EU to re-ignite browser wars?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the European Union, as part of its ongoing antitrust investigations and prosecutions, is now considering forcing Microsoft to provide users of Windows easy access to a range of web browsers from which to select. If the scheme works as intended, consumers who purchase new Windows machines in Europe will have to make a choice of which web browsers to have installed on their machine and which one to make their default.

In a bid (supported by Opera, Mozilla, and Google, among others) to undo Microsoft's Internet Explorer "monopolistic" dominance, the EU plan serves as a mechanism to educate consumers, most of whom would simply go with whichever web browser is pre-installed as the default on their machine, about the options that exist and about their ability to set one browser as the default. Although many Neowin readers may consider such knowledge that there are other browsers out there and that you can set one as default to be very basic indeed, the EU is targetting the majority of computer users who simply do not how such things work.

According to Ars Technica, "An EU spokesperson said that if the regulator rules against Microsoft, any remedy 'would be based on the fundamental principle of unbiased choice' while a Microsoft spokesman says the company is 'committed' to 'full compliance' with EU law."

The EU will likely announce its final decision on this matter in the coming weeks.

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Will I get a choice to install Firefox, Opera, IE, etc. when I first boot my new Mac?

If you think PC users are "too dumb" to download and install a browser, Mac users must be worse, right? I mean, that's Apples entire campaign... "Macs are easier than windows".

One thing with all these EU lawsuits that I havent heard... is what they do with all the money that they are fining everybody... is it being distributed to all the ma and pop browsers that are being held back by MS?? If I were in charge of MS i would just pull my product and refuse service to anywhere the EU governs. Im totally guessing, but the actual profits garnered in these countries probably isnt too much more than the massive millions that they are being fined.

Well, I think we may be heading in that direction... But I doubt we're there yet. The EU is rather large and comprises quite a few countries. I'm sure Microsoft makes a decent chunk of revenue from this territory. I do however think that these frivolous fines by the EU (All of which have quite large price tags) are going to force some of these companies to rethink servicing the area...

This is absurd really. Can you imagine how confused the average person would be firing up their computer and being asked to choose which browser they want?

Please choose your Web Browser:

Internet Explorer 8
Mozilla Firefox 3.5
Opera 9?
Safari 3
Google Chrome 3

Now, to the average person that isn't going to mean anything... How do you choose? How do you research the various browsers (You don't have a browser installed yet, so you can't visit their sites to review their features)...?

I'm all for competition, etc., but Mozilla is doing pretty well without this nonsense. I think more than anything this is Opera whining... And in the end it does not benefit the consumer at all. They end up confused, with an added (And unnecessary) step, AND I still see no reason why Microsoft shouldn't be able to include FEATURES in their operating system. When I buy an Operating System I may not use all of those features, and may uninstall certain things, but I want to know that it has basic functionality. If I'm setting up a new machine, where do you start? You can't visit websites to download the software now because the EU is insane... This isn't the EU railing against anti-competitive behavior, this is the EU railing against successful businesses (And Microsoft in particular). This is just nuts.

people will choose ie only because they see the word internet, and my mom says when i open firefox/chrome for her she says that open ie because she knows how to use it and is "the standard"

people will choose ie only because they see the word internet, and my mom says when i open firefox/chrome for her she says that open ie because she knows how to use it and is "the standard"

The EU always seem to miss the point. There is not inherently a problem with having a browser or media player installed with the OS, in fact its better for the end user as they get more 'stuff' for their money. Especially as now most competitors browsers are free to use. The problem comes with the services that get pushed to the user via the browser / media player's interface. In the case of Windows Media Player, it was the pre-installation of the Windows Media Player codec that lead to a unfair advantage for MS in the streaming video market. When you know 90% of the computer users in the world will have WMC installed, it become very appealing to video content producers to use MS server products for the delivery of said content.

The EU, instead of removing just the codec from the OS, made Microsoft remove the whole app leading to the Windows XP N versions; who the hell is going to buy a OS with a feature advertised as missing? Way to miss the mark and give Microsoft a "get out of jail free" card. You can only assume the EU was either in cahoots with MS and wanted a result that looked effective, but in fact was totally ineffective at stopping Microsofts stranglehold on streaming media. Or what I believe to be more likely the case, that the guys making the decisions are out of touch with the topic they are ruling on and believe that WMP = WMC.

In the case of web browsers, I can only see one problem with MS bundling a browser and that is the proprietary extensions that they could potentially add into the rendering engine and the integration with MSN search (bing?). Rather than force a user to choose a browser during install (this is never never going to happen anyway, MS will just pay the fines) they should maybe look more closely at what services are pushed through the browser when its in its default state and ask that they be stripped out. Or going with the pre-install idea, ask the user what online service provider they want the browser to work with (google, yahoo, etc).

In all fairness to MS when you install IE 7 / 8 you do get asked to choose a default search engine, etc so really they seem to be offering the competitors solutions already.

You would think that a more important topic would be forcing MS to use .odt as the default format for office. Hmm.

Oh purrleeeease!
Give us a break Mr EU, MS bundles their own calculator with Windows! What a rip off! I want a list of calculators to choose from when i'm installing windows because i don't like the OS bundled one!

Come to think of it i bought MS Office the other day and it didn't include Star Office or Open Office on the CD!!!!! Rip off!

/sarcasm

I am confused, are people too dumb to download and install other browsers.....so they need it pre-installed or are they just lazy?

Its not like Windows locks you to use their browser.

If MS has to do this, I hope they only do it in the EU, because I do not want to be bothered with choosing a browser right way. I would rather download one when I am good and ready to.

What will be next? MS being obligated to give the user the option to install a linux distro when they pop in their windows installation disc? This is getting so ridiculous it's unbelievable.

Those "less tech savvy" users will not install Windows anyway, it will be preinstalled when they buy a PC. And guess what, OEMS have been able to supply software with it and even setting it als default for years now....

microsoft should pull out of europe.

it's a nasty place to do business. :(


dang, i'm so stupid, i didn't reply right.....

I think Microsoft should comply with what the EU is suggesting, but instead of just offering all the main browsers (i.e. firefox, chrome, opera) they should offer the lesser known browsers also. Put Internet Explorer right at the top of the list, then the lesser known browsers, followed by firefox and chrome, and at the bottom of the list Opera. To all of the people saying "just pull of of the EU", you realise how stupid you sound right?

All of this about making them allow you to replace back end stuff is just silly :P Microsoft has built it to function that way with their system...if other things were to be allowed to replace IE based back end stuff, MS would ultimately have to deal with supporting it (since third party app breaking core components would just look like Windows breaking to a 'Joe User' who this is targeted towards), which is absurd.

Don't blame Microsoft for stuff like Steam using the IE engine, blame Steam for not allowing that to be configurable.

Plus, whats the big deal if help files use the IE engine? When was the last time you had a extremely fancy help file with complicated layouts, or extremely fancy coded stuff that would require the use of any other browser engine? if you need something besides the basic help the help files supply, you go to the web using :gasp: the web browser of your choosing! :P

this is rediculous.

Take it to the car market. Every car includes a built in audio system. its usually not the best, but it gets the job done, and its considered a requirement by consumers to have one in the car. If you want to, you can go purchase 3rd party components and improve your system, but the manufacturer is in no way required to put other manufacturers products in there from the get go.

It would be nice if there was the know-how to replace the Internet Explorer Core. Even if one uninstalls IE8 on W7, he or she will STILL be using it EVERYWHERE - from Steam to the Start Menu (I think).

For fairness and equal opportunity for all browsers, I think that Microsoft should release the know how to replace the IE Core. Now that would be awesome! Firefox in my Counter Strike Source!

Yeah, slow loading web pages for all apps :D

Thing is, they can't just replace the core with any web rendering engine. Trident has been adapted to do alot more so it can fill all those rolls like in Steam and explorer file browser. Internet Explorer is so integrated in Explorer.exe that they can practically be considered one.

Just what we need, a even more bloated OS. MS was doing good with Windows 7 and if they are forced to add these other browsers, it will cause more bloated OS.

It should be the computer makers (dell, hp, sony, etc...) that should be the ones to put other browsers, not Microsoft.

Ok, just to be FAIR; there will be NO more single browser installer available. What there will be is an installer ONLY and all the available browsers are on a list. This should make it easier for all those idiots that have no idea that there are other browser options out there.

I just can't believe that those idiots that belong to the EU are contimplating mandating Microsft include other vendors browsers on the CD. Next thing those idiots will want Microsoft to do is to have an option to install Open Office when Microsoft Office is installed from the CD. This is not a good thing.

I was feed up with this a long time ago and removed Firefox and Chrome and will never install them again.

Why should MS have to comply to this? They shouldn't have to advertise other software free of charge via Windows.

I hope they remove IE from the N version. See how people like no browser.

Nashy said,
Why should MS have to comply to this? They shouldn't have to advertise other software free of charge via Windows.

I hope they remove IE from the N version. See how people like no browser.


If there were to remove IE from an N version of Windows, they should completely remove it and not allow the IE rendering to even be installed. If they were to do that, they'd be in compliance with the removal of IE.

Just a question, does Microsoft get to battle this in court? or is the EU acting as judge and throwing out punishments?

Lets say I start making chocolate milk. My product becomes the world's most used drink. And suddenly I am going to be charged for using my own milk and chocolate instead using milk that comes from the competition?

Please bring this to all regions MS, not just Europe. It saves me a step in installing Firefox (or just opening IE depending on how they do it) and if you wanted to do it properly, include it into the Windows installer. You make the EU happy, you make web browser companies happy, and you make me happy, and no-one is harmed since its incredibly simple for MS to do, and MS comes out looking good for giving users choice. :)

Win win!

The problem is not just to save a few clicks to download a new browser in a brand new installation but to remove iexplorer as a "default" browser, and it is pretty important for many corporation and business where by policies the only browser available (and mandatory) is iexplorer (even when it is insecure, faulty and slow).

back in 2001 the whole thing made sense. but now? the browser is an integral part of the OS experience. linux comes with firefox, os x and the iphone come with safari, windows come with IE. if you're going to force microsoft to let the user know that more browsers can be installed, then force ALL to do the same thing. but u know at least technologies are converging now, and the experience for me is mostly the same in opera, firefox and chrome, and to a lesser extent safari. IE does the job though. it's not the big deal it was back in the day

... linux comes with firefox...

That statement shows how little you know about Linux.

1) Firefox is a third-party app, not made by the Linux kernel devs to promote their own broken HTML implementation.
2) Firefox is completely removable, as is every other package.
3) Other alternatives to Firefox are already also installed, like Epiphany on Gnome systems, or Konqueror on KDE systems.

markjensen said,
That statement shows how little you know about Linux.

1) Firefox is a third-party app, not made by the Linux kernel devs to promote their own broken HTML implementation.
2) Firefox is completely removable, as is every other package.
3) Other alternatives to Firefox are already also installed, like Epiphany on Gnome systems, or Konqueror on KDE systems.

Failed clever response.
"3) Other alternatives to Firefox are already [i]also installed, like Epiphany on Gnome systems, or Konqueror on KDE systems.[/i]

So, IE can be removed. What the difference here?

The thing is, you can't compare FF with IE on that level of removal, because IE is an integral part of the Windows Explorer management. That's the case because of a lot of legacy issues and compatibility requirements.

markjensen said,
That statement shows how little you know about Linux.

