're whining like little beotches.

#13 M_Lyons10

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:36

so how about a Ballot Screen with Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Safari & Chrome.....those are the major browsers aren't they??


Sounds like a good idea to me. Microsoft can't offer ALL of the browsers to users in any event. I say they just offer the major market leaders. Opera hasn't broken 1% market share, have they?? Why should they even be offered?

Opera does make a good browser, but they're whining like little beotches.


Hm... I tried Opera and really didn't like it at all. Things were rendered weird, it was clunky... I just am not a fan at all.

+1 on their whining... LOL

#14 Deathray

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:37

I don't even see how Opera can bitch about this now

#15 zhangm

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:44

Opera can shut up and go to hell.

It would be funny if Microsoft does as they request and puts a ballot screen for browser selection in the installation process but doesn't list Opera as a choice.

It would be funny and sad when Opera continues to complain. The game being played here is that Opera wants free advertising. It looks like they won't stop whinging until they get it. Face it, they don't give a rat's *** about "fair competition" or "standards support". This is starting to remind me of the SCO. :rolleyes: