back to article EU says Microsoft violated law with IE on Windows

Microsoft has violated European competition law by including Internet Explorer with Windows, according to the European Commission. The Commission said other browsers are prevented from competing with IE because Windows includes Microsoft's own browser. Furthermore, the remedies put in place under the US government's landmark …

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Anonymous Coward

EU takes on MS

Microsoft's Internet Explorer wouldn't have many users if Microsoft didn't have the Windows distribution channel. It makes sense to challenge the tie between the OS and the browser. MS has a Windows monopoly for historical reasons, but using it to force-feed innocent users may be illegal. Also, the high percentage of IE users inside corporate firewalls -- users that are rarely counted in statistics -- have made it impossible for new web standards to take hold. As such, IE has hindered progress for a decade and it's about time someone took them on.

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Anti Competition

So I take it OSX will no longer be provided with Safari installed, and Ubuntu will have Firefox taken out too?

Really though, this is just bad news for users. The average user couldn't care less if they use IE or Firefox or whatever. Finding a copy of a browser without a browser will just become another thing the end user has to work out how to do. Are we going to go back to ISP CD's? Getting browsers from cover disks on magazines?

They're free products anyway, so who the hell cares? Office 2007 has a RRP of up to £600, so I don't think Micorosft care too much about IE with an RRP of £0. As they're free they're not really stealing anyones money. If MS had bundled, say, an exact Photoshop rip off for free with Windows, then THAT would be anti competition.

This ruling is just nit picking and stupidness. If you want Firefox or Chrome or whatever, you just download them. It only takes a minute. Most probably you'll use IE to do it, so what's the problem?

Maybe they should have a program that lets you pick a browser bundled with windows, like with the Search Providers. At least then you could get a browser over the internet.

(I know there are other ways of getting a browser over the internet without a browser. I don't think any of them are going to be suitable for the average user.)

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Happy

Did I read that correctly?

"Opera alleged Microsoft was continuing to abuse its dominant position by tying its browser to Windows and by not following web protocols."

Wow! Are the EU going to insist that Microsoft follows international standards?

Is the world coming to an end?

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Yes, mine is the one with Ubuntu 8.10 desktop release DVD in the pocket.....

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Go

Okay, so does this apply to Apple?

Safari gets bundled with OS X, as the default browser. So unless we have double standards, that's not cool?

Or – is this one of the cases where there are different rules to make it harder for the big guy, simply because they're the big guy, and we need no justification because that's just how we roll m*****f*****? (Not that I'm necessarily against that; but "because we say so and we're right" isn't generally a great argument for legislation, even if it's true. Too many people say that when they're wrong!)

Pseudo-philosophical arguments in a comment on an internet IT journal, complete with crass language and phraseology the author thinks is more hilarious than it really is? Oh yes.

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Black Helicopters

wah wah

wah wah

my epson printer came with epson print cartridges

wahhhhhh

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft has included IE with Windows since 1996...

...except in the U.S. where it is automatically started for any html-based information that is NOT directly accessed by opening a browser. OOPS!

Just goes to show how few teeth an anti-trust law has when your company is providing a substantial portion of the positive trade flow for a country...

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What the fuck?

Apple.. Safari?

Idiots man.... Need to start looking at the competition rathere than allowing the competition to win...

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it needs to go further then this

Alot of websites require internet exploder as the browser. Others are programmed in a manner that other browsers flat-out won't work in them. Theres gotta be anti-trust aimed at those as well since you know darn well Microsoft had it's dirty finger in those sites.

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Alert

how to download

im a little bit stumped here. if they didnt include IE then how the hell could you download your browser of choice? (yes i now us techies probably have installers on other drives but most people have one drive and one partition with a new install, they are going to have trouble getting online at all).

if they had to include a selection of browsers to choose from whats to stop the lawyers insisting they include every browser avaiable - now that would be messy.

do correct me if im wrong here and just totally missed the boat

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Gates Horns

So there is still that one question to answer...

If they don't have a browser installed as standard ...

... how exactly are they going to download a new browser to use?

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Nice.

so working on that logic, does that not mean that no operating system within the EU should be shipped with a 'default' interent browser? That includes MAC OS, and any flavour of linux.

thought not.

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Stop

Pointless

I don't understand this, every OS includes a browser, and what are people supposed to do when they install a copy of Windows that doesn't come with a browser? Go and download one!... oh wait.

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Yet is usage is declining...

Given that IE usage is declining, doesn't that show that competition is healthy? and ie's bundling isn't anything to waste taxpayers money on? They are making moves to make IE compatabile, surely that's the actual issue?

This is just pointless MS bashing.

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And the other OS?