Well I know how linux works, but let's face it, the defacto browser in the linux realm is firefox. Epiphany and konqueror? Really? You know exactly what I meant.

markjensen said,
My response is completely accurate. All three items.

You claim that IE can be removed.
Microsoft disagrees with you.


I'm tired of your lies, markjensen.
So I'll just prove that you don't exist. Look, I couldn't find your birth record in pre-1900 year's birth archives. That means that you were newer born. So you clearly don't exist.

P.S. Just to stop you spreading lies: http://www.aeroxp.org/2009/03/ie8-functionally-removable/

Wow.

It's finally made it into a release candidate.

If it makes it into the final product then they will at last be compliant with the removable part.

When will this be an actual product? Later this year?

EDIT: Well, at least it is partly what you claim it is. From your article you quoted (emphasis mine).

Upon completing the second reboot, you will notice that Internet Explorer 8’s components are actually still in Windows. The major changes will be that IE8 will be missing from “Set Program Defaults,” Windows won’t complain about IE8 being missing, and iexplore.exe will no longer exist underneath the Internet Explorer directory even though the directory and every IE8 dependency therein will still exist.

I guess one can hope it will be properly done by official release.

markjensen said,
Wow.

It's finally made it into a release candidate.

If it makes it into the final product then they will at last be compliant with the removable part.

When will this be an actual product? Later this year?

EDIT: Well, at least it is partly what you claim it is. From your article you quoted (emphasis mine).
I guess one can hope it will be properly done by official release.


There is a difference between the "browser" (application) and "rendering engine" (shared system component). Try to replace Webkit with Gecko in Mac OS X and you'll see that's not easy.

RealFduch said,
There is a difference between the "browser" (application) and "rendering engine" (shared system component). Try to replace Webkit with Gecko in Mac OS X and you'll see that's not easy.

I don't doubt that in OSX. I am not a fan of their control-freak type of setup - seems to restrictive. Nice looking, and slick. But the phrase "walled garden" comes to mind.

I agree with you on OSX, but I was talking only of Linux, where these things *are* completely removable.

Easy access to a range of web browsers? Like opening IE and typing mozilla.com, opera.com, google.com/chrome, etc.?

You know what I find ironic thinking about it. Wasn't the EU one of the original groups back a few years begging Microsoft to make IE more secure. This was back in during the IE6 years when Firefox popularity grew. So now Microsoft has made IE more secure, more friendly, and an updated UI NOW the competition gets angry.

Google and Opera should have hoped on the browser bandwagon when IE was weak and people were looking for excuses not to run IE.

Right now I can guarantee if users like my parents had to choose which browser to use at first boot up they would call me up and really be confused and I would have to explain to them what to do

I can see that google is so wrost monopoly ever than MS. I've tested google chrome on this Windows Vista, but I got bad sign about from this. I had to removed google chrome from this computer. I sense that google is a evil company. I will never use google product again in the future. Google product are so wrost ever!

I am tired of seeing so many google ads on anywhere around the website.

I believe that Google Company is getting richest than MS because of money crisis economic problem around the world.

I bet that Google CEOs are laughing and getting richest compnay than any companies and poor people who need foods, clothes and etc. I believe it sound like in "JOB" in the bible.

Please stop support evil Google in the future!

Gameboy

Don't you notice there sooo many google ads anywhere over the internet? I've seen one movie that Satan and his workers who appears anywhere over the earth too which it is same as google ads that's how they work for Satan. I am tired of seeing sooo many google ads anywhere over the internet. I am telling you truth. that is all. Google is real monopoly for sure. I am sure that one day google will get out of business which IRS will arrest them for cheating tax someday... you have to read bible called JOB in the old testament... I am sure you will understand about this.

gameboy

When the story first broke about the EU forcing Microsoft to include (or at least allow the option) other browsers I was kind of impressed with the idea. It wouldn't be hard for Microsoft to have a dialog when windows installs, in which you choose your browser. However, with the release of windows 7, you can uninstall internet explore. I am completely satisfied with that option.

Basically this comes down to the EU wanting to fine Microsoft. Would be completely funny for Microsoft to say enough is enough, and stop selling their products within the EU. They could also stop sending automatic updates to them via blocking IP's based on geolocation. Then maybe come back to the table with the EU to discuses new 'rules' that they must abide by to keep from being fined. THEY are as much a monopoly as Microsoft.

Perhaps the United States government should step up to protect Microsoft, because they are being raped by an international organization.

So do the Opera people! They have a huge share in the mobile browser market, this is just greed now.
And its not as if we're paying them any freakin' money to use their browser, it seems that "it's the thought that counts" applies here. Do correct me if I'm wrong, as I see no real advantages of having your browser as the most popular one apart from ur company's e-penis growing :P

Man this is getting old, I bet that the majority of novice users out there could care less about browsers.
I hate how because Google, Mozilla, and Opera can't gain market share they go an whine to the EU to force MS to change their OS.

Its Microsofts OS let them do what they want with it. If Google, Mozilla, and Opera are so worried they should make their own OS.

Agreed. I can't see them making their own version of wget and using batch scripts with that to download firefox/opera!

And besides, wouldn't this be unfair to other browsers even less used than Opera (desktop version)?? we'll just end up with a "big 4" or "big 5" or something won't we?

I'd laugh so much if there was a special version of windows 7 (Windows 7 Ultimte O or something? :P) with Opera pre-installed...It'd probably have very little effect cos Opera is ignored so much as a desktop browser
(despite UNLIKE Mozilla they have a huge share in mobile browsers)

Not plausible. Opera would make a faiulre of an OS, Google has already made Android, but that's yet another linux distro that is "unique" (not), and Mozilla would just make another linux os.

