EU to investigate Windows RT for lack of browser options

Someone should probably let the EU know that Internet Explorer is no longer the force it used to be many, many years ago. Beyond investigating Microsoft's lack of browser ballot after an update was rolled out, the EU will also be looking into browser options for Windows RT tablets. 

The investigation will revolve around if Microsoft is or is not offering access to APIs required by browsers to operate and will also "focus on charges that Microsoft allows only its own Internet Explorer browser to be installed on devices running Windows 8 on Windows RT tablets with British chipmaker ARM's chips." according to Reuters

The investigation was raised after unnamed parties contacted the EU with their concern over how Microsoft is proceeding with Windows 8. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this will be another distraction for them which could result in massive fines if they are found to be blocking competitors from the market.

If Microsoft is forced to offer alternative browsers, specifically on the Surface RT, it would only seem fair that the EU go after Apple as well for limiting the functionality of other browsers on iOS. Yes, you can download other browsers on iOS, but try to make it your default application.

Microsoft is not in the same position it was several years ago when IE ruled the landscape and Windows was the only operating system in town receiving attention. With the growing popularity with Chrome and Firefox and Apple selling iOS and OS X devices by the boatload, Microsoft is having to find new ways to compete. 

Source: Reuters

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114 Comments

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These OS's aren't even out yet. Investigating anything is a waste of time. They should just remind Microsoft of its legal obligations and leave it at that. Until the OS is out for consumer use, nothing has been done wrong yet.

I've never understood all this at all..

If Microsoft wants to ban and disable other browsers (for example)
then let 'em who cares. It's their OS. They can make it run how ever they want.
And if you don't like it you can always buy something else.
Stupid law(s)

Niekess said,
Hey EU. Would you go look at Google and Apple too? No? Then how is this justice?

Go file a compaint and they'll investigate them, which is what they are doing now with MS: investigating a complaint filed by a third party.

BGM said,
didn't read all comments, but does this mean they will also investigate the iPad?

they should be sued into oblivion for not allowing IE to un on iPad's lol

EU rule that it's anti-competitive, Microsoft is forced to delay 8, has to rewrite significant portion of code.

Oh how delicious.

All you EU haters need to stop foaming at the mouth for 5 minutes and actually read the article. It says quite clearly that a complaint was made and they are investigating that complaint. They have NO CHOICE but investigate, it's the law.

Honestly, if eu decides to pursure microsoft on this, then they should have a legal and moral obligation to go after apple and google as well.

I love it how Apple gets away with this for sooo long and MS has its 1st real ARM tablet and this happens lol

EU has clearly has no scene of direction that isnt fining MS

Wait, how is this fair? Windows RT is equivalent to iOS or Android isn't it? I don't recall a browser option there at first launch...? Even with a full OS, are Chrome books or Apple Laptops required to do this? Windows explorer isn't exactly king of the internet any more, especially for the tech savvy groups.

"is not offering access to APIs required by browsers to operate"
Umm, EU, my browser needs more than DirectX/Net; Can you also get Microsoft to offer access to their PasswordVault's source code? I, uh, need to see how that is done so I can uh, implement a proper alternative. Oooo, while we're at it, can you also give me full access to the source to Metro? Thanks!

"focus on charges that Microsoft allows only its own Internet Explorer browser to be installed on devices running Windows 8 on Windows RT tablets with British chipmaker ARM's chips."

Did Microsoft say they'll be actively removing/rejecting all Metro browsers from the store?

'...of other browers on iOS. Yes, you can download other browsers on iOS, but try to make it your default application.'
Other browsers? They're all the same in that they use the safari iOS base...
Plus, msn messenger anyone? Every link you click opens in IE unless you hack it.

I'm wondering if in the EU decision like the US decision, it specifically mentioned x86 processors, because if so, this investigation is moot. Heck, the EU could technically go after Windows Phone and not being able to change the default browser there since it runs "Windows".

WTF

I mean, IOS and Android is all the same! And there is at the time for writing no other (released) browsers for the Windows RT platform! I mean how long has the SDK's been available?

EU, what a joke.. and I am from Europe!

theyarecomingforyou said,

That's already been dis-proven.

No, it hasn't. It's the same exact situation on iOS. I have no idea about Android.

theyarecomingforyou said,

No, it's not. http://blog.templatemonster.co...ers-10-alternatives-safari/

Seriously, you can't just make things up because it suits your argument! This entire topic is rife with ignorance.

Well, the point here is that how can you fine someone when their OS are yet to be released and no competition has released any other browser options yet?

And as for IOS: Comes with Safari
Android: Comes with Android Internet Browser (4.1 with Chrome)

I have never been prompted to choose browser on initial setup on either device, though I will agree Android makes it easy to set a new default one.

Fact is I am not criticizing either platform on this, I am criticizing the E.U for being an organ destined to fail and fall because of their general multiple attempts at political and legal "suicide".

If you want to fight over your favourite platforms I am sure there are many other comment threads you can get busy on folks

Tommy A Hansen said,
And as for IOS: Comes with Safari
Android: Comes with Android Internet Browser (4.1 with Chrome)

I have never been prompted to choose browser on initial setup on either device, though I will agree Android makes it easy to set a new default one.

I think the restriction was part of the punishment for Microsoft breaking EU competition law, rather than something that all companies were expected to do. It was because Microsoft had abused their position in the browser market for years and many people didn't realise they actually had a choice.

If MS needs to open up their os for others browsers then Apple needs to do the same. Safari has a monopoly in mobile browsing (on tablets)

th3r3turn said,
Question, do they also force OS X to do the same.

Exactly. I wouldn't have any problem with this move if they were fair about it and forced Apple to do they same... they are the real monopolist in this market.

the eu can go f*** themselves. honestly, they're poaching on american companies just because they're in some sort of financial rut... and why not go for apple and google as well for their lack of browser options in android and apple devices?? besides, ie isn't even that dominant anymore and im sure that people are smart enough to just go to their browser website of choice and download it.

aviator189 said,
the eu can go f*** themselves. honestly, they're poaching on american companies just because they're in some sort of financial rut...

Surely the same can be said of the US fining the British company GlaxoSmithKline $1bn? You're just spouting the same xenophobic and hypocritical nonsense that Americans are famous the world over for.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Surely the same can be said of the US fining the British company GlaxoSmithKline $1bn? You're just spouting the same xenophobic and hypocritical nonsense that Americans are famous the world over for.

I actually agree with you on this. If a company wants to operate in a territory, then they should be bound by the laws in those territories.

That said, I do find the EU governing bodies to be useless waste of space interfering scum-bags, and I live in the EU (UK)

theyarecomingforyou said,

Surely the same can be said of the US fining the British company GlaxoSmithKline $1bn? You're just spouting the same xenophobic and hypocritical nonsense that Americans are famous the world over for.


you do realize that that british company was fined for fraudulent purposes? the company was illegally marketing the popular antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and also withholding the data on the health risks of its best-selling diabetes drug, Avandia. that's a legitimate reason for a fine. In this case, eu is going after microsoft for such trivial matters. ie doesn't have the dominant marketshare anymore, win 8 and win rt aren't even out yet and have 0% marketshare, and users are more than capable of downloading their browser of choice via the internet in a few minutes. Tell me, do both cases have similar legitimate justifications??

aviator189 said,
you do realize that that british company was fined for fraudulent purposes?

They were fined for breaking the law. It's a different law but the result is the same.

Just because you deem it to be "trivial" does NOT mean that the EU does. I would argue that the lack of industry regulation in the US is a lot worse for society.

theyarecomingforyou said,

They were fined for breaking the law. It's a different law but the result is the same.

Just because you deem it to be "trivial" does NOT mean that the EU does. I would argue that the lack of industry regulation in the US is a lot worse for society.


difference is, what laws are ms breaking with this investigation??

theyarecomingforyou said,

Surely the same can be said of the US fining the British company GlaxoSmithKline $1bn? You're just spouting the same xenophobic and hypocritical nonsense that Americans are famous the world over for.

Except Glaxo did do something wrong! They lied and their actions could have had a potentially devastating effect on people. They made a guilty plea for "Unapproved uses and failing to report safety data" and the US even went after other companies. They didn't just go after one. GSK was doing terrible things so please stop using that argument.

aviator189 said,
difference is, what laws are ms breaking with this investigation??

pwgarner said,
Except Glaxo did do something wrong!

As did Microsoft. They broke EU competition law, which is why they were fined previously: http://www.pcworld.com/article..._microsoft_613_million.html

Again, it doesn't matter what laws other countries have. Microsoft is operating in the EU and broke EU laws. It really isn't hard to understand. You may disagree with the law but that's an entirely different matter.

theyarecomingforyou said,


As did Microsoft. They broke EU competition law, which is why they were fined previously: http://www.pcworld.com/article..._microsoft_613_million.html

Again, it doesn't matter what laws other countries have. Microsoft is operating in the EU and broke EU laws. It really isn't hard to understand. You may disagree with the law but that's an entirely different matter.


my beef isn't with you, user. much of it mainly directed at eu's practices and uptight nature.

Ok, what the hell? Isn't it the same situation with android and iOS tablets? Neither of them tells you "Hey, did you know you don't have to use Chrome/Safari on your tablet". Why should it be different with MS?
Seriously, the EU really shouldn't bother with this. Let Microsoft bundle their browser with their OS. If the end user is smart enough, they can install a 3rd party browser, should they want to.

XMac said,
Ok, what the hell? Isn't it the same situation with android and iOS tablets? Neither of them tells you "Hey, did you know you don't have to use Chrome/Safari on your tablet". Why should it be different with MS?
Seriously, the EU really shouldn't bother with this. Let Microsoft bundle their browser with their OS. If the end user is smart enough, they can install a 3rd party browser, should they want to.

This isn't about the default browser, this is about a 3rd party browser being allowed to exist on a platform at all, Android is cool with Firefox and Opera Mobile working fine. iOS and Windows RT only allow browsers like Opera Mini which isn't right.

thealexweb said,

This isn't about the default browser, this is about a 3rd party browser being allowed to exist on a platform at all, Android is cool with Firefox and Opera Mobile working fine. iOS and Windows RT only allow browsers like Opera Mini which isn't right.

I don't see where they've said you can't install 3rd party browsers on Windows RT, FF and Chrome for metro are already in the works. They'll run on Windows RT just fine, and you'll get them through the windows store just like other apps.

The problem, or the complaints are, from the statements made by mozilla and google, are that they can't install their browsers on the desktop on Windows RT while IE10 on the desktop is there. MS has blocked any desktop apps from running on Windows RT, no 3rd parties can do it, it's not just browsers. If ti comes down to it MS should just block the desktop version of IE10 on WinRT as well and call it a day. That makes things fair then.

GP007 said,

I don't see where they've said you can't install 3rd party browsers on Windows RT, FF and Chrome for metro are already in the works. They'll run on Windows RT just fine, and you'll get them through the windows store just like other apps.

Source?

From what I've seen so far from Google's Chrome beta, is that it's actually a desktop application that plugs into Metro when you set it as a default browser. It is not a separate WinRT app in it's own right.

Perhaps they are developing these though. Got any further info?

TCLN Ryster said,

Source?

From what I've seen so far from Google's Chrome beta, is that it's actually a desktop application that plugs into Metro when you set it as a default browser. It is not a separate WinRT app in it's own right.

Perhaps they are developing these though. Got any further info?

Yes they are developing metro versions of Chrome (which can be downloaded using the dev channel) and Firefox (you need to compile that one using mozilla build and vs2011/2012

Apple does the exit same thing on ios, it does not allow other browsers using their own engine, it only accpets browsers that utilize the webkit engine build into ios. Since Apple owns about 60% of the tablet market, and Windows RT owns 0% I don't see why the EU should focus any energy on this.

sjaak327 said,
Apple does the exit same thing on ios, it does not allow other browsers using their own engine, it only accpets browsers that utilize the webkit engine build into ios. Since Apple owns about 60% of the tablet market, and Windows RT owns 0% I don't see why the EU should focus any energy on this.

Apple hasn't been ruled as abusing a monopoly position so it doesn't have to play by the same rules. I didn't agree with the MS monopoly decision but it's long done and they have to live with it. One could argue that Apple would lose a similar case today in the tablet market and be declared a monopoly as well but that hasn't happened (yet?) My best guess as to why is that the Tablet market is still considered an emerging/growth market and so regulators are keeping their hands off to see how things develop. If the market stabilizes and Apple still has the huge share it has now they probably will be declared a monopoly in that space as well, time will tell.

Asmodai said,

Apple hasn't been ruled as abusing a monopoly position so it doesn't have to play by the same rules. I didn't agree with the MS monopoly decision but it's long done and they have to live with it. One could argue that Apple would lose a similar case today in the tablet market and be declared a monopoly as well but that hasn't happened (yet?) My best guess as to why is that the Tablet market is still considered an emerging/growth market and so regulators are keeping their hands off to see how things develop. If the market stabilizes and Apple still has the huge share it has now they probably will be declared a monopoly in that space as well, time will tell.

My post is not necessarily about Apple being a monopolist in the tablet space, it is about Apple doing the exact same thing. On the pc, Microsoft does have that massive market share, which leads to different rules for Desktop Windows (where there are no browser restrictions). The EU cannot possibly use market share as an argument to deny Microsoft the right to limit browsers on Windows RT, as there are no devices on the market that could even run that os, and the os isn't even publicly available, nor will it ever be. Windows RT will only be available bundled with a arm tablet, just as ios comes bundled with an iphone, ipad, ipod or Apple TV.

In any case, Windows RT has zero % market share, and you can't possibly deny Microsoft doing things that Apple does for years, based upon a big marketshare in an completely different area.

Asmodai said,

Apple hasn't been ruled as abusing a monopoly position so it doesn't have to play by the same rules. I didn't agree with the MS monopoly decision but it's long done and they have to live with it. One could argue that Apple would lose a similar case today in the tablet market and be declared a monopoly as well but that hasn't happened (yet?) My best guess as to why is that the Tablet market is still considered an emerging/growth market and so regulators are keeping their hands off to see how things develop. If the market stabilizes and Apple still has the huge share it has now they probably will be declared a monopoly in that space as well, time will tell.

Anti-trust laws are based on assessments about whether a company is engaging in anti-competitive behavior to gain its marketshare. If a company is putting out a product that is in line with *industry standards* -- ie they're doing the same thing as every other firm in the market -- its fair competition, its not "anti-competitive".

Being declared a monopoly doesn't change that.

The EU needs really to investigate alternative issues to worry about. Do they care that the iPad and Android tablets have only one browser? Internet Explorer is not even a monopoly browser anymore.

iOS and Android both support multiple browsers. I know that Opera is supported on both. The iPad has more restrictions though, which is why Mozilla is having to develop an entirely different browser for it.

However, they both allow other browsers. Windows RT doesn't. And given the previous fines Microsoft received for similar behaviour it seems like a pretty absurd move by Microsoft.

Windows 8 allows other Browsers, Windows RT is currently an un-released beta, there is NOTHING to stop other companies creating browsers for it.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The iPad has more restrictions though, which is why Mozilla is having to develop an entirely different browser for it.

They aren't developing an entirely different browser for it. They are developing a wrapper around a WebBrowser control that uses Safari. That takes, what, 30 seconds tops to implement?

Surprise, surprise, you can do the same thing on Windows RT!

theyarecomingforyou said,
iOS and Android both support multiple browsers. I know that Opera is supported on both. The iPad has more restrictions though, which is why Mozilla is having to develop an entirely different browser for it.

However, they both allow other browsers. Windows RT doesn't. And given the previous fines Microsoft received for similar behaviour it seems like a pretty absurd move by Microsoft.

Nope, Windows RT also allows other browsers, in fact two are already in development (Chrome and Firefox). These browsers are not allowed to access the win32 api, just as any browser on ios isn't given access to api's that the safari webkit engine does have access to. On ios all browsers are forced to use Safari's engine, with one exception, Opera. Opera does not render pages on the device itself, but on proxy servers.

sjaak327 said,
On ios all browsers are forced to use Safari's engine, with one exception, Opera. Opera does not render pages on the device itself, but on proxy servers.

Ah, I wasn't aware of how Opera operated on iOS. In which case I would say the same should apply to Apple - they should be required to provide a process to let competing browsers (and their respective rendering engines) run on iOS.

The other solution would be to centralise web development so that all browsers use the same rendering engine (something like WebKit) and companies could contribute to it, which would provide the benefit of standards compliance but could greatly reduce innovation and run the risk of being politicised. I still think the best option is the former - to require the developers of operating systems (particularly those as influential as Microsoft or Apple) to provide a process for approving competing browsers.

Ricmacas said,

If I had to bet, i'd say the complaint was made by Opera. Maybe Google. Nevertheless, the EU will look into it.

It's always Opera. Bunch of crybabies. They can't compete so they call their lawyers.

ahhell said,

It's always Opera. Bunch of crybabies. They can't compete so they call their lawyers.

How are they supposed to compete if they can't even release their browser on Windows RT?

theyarecomingforyou said,

How are they supposed to compete if they can't even release their browser on Windows RT?


everyone else seems to have gained marketshare on regular desktop windows except Opera so go figure, they can't compete.

ctrl_alt_delete said,

everyone else seems to have gained marketshare on regular desktop windows except Opera so go figure, they can't compete.

That's completely irrelevant. It is perfectly reasonable for a company to complain to regulators about being prevented from competing.

It is up to the regulators to determine whether any laws have been broken and whether any penalties should be imposed.

theyarecomingforyou said,

How are they supposed to compete if they can't even release their browser on Windows RT?

They can build their own OS just as they built their own browser.

solution: don't sell WinRT in EU country states. yes, draw the line. and anything else they complain about remove it. then run major ads around the place to let people know exactly why those features were removed. "EU law prevented us from giving you XYZ feature"
do them just like with Windows N

I really wished they could do this, but I know it's not feasible....

Microsoft is competing with Android tablets and the iPad. At the end of the day the company exists to make a profit for its shareholders and that means that Microsoft has to comply with the laws and regulations of individual countries.

Thankfully most companies don't operate like petulant children, which is what you are proposing.

[quote=ctrl_alt_delete said,]solution: don't sell WinRT in EU country states/quote]
Good idea /s, Microsoft should just ignore a market that's even bigger than the US...

The EU is absolutely ridiculous these days. Maybe OEMs will be out of luck and Surface RT will be the only option in Europe...what is EU going to do, prevent a company from selling their own hardware/software combination.

Microsoft is abusing its market position by preventing other browsers from competing on Windows RT. It really is that simple.

I know there are technical concerns due to the way browsers are implemented with WinRT but Microsoft should have created special approval process for browsers. By not doing that Microsoft was OBVIOUSLY going to run afoul of anti-competitive laws, just as it has done previously.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is abusing its market position by preventing other browsers from competing on Windows RT. It really is that simple.

How does "zero market share" come "to abuse"?

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is abusing its market position by preventing other browsers from competing on Windows RT. It really is that simple.

I know there are technical concerns due to the way browsers are implemented with WinRT but Microsoft should have created special approval process for browsers. By not doing that Microsoft was OBVIOUSLY going to run afoul of anti-competitive laws, just as it has done previously.


windows 8/win rt has pretty much 0% marketshare right now. it's absurd to even think that eu are even thinking about going after ms.

mahara said,
How does "zero market share" come "to abuse"?

By that logic Windows 8 should also be free of any restrictions because it has zero market share. The reality is that it's based on Microsoft's influence on the market, not the particular market share of an individual product.

theyarecomingforyou said,

By that logic Windows 8 should also be free of any restrictions because it has zero market share. The reality is that it's based on Microsoft's influence on the market, not the particular market share of an individual product.

It's Windows RT, a completely different architecture, in the same way that iOS is based on OS X.

McKay said,

It's Windows RT, a completely different architecture, in the same way that iOS is based on OS X.

Reread what theyarecomingforyou said - "it's based on Microsoft's influence on the market, not the particular market share of an individual product."

Basically, they are trying to make sure Microsoft don't do the same thing they did before - leverage their OS to make their browser the "only browser" within the ecosystem. Which is the last thing we want. It may not happen until 10 years down the line, but it is best it gets stopped now before it kills innovation like IE6.

To be honest, I don't know why Microsoft thought they could get away with this - I mean, surely they should have realised this would be the result?

I'm not sure how it will work if the EU force Microsoft to allow "metro style enabled desktop browsers" (yes, that's what Microsoft calls them ). How it works is that browsers (including IE10) are desktop apps that have access to the WinRT APIs if they are set as the default browser.

So in other words, to get a new browser on a Windows RT device, you have to download a desktop app. So how would it be possible for them to allow running browsers but not other desktop apps?

theyarecomingforyou said,
Opera for iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app...eb-browser/id363729560?mt=8
Announcement of Mozilla's Junior for iPad: http://www.techradar.com/news/...rowser-breaks-cover-1085608

As for the browser ballot, that was a specific restriction imposed on Microsoft for breaking anti-competitive laws in the EU.

I don't believe Apple allows a user to install a full browser on the iPhone. I KNOW they didn't before but I haven't checked lately so that may have changed. The non-safari browsers that are in the app store either fall into one of two categories.
1) They are custom GUI wrappers around the safari browser engine (WebKit)
2) Their browser engine is in the cloud and the site is rendered remotely and then sent down to the phone.
You can't install the Firefox engine (gecko) or anything else on the iPhone. Mozilla's Junior uses Safari's webkit engine and Opera Mini uses method 2 above.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Opera for iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app...eb-browser/id363729560?mt=8
Announcement of Mozilla's Junior for iPad: http://www.techradar.com/news/...rowser-breaks-cover-1085608

As for the browser ballot, that was a specific restriction imposed on Microsoft for breaking anti-competitive laws in the EU.

Nobody is stopping people from developing a web browser for Windows RT that uses the WebBrowser control [Trident engine]. This is no different from the situation on iOS, except Apple has the monopoly.

It funny how the monopolist (Apple) isn't affected by laws governing monopolies, but Microsoft - with 0% marketshare - is.

Asmodai said,
I don't believe Apple allows a user to install a full browser on the iPhone. I KNOW they didn't before but I haven't checked lately so that may have changed. The non-safari browsers that are in the app store either fall into one of two categories.

The discussion was about the iPad but if the iPhone is different then action should be taken, just as the EU was investigating the iTunes Store before they dropped the DRM. The market as a whole needs to be treats fairly.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Opera for iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app...eb-browser/id363729560?mt=8
Announcement of Mozilla's Junior for iPad: http://www.techradar.com/news/...rowser-breaks-cover-1085608

As for the browser ballot, that was a specific restriction imposed on Microsoft for breaking anti-competitive laws in the EU.

Neither of which are completely different than Safari. Opera on iOS isn't even a true browser, and junior is just a wrapper around webkit

SharpGreen said,

Neither of which are completely different than Safari. Opera on iOS isn't even a true browser, and junior is just a wrapper around webkit

^ what he said, and the inability to set the default browser.

I understand on it's RT platform because it's limited and they want it absolutely perfect and with no loose ends that could cause security concerns but on their x86 tablets their should be a choice apple is allowed to limit it's mobile operating system why can't Microsoft do the same?

Devin Lane Meredith said,
I understand on it's RT platform because it's limited and they want it absolutely perfect and with no loose ends that could cause security concerns but on their x86 tablets their should be a choice apple is allowed to limit it's mobile operating system why can't Microsoft do the same?

What? On the x86 / x64 versions of wondows, you can do what you want! Its a normal version of windows that you can install anything onto. The onl;y version in question is the RT version which is built for an entirely new chipset/CPU - ARM! WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!!!

Devin Lane Meredith said,
apple is allowed to limit it's mobile operating system why can't Microsoft do the same?

Because Microsoft was ruled a monopoly and different rules apply to monopolies. I personally disagree with the monopoly ruling but that's ancient history now and that's the way it is. The ruling applies to the Windows OS not just one version of it or for one platform and so by bringing the same OS to tablets that is on PCs they've made the ruling apply to tablets as well. I don't think MS has a chance to argue that Windows 8 on tablets isn't the same as Windows 8 on Desktop, they're the same. They MIGHT be able to argue that WindowsRT is different though but right now MS marketing and apparently the EU consider them the same.