So I assume Apple and the linux boys are going to be told not to include a browser as well then?

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Gates Halo

Title is required

And no-one complains that Safari is included as default with Mac OS? Or are they not important enough?

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Hang on...

If MS can't include an internet browser with Windows at start-up, how does the EU commission expect people to then go online and download the browser they want out of choice?

Surely it would be worse for the consumer to have to fart about with a 2nd machine, that already has IE/Firefox/Opera etc, download an installer file, and then copy it across to the new machine?

Waste of time.

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Blantant Euro xenophobia.

Let's face it, if this were a European operating system, not only would the company not be victimized in this way, they'd be getting all sorts of subsidies, and probably be told to throw in as many euro-apps as possible.

The hypocracy goes further. Will they be chasing Apple for bundling Safari with Mac, or even for bundling OSX with Macs? Both are as restrictive as Windows with IE. In the latter case, even more so as Apple give you no alternative - if you want OSX legally, you must have a Mac. Are they going to chase Linux distris for bundling hundreds of apps with the OS? No, of course not. The EU is trying to do the usual socialist 'idea' of punish the successful to allow the feeble to flourish - a benefit state for lesser platform developers. I don't mean in solely a technical sense, I refer to being able to provide both a well rounded product and a well managed business. Whether the Linux evangelists like it or not, there's no outfit beyond Apple (in recent years) and MS (who are in decline) who can deliver on both of these.

The worst thing is, these Eurocrats think they're doing me a favour. Idiots.

AC - because the Linux jihadists will firebomb my home and Apple fanboyz will flounce around going 'how very dare you'.....

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Pathetic

Have EU bureaucrats really nothing better to waste their time on than this outdated bullshit? Isn't competition law supposed to be applied to commercial competition anyway or does it apply to religious competition also? As far as I know, there aren't any PC Web browsers for sale anywhere, so who's loosing money because of Microsoft IE? Is it realistic to imagine that if MS wasn't including IE with windows that it would open up opportunities for others to sell browsers? I haven't used IE for years now but I also know that if my dad had to go off looking for a browser to install when he bought his PC that he still wouldn't be on the internet.

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Pick on something else

I understand people's complaints with the Microsoft Monopoly thing, but I think people need to pick a different horse to flog than IE. In today's computing world, complaining that they ship their own browser with their OS is rather like complaining that Ford fit their own design of windscreen to their cars. If they ship it without IE, then how are people going to get a copy of Firefox/Opera/Chrome/Insert-browser-name-here to use? Are they going to have to go to the nearest newsagent to buy something with a coverdisk? As far as I'm concerned, IE is a good place to start with Internet browsing, and as awareness of other browsers is steadily growing, then its dominance will fall. Other companies have built better browsers, and now people are flooding to their doors, integrated IE or not.

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MS only

Apple bundles the iPhone with Safari, and even attempted to block the installation of third party web browsers until recently

Apple bundles Mac OS with Safari (crap)

Nokia bundles their S60 with a webkit browser

Sony bundles the PSP and PS3 with a NetFront browser

etc.

etc.

etc.

I know everyone hates MS, but Jesus fucking Christ this is getting old.

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Interesting

Frankly this will be interesting as to how this will work. What do I do when I reinstall or buy a new computer with windows. Why I go straight to Internet Explorer and download Firefox. There is nobody insisting that IE is the browser mainly used it is just software included with your Install.

Frankly I would rather see the EU courts taking down EA and SecuROM than taking small and frankly pointless potshots at Microsoft just because they have some sort of Agenda encouraging other Operating Systems.

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And Apple

Will they be required to remove safari? (and not have their iTunes updater install it sureptitously on windows boxes)

How about linux ditro's not including Firefox then?

Enf of the day - fair's fair.

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Jobs Halo

What's the betting we don't see

a similar case for macs/safari.

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Stop

in violation since 1996

Microsoft is in violation of US Laws too.

And they know it.

Why do you think Microsoft lawyers told Bill Gates to stop using the b (bundle) word?

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Question:

How many users would be able to obtain a different browser, without IE being pre-installed ?

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Anonymous Coward

What a load of bull

Do the EU realise that people have a choice to install another browser? I can't see how it is being anti-competitive, MS are simply including useful utilities/programs so you can use your computer once you have the OS installed. If you wanted better, you always have the options of installing better software (i.e. IE->FF3, WMP->Winamp).

I don't know what Opera are complaining about. They have a low market share because frankly, their browser is awful (in my experience).

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Gates Halo

Confused...

ok according to this then aren't all current operating systems guilty of this then? Mac os x has safari, ubuntu and most linux distros have firefox or some other browser - aren't they bundling a browser as well?