No one would care.

gamestargrinder said,
Man this is getting old, I bet that the majority of novice users out there could care less about browsers.
I hate how because Google, Mozilla, and Opera can't gain market share they go an whine to the EU to force MS to change their OS.

Its Microsofts OS let them do what they want with it. If Google, Mozilla, and Opera are so worried they should make their own OS.

Every article fails to mention that Opera started the lawsuit and Mozilla is just an "expert witness".

God this is getting so old, like you don't have a choice to use a specific browser the way it is now. Just leave the crap alone and find something that is useful to do with their time.. Again another sign of government thinking they know what is best for everyone..

Exactly.

Googling Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc etc takes less than 5 seconds. Downloading and installing, even on a 56k dialup, come on. 15 minutes tops.

Really worth the lawsuit? No, it's not.

The EU needs to stop *****-footing around. Mandate that all Europeans must use a true European browser, Opera. The government always knows best.

Yep, and MS should pull out of the EU. Force those EU suckers to run Opera on their Linux computers. Hah. They'll be crying within a week.

Raa said,
Yep, and MS should pull out of the EU. Force those EU suckers to run Opera on their Linux computers. Hah. They'll be crying within a week.

Yes, MS will indeed be crying lots if they pull out of the EU, because their sales will take a clear nosedive then.
Also, if they go, they won't be able to come back because people will find out they can do their every day tasks just as well with Opera, Linux and Open Office.

Lord Ba'al said,
Yes, MS will indeed be crying lots if they pull out of the EU, because their sales will take a clear nosedive then.
Also, if they go, they won't be able to come back because people will find out they can do their every day tasks just as well with Opera, Linux and Open Office.

Uhhh.

What? 90% of the computers in America and Asia aren't logo'd with that familiar multicolored sticker? Ignorance.

Yeah, sure, people can do that stuff in linux.


Some of us like plug and play, and the rest of the world doesn't have time to be tweaking and coding and editing.

Microsoft wouldn't be hurt by a nosedive. it'd take several nukes before they start panicking.

I would have understood this in the past when you couldn't realistically uninstall IE, but now that you can (at least in the upcoming 7) I see no reason to persue this.

they dont care , they went removed from windows installation

actually the care about $$$$$ rolling into there pockets !

So you're saying all the IE libraries can be removed in Win 7? What about Windows Help that relies on IE components? What about Steam that uses IE as it's shell to run?

No. MS are not going (nor are able to) remove IE from Windows. It's part of it, we have to live with that now.

artzm said,
MS needs to say **** you to the EU, stop selling there and within a month, the EU will be asking them to come back.

No. Microsoft will suck it up and will be forced to lick EU's balls because the EU is too large a market for them to lose to competitors.

I'm looking forward to the EU mandating they offer alternative operating systems. Why stop at browsers?

And what's the BFD about the browsers, anyways? Does the EU think that IE is Microsoft's cash cow? I could understand the EU saying you have to offer computers with Windows on them, but **** like this just makes the EU look like petty, money grabbing douche bags.

Your right, why stop there. Why not make KFC tell customers that McDonalds is cheaper?

Same stupid **** - Why cater for the dumb - make them do some ****ing research

Shouldn't it be up to the individual companies to sell their own product on it's merits? Not get all buddy buddy with the EU and have them force Microsoft to do it?

These other browser companies are acting like whiny little brats because they want a new toy and aren't getting it.

I get what they are saying. Most companys wont put Linux on computers because it would be hard for the consumer to understand and frustrate them. What they are saying is that when you go to start up your computer for the first time you should be able to choose what browser you can use. That would mean fair competiton for all. Whoever has the better product would win.

Why just web browsers then? Obviously this should apply to every piece of software. I want to a choice for my calendar, for my email, for my word processor, for my calculator, for my picture viewer, for my media player, for my window manager. Hell, Windows should come with every piece of software that third parties make for it. And why stop at software? The fact that Windows is Windows is unfair. Windows should also come with every linux distro.

Memnochxx said,
Why just web browsers then? Obviously this should apply to every piece of software. I want to a choice for my calendar, for my email, for my word processor, for my calculator, for my picture viewer, for my media player, for my window manager. Hell, Windows should come with every piece of software that third parties make for it. And why stop at software? The fact that Windows is Windows is unfair. Windows should also come with every linux distro.

But why stop there? Windows shouldn't come on just dvd, it should also include floppy, Bluray, and regular CD versions of it in each package you buy.

Recon415 said,
But why stop there? Windows shouldn't come on just dvd, it should also include floppy, Bluray, and regular CD versions of it in each package you buy.

... but why stop there? Windows needs to come on Laser-Disk and Beta-max... and punch cards.

RAID 0 said,
... but why stop there? Windows needs to come on Laser-Disk and Beta-max... and punch cards.

Why stop there? Shouldn't there be a paperback version of Windows? HEY! What about a flipbook version?
"Dad, Windows just crashed!" "Just turn the book over again son."

LOL

RAID 0 said,
... but why stop there? Windows needs to come on Laser-Disk and Beta-max... and punch cards.

... but why stop there? The fact that it's on PC and Mac only is anti-competitive against other hardware manufacturers! Windows needs to be available for my PS3, Wii, TV, Toaster, Microwave, Kettle and my Nintendo 64. Oh, and don't forget my 1980s Walkman.

Ok now Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and IE have an advantage over all other browsers, and Windows users get ****ed off as their OOBE is runined.

Yes microsoft did bad in the past, yea fine them (knowing the EU they want a nice holiday so will set a 'record fine')

Firefox is doing well against IE which shows MS tactics didnt work.

IE since Vista can be totally replaced (even if it stays installed) and only badly coded applications will open it.

If a user isnt computer savvy enough to replace IE then would giving them an option of what one to install would only annoy these users.

