European Union vs Microsoft, Opera - The war continues

It is known that the European Commission(EC) is considering forcing Microsoft to bundle rival browsers alongside IE in the Windows OS. It is likely that this is based on a complaint filed by Opera which condemned Microsoft for browser monopoly and urged Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards.

In an interview with The Register, Hakon Wium Lie, Opera Software CTO, outlined 2 possible options in his view that could work if EC makes it mandatory for Microsoft to deliver browsers of user's choice. He suggested that either:

  • An Automatic Update download agent to get user's preference before the browser gets installed, (or)
  • Display the available range of browsers and get user preference to run a specific browser.

Lie said that he believed only a legal ruling will enforce genuine web standards on IE. The new IE 8 RC1 has two rendering engines, one to view sites built using current web standards and another to view legacy sites built for the non-standards compliant versions of Microsoft's browser. IE 8 also requires a tag to be included in the websites so they can instruct the browser what to do. According to Lie, this will require other browser makers like Opera to include separate rendering engines and code to replicate the behavior of IE 8 for web sites which will make the browsers complex and slow. Further development will also be slow as only Microsoft has access to the code for its rendering engines.

Every OS, including Linux, ships with a default browser and it's the users choice to install any other browser. Users may use the default browser to download and install their other favorite browsers. But, it looks like Opera wants that choice to be given to the users in regard to Browsers, as if the users currently don't have an option to install other browsers at all. Certainly, many people will end up using the default browser installed in the OS, but this doesn't mean that they are not allowed to download and install other browsers.

This is the similar scenario with Microsoft Windows. Internet Explorer comes installed by default, and users who wish to use Internet Explorer can continue using so, and, users who wish to download Firefox or Chrome or Opera, can install those too.

How different is Apple Mac OS X? Safari comes installed by default and users still have the freedom to download and install their other favorite browsers. The same is with Ubuntu Linux, where Firefox comes installed by default.

Well, one possible solution for Microsoft as Opera suggests, would be to suggest users other browsers. But, why should Microsoft who owns its OS do so? It's different when OEM vendors give a choice to the users. For example, Dell can provide a suitable interface to the user allowing him to install his favorite browser, but I don't think it is Microsoft's job to suggest user a competitor's product than its own product. Microsoft has already clarified that computer users and OEMs are free to run any web browsing software on Windows.

If the EC wins this battle, fills it's account with loads of cash and forces Microsoft to bundle competitor's browsers into its OS, what about Apple, Linux or any other OS in that regard? Will Opera file a complaint against them too?

What do you think of Opera's strategy? Is it good enough to bring peace in the browser market?

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LTD said,
Place the bar low enough and everyone does.


It wouldn't matter if they did because if other companies really wanted to be competitive, they would have already made huge advancements like Microsoft has.

LTD said,
Place the bar low enough and everyone does.

Oh, and your company innovated by using an open-source OS core that other people built for free?

Microsoft, IE, and "innovate" do not sit well together. They really haven't done anything with their browser that proves it to be better than the rest. In fact, IE7 seemed to be much more of a catch up game for them.

Now, if you want to talk about other Microsoft products, then sure, the word innovate may indeed work. Office is absolutely wonderful, and Windows 7... well, you've seen all the articles. People want it.

This is really pointless to be honest, why would the EU want to have IE removed. I was talking about this a while ago during one of my podcasts, if they had it removed it would: 1. Cause system issues, Windows is tightly integrated with the Trident Engine, which is the backbone for IE. 2. A lot of people don't use alternative browsers, if it's removed, those people wouldn't be access to the internet because they think IT IS the internet (which isn't true.)

Opera is so ****ing stupid. Lets say they get their way. People who use IE will continue to use IE. People who use Firefox will continue to use firefox. They will not change just cause they are handed a choice. Its absurd. Opera's market share would never go up. ALSO, I would like to see opera try this with Apple and see what happens.. Im sure Apple would ask them to go **** Themselves. lol good luck opera.

This is retarded. How is this any different from other software? They include Windows Media Player, Paint, and Outlook Express too, so the people who are not tech savvy enough to use another browser will also use that software by default, so then MS has to include VLC, Gimp and Thunderbird too right?

Oh and MS also includes their own firewall? Monopoly, i tell you! Let them include Comodo and Zonealarm too. Oh and MS also includes their own defragmentation software! Microsoft also should be forced to include Acronis and O&O software!

How can MS be so shameless taking other companies market share? Tsk tsk MS.

I can't believe there are so many angry people here about Opera doing this. First of all, they are not wining, they're just doing business. Get this complaint through and business may soar in Europe. Don't get it through and things remain the same. Opera has all to win and nothing to lose.