Asmodai said,

Because Microsoft was ruled a monopoly and different rules apply to monopolies. I personally disagree with the monopoly ruling but that's ancient history now and that's the way it is. The ruling applies to the Windows OS not just one version of it or for one platform and so by bringing the same OS to tablets that is on PCs they've made the ruling apply to tablets as well. I don't think MS has a chance to argue that Windows 8 on tablets isn't the same as Windows 8 on Desktop, they're the same. They MIGHT be able to argue that WindowsRT is different though but right now MS marketing and apparently the EU consider them the same.

Microsoft is NOT a monopolist in the tablet space, Windows RT currently has zero % market share. And no Windows RT is not the same as Windows 8.

sjaak327 said,

Microsoft is NOT a monopolist in the tablet space, Windows RT currently has zero % market share. And no Windows RT is not the same as Windows 8.


Obviously MS is not a monopolist in the tablet space but the ruling is against a product line (Windows) not it's implementation in a specific space. The Windows 8 Microsoft is installing on a tablet is the same software as will be installed on Windows 8 laptops and desktops and servers and thus it's the same product and the ruling applies. Apparently while you and I may disagree the EU also things that taking essentially the same code and recompiling for a different CPU architecture is NOT sufficient to make it an entirely new product and thus Windows RT is also subject to the anti-trust ruling. I'm not saying I agree with them, as I stated I felt the original anti-trust ruling was B.S. but it's not really hard to see where this is coming from.

Asmodai said,

Obviously MS is not a monopolist in the tablet space but the ruling is against a product line (Windows) not it's implementation in a specific space. The Windows 8 Microsoft is installing on a tablet is the same software as will be installed on Windows 8 laptops and desktops and servers and thus it's the same product and the ruling applies. Apparently while you and I may disagree the EU also things that taking essentially the same code and recompiling for a different CPU architecture is NOT sufficient to make it an entirely new product and thus Windows RT is also subject to the anti-trust ruling. I'm not saying I agree with them, as I stated I felt the original anti-trust ruling was B.S. but it's not really hard to see where this is coming from.

Windows RT is not in the same product line as Windows 8. It's a new product developed for new processor architecture. It is NOT the same software that will be installed on Windows 8 laptops and desktops. Not by a long shot. It may share the same UI, but the underlying product is entirely different, it's not just a case of simply recompiling the code for ARM and suggesting it is is ludicrous.

By your logic they should just rename it to Metro OS and the EU would go away.

Asmodai said,

Obviously MS is not a monopolist in the tablet space but the ruling is against a product line (Windows) not it's implementation in a specific space. The Windows 8 Microsoft is installing on a tablet is the same software as will be installed on Windows 8 laptops and desktops and servers and thus it's the same product and the ruling applies. Apparently while you and I may disagree the EU also things that taking essentially the same code and recompiling for a different CPU architecture is NOT sufficient to make it an entirely new product and thus Windows RT is also subject to the anti-trust ruling. I'm not saying I agree with them, as I stated I felt the original anti-trust ruling was B.S. but it's not really hard to see where this is coming from.

It is NOT the same software, as far as we know, a lot of the win32 api isn't even present on Windows RT, it will only run on nvidea, TI amd qualcom chips, and the software is not available on the retail channel. It is therefore restricted in the same way as ios is.

TCLN Ryster said,

Windows RT is not in the same product line as Windows 8. It's a new product developed for new processor architecture. It is NOT the same software that will be installed on Windows 8 laptops and desktops. Not by a long shot. It may share the same UI, but the underlying product is entirely different, it's not just a case of simply recompiling the code for ARM and suggesting it is is ludicrous.

By your logic they should just rename it to Metro OS and the EU would go away.


If you have some information supporting your claim that it's not the same code base I'd be interested in seeing it. I don't know if it is or isn't and I doubt the EU does either which is why they are investigating, to find out. The suggestion that it is the same code base is NOT ludicrous as you suggest though if you know anything about the history of NT. NT was developed primarily on the MIPS CPU architecture through NT 4.0 to make sure they didn't "cheat" and put any x86 specific calls in the OS. Likewise Windows 2000 was developed on the Alpha (even though that version was never officially released, though it did leak to the public) for the same reason. Microsoft didn't called the MIPS or Alpha or PowerPC versions of it's OS different product lines so suddenly calling the ARM version different may be a hard sell.
Maybe RT is just a UI that looks similar on top of an entirely different code base as you claim. I doubt it but I don't KNOW so if you can point to a source that show that I'd be very interested. Everything I've read thus far though seems to point toward the ARM Windows 8 being more akin to the Alpha NT 4.0, same code base compiled for a different CPU Architecture.
In fact I bet when the ARMv8 CPUs come out that add 64bit support to the ARM architecture you will see MS selling 64bit ARM Windows Server OS's based off of WindowsRT. That likely won't be till Windows 9 though.

Good god I hate the bloody EU.
The RT version of Surface doesn't run standard Windows apps so is MS supposed to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for 3rd parties to port over their browsers?
HELL NO.

ahhell said,
Good god I hate the bloody EU.
The RT version of Surface doesn't run standard Windows apps so is MS supposed to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for 3rd parties to port over their browsers?
HELL NO.