Windows 7 has IE as a uninstallable application, If they didnt provide IE then no one could get any other browser

Microsoft no longer forces OEMs that they have to include IE (i believe the US courts stopped this) so OEMs could distribute another browser but only MS and Google probably have the funds to make this worthwhile to the OEM's, and would the OEMS want to spend time replacing IE on their systems?

Once again EU showing anti-US and anti-Microsoft bacy attitude, if you can't compete sue to death, give me a break EU. Lets boycott EU, oh I am ready. EU can have Madonna and Gweneth.

Although it doesnt make sense the stuff the EU is doing, its clever on the EU parts and bring huge amounts of money from the US into the EU, Microsoft should not let it happen, and the simplest solution is Microsoft should get EU approval on products prior to release therefore preventing any fines. (eg. here you go here's windows 7 - any issues please tell us else we presume you are happy that it coplies with all EU rules)

Boycotting the EU is stupid - as

mmck said,
....and bring huge amounts of money from the US into the EU....

Lets not forget that a large amount of that "money from the US" actually came from EU consumers in the first place

mmck said,
Although it doesnt make sense the stuff the EU is
Boycotting the EU is stupid - as
It's actually smarter than you think. It would cause the EU economy to shrink drastically. You pull a billion dollars worth of sales out every year, and someone's going to be upset. Not to mention all the people that would most likely start importing Windows lol

Raa said,
It's actually smarter than you think. It would cause the EU economy to shrink drastically. You pull a billion dollars worth of sales out every year, and someone's going to be upset. Not to mention all the people that would most likely start importing Windows lol

If they pulled out the EU - to start with wIndows would just be imported or pirated, then the money doesnt disappear if people don't buy windows - they will spend it elsewhere with a bigger chance of the majority of that money staying in the EU.

Raa said,
It's actually smarter than you think. It would cause the EU economy to shrink drastically. You pull a billion dollars worth of sales out every year, and someone's going to be upset. Not to mention all the people that would most likely start importing Windows lol


Ohh mannn....you got the EU thereeee!!1!!one!!


It's the most retarded thing a large company could do. You know how big the EU is? Probably half of Microsoft's market is there.

If they pull out of the EU, Microsoft will probably file for bankruptcy or will have to massively downsize, which means NO WINDOWS 8 FOR YOU! lol

mmck said,

If they pulled out the EU - to start with wIndows would just be imported or pirated, then the money doesnt disappear if people don't buy windows - they will spend it elsewhere with a bigger chance of the majority of that money staying in the EU.

If Microsoft stops selling Windows in the EU they will still have to enforce their piracy laws.

GreyWolfSC said,
If Microsoft stops selling Windows in the EU they will still have to enforce their piracy laws.

Just like they do now for music? In many european countries no-one has actually even been prosecuted for personal downloading. What would the EU benefit from enforcing such mesaures - huge extra costs at monitoring / enforcing etc. with little to no benefit.

This litigation makes no sense because there is no way to satisfy the demands of the EU. They're just setting Microsoft up for more fines in the future.

An EU spokesperson said that if the regulator rules against Microsoft, any remedy 'would be based on the fundamental principle of unbiased choice.'

Unbiased choice means that the user either gets to choose from ALL available browsers, or is presented with no list of options at all. The first is clearly absurd - any list that any party can create would be obscenely long, and outdated, which invites more fines for not being in full compliance. The second is equally absurd, because it intentionally cripples the product of one single company in a field where it has competitors. Its like demanding that one bike company sell its bikes with no tires, or one microwave company sell its products without power cords. Doesn't make sense.

If this passes, I would like to see OS X and any other OS that comes preinstalled with a browser have the same restriction placed on it. There is no reason that such a restriction should be limited to a single company.

They could just add this browser selector to the Windows N versions that currently come with no media player. We all know how well those versions sell.

This is stupid. I don't think anyone really cares what browser comes pre-installed.

And if Microsoft lose, where is this gunna end?

also, what about apple? are they gunna get the EU moaning at them as well? i doubt it.

Apple's too small to worry about. They want money not justification. And they want their browser makret shares to increase, so making Mac users have a choice wouldn't make a diff.

A software company being forced to show competing software in its products?

Retarded.

Sorry, but really... At first, some of the arguments against Microsoft were semi legitimate, i.e. Microsoft being required to provide appropriate documentation to competitors

... but this? No. This **** is getting out of hand. What's next, Microsoft is supposed to provide users an option to install Linux instead of Windows?

dead.cell said,
^ That doesn't make sense...

Burger King's Whopper mate, he said McD forced to advertise for Big Mac, well they do since it is their product, a Whopper is a rival product.

And don't forget, McDonalds would have to show information about each burger, and why a customer should choose one over the other. Oh, and i'm sure it has to be un-biased.


What a crock. MS should just flip the EU off and pull out of the market.

Raa said,
And don't forget, McDonalds would have to show information about each burger, and why a customer should choose one over the other. Oh, and i'm sure it has to be un-biased.


What a crock. MS should just flip the EU off and pull out of the market.


(snipped)
That will be like China stopping exports of it's goods to the USA....not gonna happen.

In that case, chrome and firefox should not default to google search and offer an alternative search method, also google should be prohibited from advertising chrome via google ads and youtube.

Linux should also have the option to be bundled with firefox, chrome or opera and not set firefox as default, OSX should offer the other 3 as well.

the eu are out of the bloody minds

They will argue that installing chrome you are making a choice to also apply google. Similarly to what Apple would argue with iPhone OS etc.

I don't see why Microsoft don't argue this also. "You are purchasing a whole" and the browsers is part of the OS.

andrewbares said,
I agree, Chrome is creating a monopoly by setting Google as the default search engine!!! I call for a lawsuit!

You can't be a monopoly with a .00001% marketshare.

Beastage said,
In that case, chrome and firefox should not default to google search and offer an alternative search method, also google should be prohibited from advertising chrome via google ads and youtube.