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Coat

Bureaucracy at its best (worst?)

Seriously, don't know what's worse. M$ abusive stance or EU's pedantic bureaucracy. What's next? Adobe sues M$ because of Paint? Or one of the 10000 text editors makers sues on the grounds of bundling Notepad...

Been using Windoze since before said browser bundling. Have NOT been using IE for that long too.

Everyone had a choice, back then and now, most opted to using what was there, not because of this or that, but on account of plain laziness. Most were also clueless too...

Seriously, if the EC wants to do us a favor, sue M$ on the grounds of binding the browser to the OS in a totally unneeded way, and thus irresponsibly exposing users to a lot more problems than they should have.

Then again, what do i know, just a happy nLite user with a Windows so bare it even resembles just an OS... Coat, candle, prayer for a W7 version of nLite, no matter how squeaky clean M$ tell me it will be...

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Anonymous Coward

"committed to conducting its business in full compliance with European law"

Presumably they've paid in full the fines which the EU have imposed "in full compliance with European law" for anti-trust and similar violations then?

Oh, apparently not: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/07/microsoft_launches_ec_fine_appeal/

C'mon El Reg, put a bit of historical context around the press releases before you regurgitate them.

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Stop

Yeah well

I don't like M$ but I have to use it because customers use it ... but I do not use IE as a browser.

Next will be the time for M$ to remove their file explorer from the OS because some third party will whine ...

I think M$ should strip off File Explorer from their OS because frankly I cant tell the difference between IE and Explorer.

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AntiWHAT?

I never really understood this. What USE would a modern operating system be without a web browser, media player etc. running out of the box?

I mean, I can imagine it now - you build a new PC, install Windows, then come to do anything, the first thing you have to do is download a web browser. Hmn, I'll choose firefox. Where shall I get it from - ah yes, getfirefox.com - how do I get there? err... um...

Ok, maybe I can FTP it from somewhere. Oh no, because then the EU may get pissy about the microsoft FTP client being built into Windows.

I genuinely hate IE as much as anyone (I make standards-compliant websites for a living), but making MS release a version of windows with IE and WMP disabled is just nuts.

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Bronze badge

Be Careful What You Wish For

It's a good thing that there is the open-source Firefox in existence.

The result of this sort of thing could be that Microsoft not only couldn't include IE with Windows, but that it couldn't give it away for free either. (How would you download it off their web site without a web browser anyways? Install an FTP client from a magazine coverdisk or shareware collection CD, maybe?)

So all the other web browsers would cost money too, like back in the days when Netscape was something that was sold.

It's true that there is a big problem with choice in the computing field. You can't go out and buy modern computers with modern performance that have chips that run the 680x0 instruction set to run your old Macintosh/Atari ST/Amiga software at today's native speed... nor, for that matter, is there a compatible upgrade path that continued without a break to the present day for Apple //GS owners based on a chip compatible with the 65816 but with instructions added to its 16-bit mode for 64-bit addressing, hardware floating-point, MMX- or AltiVec- like vector instructions, and so on and so forth.

But it is rather late in the day to try and bring these choices back now. The x86 Mac, and Linux on the x86, are today's only alternatives, and they're both far behind Windows in the availability of software and peripherals. Yes, by all means prevent Microsoft from obstructing the emergence of choice, but also think about where choices can come from.

If there was an international standard for hardware drivers that had to be followed by commercial operating systems vendors, then anyone wanting to compete would just have to support that standard for all the hardware out there to work on his operating system. Write once, run anywhere - but *not* at speeds slower than native hardware execution speed - is the goal that should be investigated; perhaps some universal subset API particularly for installers and hardware support utilities (so that on a Windows machine, a Mac, or Linux, you could use exactly the same binary to change your screen resolution, which would look like it was written for Windows 3.1 or OS/2 or something... although nothing would prevent hardware manufactures from including prettier ones for the more popular operating systems, admittedly).

While they're at it, they could make a law requiring the x86 architecture to add a feature, like the Itanium has, to switch into big-endian mode.

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Happy

OS X & Safari must be next

But then who cares - it's crap

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Stop

Well, somehow...

I need to download Opera on my computer to use it lateron. But after I installed Windows, configured it to dial out and so on, how, for christs sake, can I download a bloody browser without having one!? It's great that IE is included, otherwise folks like Opera must send CDs via mail a la AOL to get to their 'customers'.

"Stop" for bullshit lawsuits

PV

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Anonymous Coward

SOS, DD

Microsucks has been convicted on three continents for their crimes. As long as it remains profitable to violate law, Microsucks will continue just like Intel. Until these convicted criminals are fined hundreds of BILLIONS of Euros, they will continue to violate law BECAUSE IT IS PROFITABLE !