But they can't be ported. Even IE10 isn't a normal Metro style app. It's a desktop app that has access to the WinRT APIs.

Meph said,

But they can't be ported. Even IE10 isn't a normal Metro style app. It's a desktop app that has access to the WinRT APIs.
It IS a Metro app.

ahhell said,
Good god I hate the bloody EU.
The RT version of Surface doesn't run standard Windows apps so is MS supposed to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for 3rd parties to port over their browsers?

The point is that IE is (was?) going to be the only browser allowed on Windows RT, which is a clear breach of anti-competitive laws. And Microsoft was already fined for restricting browser choices before.

It was ridiculous for Microsoft to believe it could get away with such a move.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The point is that IE is (was?) going to be the only browser allowed on Windows RT, which is a clear breach of anti-competitive laws. And Microsoft was already fined for restricting browser choices before.

It was ridiculous for Microsoft to believe it could get away with such a move.

Windows RT isn't Windows 8. There's an argument to be made that Windows RT is sold as a custom version for custom hardware devices together as one and not as a OS that can be installed and run on any generic PC hardware out there. You can't buy and install Windows RT yourself on your own ARM device.

MS has said time and again that each version is coded to run specifically on the different types of SoCs out there, even if they're all ARM based they're all not exactly the same as well.

GP007 said,
Windows RT isn't Windows 8. There's an argument to be made that Windows RT is sold as a custom version for custom hardware devices together as one and not as a OS that can be installed and run on any generic PC hardware out there.

And Microsoft claimed that IE had to be built into the operating system and couldn't be removed. It was still fined.

At the end of the day its a Windows product. Microsoft should have created an approval process for third party browsers, even if it placed restrictions on it for security reasons.

theyarecomingforyou said,

And Microsoft claimed that IE had to be built into the operating system and couldn't be removed. It was still fined.

At the end of the day its a Windows product. Microsoft should have created an approval process for third party browsers, even if it placed restrictions on it for security reasons.

There is an approval process, 3rd party browsers have to go through the store certification process just like the rest. The argument isn't that 3rd party browsers can't run or be installed on Windows RT, which isn't the case anyways. It's that Mozilla wants to also run Firefox on the desktop on Windows RT. MS has blocked desktop apps from 3rd parties to run.

There's also an argument that they don't have the same level of access as metro IE10 does, that I don't know or not. Either way, it's not the same, it's not the same market conditions either. They're selling Windows RT the same way they sell Windows Phone. Just as they have no monopoly on smart phones they have no monopoly on tablets either. This isn't desktop PCs regardless of how much the two OS's match.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The point is that IE is (was?) going to be the only browser allowed on Windows RT, which is a clear breach of anti-competitive laws. And Microsoft was already fined for restricting browser choices before.

It was ridiculous for Microsoft to believe it could get away with such a move.


There is NOTHING anti-competitive about building a brand new product with platform limitations.

Look at Chrome OS. It is an OS built on top of the browser itself--can anyone ever expect THAT operating system to allow 3rd party web browsers to be installed and set as the "default"?

This belief could very easily hold the web back from becoming a platform because every vendor who decides to build and sell hardware around a browser will have hissy fits thrown by other browser makers.

GP007 said,
There is an approval process, 3rd party browsers have to go through the store certification process just like the rest.

The trouble is that the WinRT APIs do not support third-party browsers, which is why Microsoft uses exclusive APIs in order for IE10 to work. What is needed - and what I suggested - was a specific approval process for browsers that provides access to the necessary APIs and system functionality needed for browsers to operate, while mitigating the risk of security vulnerabilities.

It is obviously unfair and anti-competitive for Microsoft to use exclusive system functions to allow their own browser to operate but not provide the same opportunities to the competition.

Joshie said,
There is NOTHING anti-competitive about building a brand new product with platform limitations.

Of course there is because we're talking about the market influence of the company, not a specific product. Microsoft is looking to use its influence from the desktop market to take over the tablet market and restrict other browsers from being able to compete with IE10. And any advantage gained on Windows RT can benefit Windows 8 on the desktop.

theyarecomingforyou said,

The point is that IE is (was?) going to be the only browser allowed on Windows RT, which is a clear breach of anti-competitive laws.


IE is the only browser in the desktop space on Windows RT, but that's because the primary UI for Windows RT devices is Metro. The desktop is there as a glorified control panel only (and to launch the built in Office 2013 ARM app).

Windows RT is to Windows what iOS is to OSX. It's a closed platform variant, essentially operating as the firmware/software for specific hardware devices like Tablets and Phones. The same rules shouldn't really apply between the desktop OS and the operating software of specific hardware devices, but if they do should apply equally to Apple.