Linux should also have the option to be bundled with firefox, chrome or opera and not set firefox as default, OSX should offer the other 3 as well.

the eu are out of the bloody minds

Umm you have this option with linux. Just depends on what distro you choose, hell with linux you can even choose which software you want from the get go.

Mrs_Angel_D said,
Umm you have this option with linux. Just depends on what distro you choose, hell with linux you can even choose which software you want from the get go.

Indeed!

I am not sure why people keep dragging Linux into this discussion, except to show how little they know about it!

:P

I don't know about that. But how about this... is Google using its web properties-- including its search and YouTube-- to advertise Google Chrome an anti-trust violation? It's using its monopoly in one arena to advance marketshare in another arena.

I'm making the point not because I want an anti-trust suit to be filed against Google, but because almost all people who browse the web will go to Google sites and see advertisements for Chrome. This allows Chrome to compete with IE. Mozilla's large open source campaign allows them to compete with IE.

What has Opera even done to try to compete, except on the mobile front?

Yay, the usual copout excuse: "use linux, it solves everything! it even cures cancer!"

If you have nothing more constructive than OS bashing and being a linux fanboy, please stay out of this discussion, kthx.

LiquidSolstice said,
Yay, the usual copout excuse: "use linux, it solves everything! it even cures cancer!"

If you have nothing more constructive than OS bashing and being a linux fanboy, please stay out of this discussion, kthx.


You just don't seem to be able to read with comprehension, do you?

No one here has said anything about Linux solving one single item. Nor about bashing OSes.

Beastage stated that Linux should be held to the same standards with regards to bundling firefox. He was shown that his statement on Linux was incorrect.

kthxbye

markjensen said,

You just don't seem to be able to read with comprehension, do you?

No one here has said anything about Linux solving one single item. Nor about bashing OSes.

Beastage stated that Linux should be held to the same standards with regards to bundling firefox. He was shown that his statement on Linux was incorrect.

kthxbye

Not true, the most popular linux distros bundle firefox with google search, I claim that in the linux market, firefox and google are a monopoly.

Beastage said,
Not true, the most popular linux distros bundle firefox with google search, I claim that in the linux market, firefox and google are a monopoly.

You can claim whatever you like, including that the moon really is made of green cheese.

It doesn't make it true.

Your claim meets 0 our of 3 of the points I made before (in a post below here).

Ubuntu comes with 2 different web browsers by default. I'm sure other distros are going to include even more (I was surprised I couldn't find a CLI browser installed, but I might have missed one)

Oh god! Not this again!
No thank you EU! Means more added stuff!

God dam browser companys whining over market share! Yet ya don't see google getting whined at

You all realize that the iPhone is about 4x worse than Microsoft???

You can't even install another web broswer on the iPhone, and they're calling Windows a browser monoply? This is rediculous. Everyone instinctively hates on Microsoft while Apple is the one's doing shady business practices.

M2Ys4U said,
Windows has a gigantic market share, the iPhone OS does not.

These rules nonetheless should be applied to all. Apple seem to apply "lock in" rather than "basic needs preinstalled" though.

andrewbares said,
You all realize that the iPhone is about 4x worse than Microsoft???

You can't even install another web broswer on the iPhone, and they're calling Windows a browser monoply? This is rediculous. Everyone instinctively hates on Microsoft while Apple is the one's doing shady business practices.


You're analogy is flawed. As M2Ys4U mentioned, the iPhone doesn't hold a monopoly on the mobile phone market.

And no, the rules should not apply to all the OS developers. The rules are there to prevent companys with a monopoly abusing that position to further the business interests of that company's other products.

Having Safari on OSX and the iPhone has very little effect on the market share of Safari. The same goes for Firefox in all the Linux distros. However having IE in Windows causes a massive difference in the market share figures of IE than would otherwise be the case.

All that being said, I personally prefer the simplicity of having one browser installed when I install Windows, and then being free to choose. I should not be forced to make a choice about which browser to choose when I install Windows. Microsoft being forced to implement this change is wrong.

The EU (of which I am a reluctant member) hasn't answered one basic question... they say that the majority of people don't know enough about computers to go out and find another web browser. And I agree. However how are that same group of people supposed to make a choice about which browser to install when Windows is being installed? Without access to a browser they wouldn't even be able to do the research necessary to choose.

What Microsoft should be asked to do instead is to install IE by default on installation, but then after Windows is installed offer an application or even a custom webpage to explain the virtues of each browser and give users a one-click ability to download and install that browser. At the same time the user should be asked if they want to keep IE installed or not.

I think that would satisfy the EU and be less bothersome than the current suggestion by the EU.

tunafish said,
Oh god! Not this again!
No thank you EU! Means more added stuff!

God dam browser companys whining over market share! Yet ya don't see google getting whined at


A long time ago I wrote a reply to a similar question... I'm very glad the EU is starting to force Microsoft to do what is needed...

Frazell Thomas said,
You're example isn't the same... If GM decides to put a CD player in their cars they will most likely buy those CD players from a third party supplier. Those various companies could then compete to win GMs business and competition still goes fine. A better example would be if GM had a 90+% marketshare in the US car market and they purchased Firestone so they could produce their own tires. That would be anti-competitive because Goodyear wouldn't have a market for its product and GM could stifle innovation and raise prices (on tires).

The argument really is what the government should be doing about Microsoft's monopoly position. As much as I like Microsoft I'm not sure they should be allowed to make an OS, without strict regulation. In my honest opinion OSs are a natural monopoly. There is competition in the sense that their is alternative OSs, but since a user can't just switch from Windows to Linux to Mac OS to Unix like they can from Ford to GM to Toyota they are not direct competitors. There needs to be really heavy regulation of MS, and the OS market in general, for that reason...