Practical considerations on how it should be done is not so important, just find a way to make the consumer actively make a decision about which browsers they want to use.

Also it is a service to the public, most people should be much better of using Firefox or Opera.

Finally it ads pressure on Microsoft to provide a better browser than their current misserable version.

So don't be angry, no reason I think

If only Microsoft support all standards, it breaks all the statement of opera about this complaint.

From a developer view i would agree with opera, what microsoft its doing its harming everyone bundling a browser in which it promotes its own thing vs standards set and accepted by everyone makes work harder for us, Harm the consumers in general and bring a more unfair advantage to the competition.

eilegz said,
If only Microsoft support all standards, it breaks all the statement of opera about this complaint.

From a developer view i would agree with opera, what microsoft its doing its harming everyone bundling a browser in which it promotes its own thing vs standards set and accepted by everyone makes work harder for us, Harm the consumers in general and bring a more unfair advantage to the competition.


+1

I don't agree with the idea that MS has a web browser monopoly. I'm not sure I agree that MS has any kind of monopoly anymore. Majority of market is not the same as having a monopoly.

So , Some people want MS to be forced to supply other competitors products on their products... which would mean if its coming with MS product, MS should offer support for it as well.... STUPID!!! MS should not have to put anything but their own product on their own product. And if they add other stuff to it, they will most likely also be the ones to have to handle most of any technical difficulties which could arise from those other products not working correctly.
This is nothing MS should have to even think about. The EU is stupid. MS needs to just say , "F OFF" for once and take a stance. Yes, a business is there to make money, but also show some dignity. If they pass this, I'd just say screw off EU and have ya learn a lesson of telling me what to do with my product. I'm sure MS could do just fine for a bit without selling some new windows versions in Europe. They would go crawling back after a year or so with no working good OS....
This is like saying ALL car makers have to start using each others parts, that way its fair for everyone to sell a car or at least a part. Or, its like saying Mcdonalds sells more frys, so now they have to start offering Burger Kings frys so that BK can get some business. GAAWD THIS LOGIC IS SO STUPID IT HURTS TO THINK ABOUT.

I don't see a problem with including other browsers. Memory is not a problem in todays world, and the average user at least knows how to uninstall desired browsers if they wish to.

The only reason Microsoft would not want this is because they know most users do not know of other browsers, and would love to keep it that way. If Microsoft had confidence in their browser they would not fear this challenge. Yet they do, very much so apparently.

So I guess even Microsoft thinks IE sucks. Interesting.

thenonhacker said,
Enjoy your wishful thinking.

Oh BTW, Opera sucks. Firefox FTW!


1. Wishful? It was pretty logical reasoning, and if you'd like to disprove it I'm all ears. Knowledge is always an asset.
2. I don't use Opera, so...

I say that MS should make a special version of Windows 7 that excludes all browsers, including theirs and sell it over in the EU. I also don't understand that if MS does include other browsers as an option, why EU could fine MS at at that point since they would not be non competitive.

I hope the EU does this across the board for all Operating Systems sold within their borders. OSX, Win, Linux... any and all should be forced to do this.

It really seems like Opera isn't getting the downloads they want or expected and their crying and trying to force MS to install it for them.

Guess they could just make a little tool to download the latest install for Firefox, Google or Opera. If they go that route, they should do so without any default selected and have the order of options be random each time. Don't want someone crying over another option being listed over theirs.

But really, what are the sales figures for the "N" versions of Windows in the EU? Does the buying public even give a ****?

They need to sue the EU for lost money on making windows N editions, yes they lost money because they made something no one in the EU buys.

I'm not with MS or Opera, instead i want FF to be included...
MS is a monopoly and there are some billion ppl out there that don't know there is another browser or another media player and so on. Opera on the other hand is ridicullus, it's loosing share from the newcomer Google Chrome, it's Opera Mini for iPhone was rejected and makes a desparate last try to show us that is here!

Doomangel said,
I'm not with MS or Opera, instead i want FF to be included...
MS is a monopoly and there are some billion ppl out there that don't know there is another browser or another media player and so on. Opera on the other hand is ridicullus, it's loosing share from the newcomer Google Chrome, it's Opera Mini for iPhone was rejected and makes a desparate last try to show us that is here!

Firefox has got way more chance of being included than Opera has, Opera's market share is tiny so the attention it gets is also tiny despite te fact it launched the complaint.

Now I have heard it all. This is just retarded. Its like asking Burger King to start selling Big Macs by default. I hope microsoft doesnt fold to this.

While I personally prefer Firefox to IE, it is Microsoft's product and therefore they should not be required to include anything they do not want to include. If I were to create my own operating system or program I sure would not want the government getting involved and telling me what to include.

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