Edited by Ryster, Jul 18 2012, 10:09pm :

theyarecomingforyou said,

The trouble is that the WinRT APIs do not support third-party browsers, which is why Microsoft uses exclusive APIs in order for IE10 to work. What is needed - and what I suggested - was a specific approval process for browsers that provides access to the necessary APIs and system functionality needed for browsers to operate, while mitigating the risk of security vulnerabilities.

It is obviously unfair and anti-competitive for Microsoft to use exclusive system functions to allow their own browser to operate but not provide the same opportunities to the competition.


The only issue is that Microsoft would have control over who can put a browser on Windows RT. Firefox, Chrome and Opera will have no problem. But if the minor browsers ever decide to make a Metro Style Enabled Desktop Browser, will they get approval, too? I hope they can come up with a fair way to solve this.

Also, developers will need a way to compile to ARM.

Meph said,

The only issue is that Microsoft would have control over who can put a browser on Windows RT. Firefox, Chrome and Opera will have no problem. But if the minor browsers ever decide to make a Metro Style Enabled Desktop Browser, will they get approval, too? I hope they can come up with a fair way to solve this.

Also, developers will need a way to compile to ARM.

As far as I'm concerned there's nothing to solve. Also there already exists compilers on Windows 8 for ARM.

Meph said,
The only issue is that Microsoft would have control over who can put a browser on Windows RT. Firefox, Chrome and Opera will have no problem. But if the minor browsers ever decide to make a Metro Style Enabled Desktop Browser, will they get approval, too? I hope they can come up with a fair way to solve this.

Well, to be fair it's the same with the Windows Store itself. There's no reason any other browser should have a problem providing they meet the appropriate security and stability criteria.

Personally I think the bigger anti-competitive issue is the inability to install WinRT apps from any source other than the Windows Store, which Microsoft has complete control over. That means that Amazon and others can't launch their own rival store to sell apps and it also means that Microsoft gets a cut of every Metro app sold. It seems like an obvious abuse of Microsoft's market position. At least on Android you can choose to use alternative stores. I'd be surprised if Microsoft wasn't investigated for it.

PS - And yes, if Apple does the same thing then they too should be investigated. I don't believe mega companies like Apple or Microsoft should be able to dictate what can and cannot be run on a system.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Of course there is because we're talking about the market influence of the company, not a specific product. Microsoft is looking to use its influence from the desktop market to take over the tablet market and restrict other browsers from being able to compete with IE10. And any advantage gained on Windows RT can benefit Windows 8 on the desktop.

It is anti-competitive only if Microsoft does succeed. Their marketshare in the tablet market is abysmal.

Too many blinded fanboys these days, huh. Don't wanna live on this planet anymore.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Of course there is because we're talking about the market influence of the company, not a specific product. Microsoft is looking to use its influence from the desktop market to take over the tablet market and restrict other browsers from being able to compete with IE10. And any advantage gained on Windows RT can benefit Windows 8 on the desktop.


Market influence doesn't extend to entirely new platforms. It's only a valid argument if existing power gives DIRECT leverage to the new platform. WinRT can't leverage the existing Windows ecosystem whatsoever.

You can't restrict 100% of a company's portfolio because of the success of one division of that company.

SharpGreen said,
Also there already exists compilers on Windows 8 for ARM.

Even for Win32 apps? There's obviously compilers for Metro style (WinRT) apps.

Microsoft really should know better than to even propose the limitations they were discussing for web browsers... But on another note, didn't they say they were going to back off of that a bit already? Or am I mistaken?

M_Lyons10 said,
Microsoft really should know better than to even propose the limitations they were discussing for web browsers... But on another note, didn't they say they were going to back off of that a bit already? Or am I mistaken?

Limitations for web browsers? are you mad?

The 'limitations' are that all apps have to be installed via market, and have to be approved by us. Same as iOS. WTF!!!!!

M_Lyons10 said,
Microsoft really should know better than to even propose the limitations they were discussing for web browsers... But on another note, didn't they say they were going to back off of that a bit already? Or am I mistaken?

By this idea every single software maker could have a pop at MS for not making this new version of windows work with my stuff or with your old model! Christ on a f**king bike how ass backwards is this?

M_Lyons10 said,

Thank you. Good grief can some people get worked up over nothing... Sometimes I seriously wonder what the average comprehension level is on here...

"Unamed sources contact the EU" Are they ashamed?
How do I contact the EU anout all the restrictive practices of Apple (don't allow the fast rendering engine for 3rd party browsers on the iphone so that their browser is always the fastest) or Google who don't randomise their web pages to offer different browsers when their pages detects you are running an old browser.

Please tell me how to contact them and we can all be "unamed" sources :-) I'll post to them and be happy for them to know who I am.

M_Lyons10 said,

Thank you. Good grief can some people get worked up over nothing... Sometimes I seriously wonder what the average comprehension level is on here...
None of that made sense. What I gathered from the article is they these 'sources' are claiming MS isn't going to allow them to be installed on W8 ARM devices? Is EU the only place with this issue? Will we be able to install a third party browser in America? If that's possible then why don't they STFU and use the same API's since I highly doubt there will be a difference.