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I'm usually anti-monopoly...

...but in this case I have to wonder, how is my next door neighbour (aged 70-ish) supposed to know how to go get a browser? PC World ship 'em a Windows box with no IE, so how exactly do they get to the internet to download a new browser?

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Now, what was that saying ...

... the one involving horses and stable doors ...

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Stop

Um.....

So if MS didn't include IE on windows how would we download a copy of firefox to use as our main web browser, without the use of another computer. and last time I checked Safari came on all Mac boxs and FireFox or that useless Konquer on Linux, so should they be removing their default browsers as well.

I think the EU are a bunch of twits!

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Pirate

Childish but...

Muhahahahaha suckers...and i'm done

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Anonymous Coward

Still relevant?

Is this even relevant anymore with Firefox, Chrome and Opera? Every system comes bundled with a browser - Firefox on Linux (often), Safari on Mac OS X. Surely if Apple can control hardware and software, IE doesn't really matter anymore.

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Stupid

As much as I agree with previous ruling, that one is bollocks. All OSes come with browsers, it just happens that Windows is the biggest one. If they ruled that IE sucks because it doesn't follow the standards then I'd praise them, but hitting for inclusion with Windows? And how the heck people would be able to download other browser? Using FTP? Or maybe directly telnetting to getfirefox.com on port 80? Perspective is sometimes needed. Common sense would be useful also.

Happy Ubuntu user. Because some things taste better without marketing sugar ;)

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Gates Horns

Errm...

So its taken them 13 years to finally try and tell microsoft to not do that? How lame.

They should tell ubuntu not to include Firefox of K-Browser then.

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Anonymous Coward

thought

So they don't want IE with windows at all? How are fresh installs of windows meant to get on the internet to download Firefox etc. if they don't have a browser?

Wont be happy if I have to go out and buy a £4 PC magazine because it has a free browser on the CD on the front where I could have just spent seconds in google and get it.

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Linux

Best possible windows security upgrade ever

Untangling that piece of crap that pretends to be a browser from the OS. What stuns me even more is that the EU is actually doing something useful other than giving farmers (especially French) large wads of cash to sit on their derrières.

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Gates Horns

Alternative?

I dislike IE as much as the next guy, but what is the alternative really?

Windows comes with no browser? Most people wouldn't then be able to install a browser (how do the great unwashed download it without a browser to begin with?)

Windows including all of the available browsers? Nothing else would fit on the disk... IE, Firefox, Opera. Off-by-one, konqueror, etc, etc... there'd always be another browser vendor claiming discrimination.

What does the opposition do? Apple includes Safari and makes no excuses for doing it. Linux comes with either Firefox or konqueror (or both), but not opera etc.

I hate microsoft, but I see no better alternative. It's easy enough to install a new browser, and make it the default, so people should get over it. They'd be better off going the the PC manufacturers and getting them to pre-load an alternative - they already load enough crap anyway!

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Madness

So does this mean that Apple can't include Safari in Mac OSX now? Probably not. This whole issue is silly. If Microsoft want to include Internet Explorer in Windows they should be able to. It's not as if there's no possibility of installing another browser if you're not happy with what they provide. In my opinion it's beneficial to the end user to have familiar default software at hand after installation.

Let's face it - nowadays if your OS doesn't come prepackaged with a web browser it would be terribly limiting.

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Anonymous Coward

does anyone really care?

For christ sake, does anyone really care?

I mean really, can someone find out exactly how many of these Europe only versions of windows have been sold?

IE is with windows, if you dont like it then change it but people THINK if you dont have a browser at all how the hell are you supposed to get a different one!

Oh thats right, you need to buy a magazine or something with it on it, and that my stupid European friends with far to much money then sence because your auditors refuse to balance your accounts because they are so bad, IS unfair.

Grrr

Rant over.

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Gates Horns

Thank you EU!

You might spend taxpayers money irresponsibly but still thanks for showing M$ that not every country is their bitch!

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Linux

Firefox

What about canonical bundling Firefox with Ubuntu? How is this not a violation of that law?

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Anonymous Coward

Opera is a bunch of whiny little girls

There IS plenty of healthy competition in the browser market already, we're not in the same situation we were years ago. When you consider the amount of browsing done on mobile (iPhone anyone?) as well as the current stronger competition from firefox, safari, and chrome, I think this whole situation is ridiculous.

Opera wasted their opportunities to gather market share, so they are trying to litigate instead. Opera fanboys are so "anti-API" but that's one of the things holding Opera back.

It's just another EU swipe at an American company, just because they can.

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