Also, there is many valid reasons for third party developers to get upset when MS decides to integrate competing technologies into Windows. For them, it kills their business and that is reason enough for any business to be upset, but it also harms consumers. Microsoft tends to integrate features into Windows and then drop the ball on those technologies. It would be better for consumers, and the software industry, if Microsoft made their solutions component based (which they have started to do) and used bundled software. If done right you'd be in a situation where Windows ships with Zip compression from WinZIP, but can be replaced with better compression tools from RAR Labs.

The guts of how a system like that can be implemented to exceed what is already available is up for discussion. I think Microsoft could start by redoing their software marketplace. Instead of charging developers loads of money to be listed they should replace it with a community based site where it is free to get software listed. Then integrate that information into Windows. So when you try to open a RAR file and no program is installed for it you're shown a list of software options from the software marketplace. The software is ranked highest by the number of positive reviews by the community. This would do wonders for the software community and would increase software innovation immensely.

But Microsoft won't go that route without government forcing sadly.

This is a repost of a comment I made years ago that went largely un-noticed.
http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...ost&p=589045778

TCLN Ryster said,
The rules are there to prevent companys with a monopoly abusing that position to further the business interests of that company's other products.

The rules are designed specifically against intentional anti-competitive behavior by monopolies. That is, abuse of their position. Abuse, not them doing something their competitors don't like; abuse. If Apple makes an OS with a browser, there's an argument Microsoft making an OS with a browser isn't intentionally anti-competitive. They're just competing. They're being competitive. So it does matter what Apple is allowed to do.

Secondly, these companies seem to never have to prove that Microsoft's actions caused them to lose market share. Real should have to prove that its player is doing poorly is because of WMP being in the OS, instead of it being a bad player. Opera should have to prove that its browser is doing poorly because of IE being installed and not it being an un-marketed, poorly known browser. Mozilla is doing a lot better than Opera. Mozilla seems a lot less interested in lawsuits than Opera is. When Opera has a significant marketing campaign, let us know.

Frazell Thomas said,
That would be anti-competitive because Goodyear wouldn't have a market for its product and GM could stifle innovation and raise prices (on tires).

What if GM had a 90% marketshare and purchased Firestone, to compete with Toyota which one year decided to make its own tires. In either case, lets say, both of them decided to make tires internally because they found it to create a better product.

The intent behind the company's actions matters. In anti-trust law, it's not so much the effect of the actions that's prosecuted, but the intent behind them. Because its the intent which determines whether the action is anti-competitive--designed to reduce competition. If it's designed to reduce competition, that's what makes it an abuse of the monopoly position.

At least in the US.

In any case, if Microsoft is held accountable for including a browser in their OS, I'd rather them be forced to adhere to standards than require competitive products in their OS. Why? Who decides what products get put in. If I make a browser, X Browser, that 5 people use, why can't I make a case to force Microsoft to include it in their OS alongside Firefox and Opera. If every competing browser can't go in, then no competing browser should go in.

TCLN Ryster said,
You're analogy is flawed. As M2Ys4U mentioned, the iPhone doesn't hold a monopoly on the mobile phone market.

And by that same token, Microsoft doesn't hold a monopoly on the OS market because they have competition in the OS space.


And for the record....Microsoft shouldn't have to show options for a competing product. If Opera (the main complainerwhiner over the browser) would put more R&D into their browser, maybe, just maybe, they'd get more market share with a better product.

tunafish said,
Oh god! Not this again!
No thank you EU! Means more added stuff!

God dam browser companys whining over market share! Yet ya don't see google getting whined at

There is nother browser for the iPhone. Altho you only can get it via cydia.

brianshapiro said,
What if GM had a 90% marketshare and purchased Firestone, to compete with Toyota which one year decided to make its own tires. In either case, lets say, both of them decided to make tires internally because they found it to create a better product.

The intent behind the company's actions matters. In anti-trust law, it's not so much the effect of the actions that's prosecuted, but the intent behind them. Because its the intent which determines whether the action is anti-competitive--designed to reduce competition. If it's designed to reduce competition, that's what makes it an abuse of the monopoly position.

At least in the US.


Realistically, doing business is intent. The ultimate goal of every business is to do better than your competitor and in turn put that competitor out of business... That's why it is always hard for any company with monopolistic status to argue its actions aren't anti-competitive.

In any case, if Microsoft is held accountable for including a browser in their OS, I'd rather them be forced to adhere to standards than require competitive products in their OS. Why? Who decides what products get put in. If I make a browser, X Browser, that 5 people use, why can't I make a case to force Microsoft to include it in their OS alongside Firefox and Opera. If every competing browser can't go in, then no competing browser should go in.


My post was a bit aged, 2 years or so now, and since it went largely un-noticed I didn't go into detail as much as I should have. My thoughts float around Microsoft including a YAST like system in Windows. Where they aren't really choosing what apps to bundle at all as non are really bundled. The user would be able to easily browse, download, and install the apps of their choice.

I can see it coming as it is the new standard in the mobile world. And, as I hinted at in my post, the only way it will hit in the desktop world is if government mandates it. If the EU mandates it I can see this idea coming to fruition in some form.

In reality, we the consumers would win in that scenario. Finding applications would be a lot easier and competition would do what it does best.

Frazell Thomas said,
Realistically, doing business is intent. The ultimate goal of every business is to do better than your competitor and in turn put that competitor out of business... That's why it is always hard for any company with monopolistic status to argue its actions aren't anti-competitive.

Or to respond to a competitor that's trying to put you out of business.

The point of anti-trust laws is to keep competition in the market so that companies can continue innovating, producing good products, and keeping prices reasonable. What I see is that that sometimes anti-trust laws can be abused by competitors who want to avoid improving their products and actually trying to compete. In that case, I think the competitor is acting in an anti-competitive way. Thats what I think Real did, thats what I think Netscape did. I think Opera has a decent product, but its not trying to compete.

If anti-trust laws were interpreted the way you're saying that would mean that nothing included in Windows--whether the file browser, or taskbar, or desktop wallpaper switcher, would be safe from being an anti-trust violation. The people who think Windows should be reduced to the kernel only, like *nix would be right.

But I don't think that view would be legally accepted in court. And I don't think the view that bundling IE is a violation should be legally accepted either. But it is, because Microsoft's competitors are being noisy.

I don't know if Windows having a YAST system would really be liked by consumers at all. Obviously Mac users buy their Macs because everything is really neatly bundled for them. But whatever is good, I don't think the law should require it.

M2Ys4U said,
Windows has a gigantic market share, the iPhone OS does not.

Why does Apple have to "approve" every app that a dev submits? I know for a fact they turn away apps that they don't like.

Just like how some job applicants are turned away because of their race. No one really says the real reason, but everyone knows why.

mmck said,
These rules nonetheless should be applied to all.

the difference when it comes to microsoft and its dominant share of browsers is that they get to introduce new 'standards' into IE, which web page makers would then follow because it gives them an advantage on the majority of visitors

TCLN Ryster said,
they say that the majority of people don't know enough about computers to go out and find another web browser. And I agree. However how are that same group of people supposed to make a choice about which browser to install when Windows is being installed? Without access to a browser they wouldn't even be able to do the research necessary to choose.

These are my feelings also.

TCLN Ryster said,
What Microsoft should be asked to do instead is to install IE by default on installation, but then after Windows is installed offer an application or even a custom webpage to explain the virtues of each browser and give users a one-click ability to download and install that browser. At the same time the user should be asked if they want to keep IE installed or not.

A customs webpage explaining the virtues of each browser? Who would write it? Microsoft? I think it would be impossible to make any explanation of each browser unbiased.

brianshapiro said,
Or to respond to a competitor that's trying to put you out of business.

The point of anti-trust laws is to keep competition in the market so that companies can continue innovating, producing good products, and keeping prices reasonable. What I see is that that sometimes anti-trust laws can be abused by competitors who want to avoid improving their products and actually trying to compete. In that case, I think the competitor is acting in an anti-competitive way. Thats what I think Real did, thats what I think Netscape did. I think Opera has a decent product, but its not trying to compete.

If anti-trust laws were interpreted the way you're saying that would mean that nothing included in Windows--whether the file browser, or taskbar, or desktop wallpaper switcher, would be safe from being an anti-trust violation. The people who think Windows should be reduced to the kernel only, like *nix would be right.

But I don't think that view would be legally accepted in court. And I don't think the view that bundling IE is a violation should be legally accepted either. But it is, because Microsoft's competitors are being noisy.

I don't know if Windows having a YAST system would really be liked by consumers at all. Obviously Mac users buy their Macs because everything is really neatly bundled for them. But whatever is good, I don't think the law should require it.


That is the tough life of a monopolist. The company with monopoly power is subject to strict rules while his competition is not.

I think IE gets so much flack, as does WMP, as they are not needed parts of the OS in the way that a file explorer is...

A YAST like system, I think, would be loved by consumers. It would make finding programs to fill a need very easy and keep microsoft's neck off the line.

LiquidSolstice said,
Why does Apple have to "approve" every app that a dev submits? I know for a fact they turn away apps that they don't like.

Just like how some job applicants are turned away because of their race. No one really says the real reason, but everyone knows why.

Not only do they reject apps they don't like, they reject apps that might compete with features they haven't even added to the OS yet. That is definitely anti-competitive.

Frazell Thomas said,

A long time ago I wrote a reply to a similar question... I'm very glad the EU is starting to force Microsoft to do what is needed...


This is a repost of a comment I made years ago that went largely un-noticed.
http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...ost&p=589045778


GM does precisely what your "what-if" situation postulates. If you buy a new GM car that has a sound system in it, you're getting an AC/Delco OEM stereo, which is owned by GM.

GreyWolfSC said,



GM does precisely what your "what-if" situation postulates. If you buy a new GM car that has a sound system in it, you're getting an AC/Delco OEM stereo, which is owned by GM.


They are only allowed to do so because they don't have a monopoly on the car market. A great example of vertical integration being considered anti-competitive for a monopoly is the AT&T breakup.

TCLN Ryster said,

You're analogy is flawed. As M2Ys4U mentioned, the iPhone doesn't hold a monopoly on the mobile phone market.

And no, the rules should not apply to all the OS developers. The rules are there to prevent companys with a monopoly abusing that position to further the business interests of that company's other products.

Having Safari on OSX and the iPhone has very little effect on the market share of Safari. The same goes for Firefox in all the Linux distros. However having IE in Windows causes a massive difference in the market share figures of IE than would otherwise be the case.

All that being said, I personally prefer the simplicity of having one browser installed when I install Windows, and then being free to choose. I should not be forced to make a choice about which browser to choose when I install Windows. Microsoft being forced to implement this change is wrong.

The EU (of which I am a reluctant member) hasn't answered one basic question... they say that the majority of people don't know enough about computers to go out and find another web browser. And I agree. However how are that same group of people supposed to make a choice about which browser to install when Windows is being installed? Without access to a browser they wouldn't even be able to do the research necessary to choose.

What Microsoft should be asked to do instead is to install IE by default on installation, but then after Windows is installed offer an application or even a custom webpage to explain the virtues of each browser and give users a one-click ability to download and install that browser. At the same time the user should be asked if they want to keep IE installed or not.

I think that would satisfy the EU and be less bothersome than the current suggestion by the EU.



I think everyone keeps forgetting ITS A BROWSER!! Who gives a S&$%@t?!?!?!