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back to article Mozilla comes out in support of Brussels IE on Windows findings

Mozilla Corporation has joined the growing number of browser makers to come out in support of European antitrust watchdogs’ grumbles against Microsoft tying Internet Explorer to its Windows operating system. The outfit’s chairwoman and former CEO Mitchell Baker posted a blog late on Friday in which she backed last month’s …

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A single anomaly does not indicate a healthy, competitive, or innovative system

God YES! Common sense in the news! People *not* lying to me for a change. What is this bizzarro world? Day-of-reckoning? Whatever it is, I will take it.

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Anonymous Coward

Sitting on the fence

So they kept quiet and just watched what Opera were doing in case they got themselves into trouble for speaking out, but as soon as it looks safe because the EU are baring their teeth, out comes the gummy Mozilla to get a dig into the scrum.

And was it an insinuation of the article that Opera is open source?

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Uninstall

The ability to completely uninstall IE without breaking Windows would be a nice start...

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Stop

In before...

...Anyone who doesn't understand the difference posts "waaah! But firefox is bundled with Ubuntu!"

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Flame

And the news for 2010

"Mozilla back an anti-trust campaign against Apple bundling Safari with OS-X. "

EU - Butt out. Most people don't want or care about any other browser. If you give customers the options all you'll get is "Eh?".

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I don't disagree

but shouldn't someone be saying the same of Apple? Or are they the darlings of the EU because they couldn't possibly do anything wrong.

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Jobs Horns

EU Law

Surely Microsoft could quite easily find some EU law that makes a point of making sure that all companies are treated in the same way. This would then find the EU abusing their own laws.

Would this not then just make the case err dead in the water. Treat everyone the same or let them all do as they will. First option preferred.

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IE is a symptom

IE is only a symptom, not the problem. The US Federal Judge who ordered that the Windows operating system should be split off from commercial Microsoft - unhappily overturned on appeal - was right.

The problem is that when a commercial product is as pervasive and as difficult to avoid as Windows is, then it is not surprising that the producers take advantaage of their near monopoly position.

Chris Cosgrove

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Paris Hilton

Well, MS agrees with the court and Mozilla

When dropping IE for Mac in OSX they stated the reason was that they could not compete with a browser built into the operating system.

Are you all goldfish or something? Or is MTV generation taking over???

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Dead Vulture

Mozilla biting the hand that feeds

Brave of Firefox (Mozilla)... EU commisioning to remove IE from Windows... last time I checked most primetime OS are bundled with some browser and quite a few Linux distro's bundle Firefox. Mozillo biting off the hand that feeds it.

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Anonymous Coward

How refreshing...

There nothing like a healthy dose of double standards in the morning.

Wonder when will it be Apple's and Linux turn, since they both include browsers of their choice pre-installed with the OS.

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RW
Boffin

@ AC & Tom Simnett: Apple isn't a monopoly

And let me ask: can you update OS/X with other browsers than Safari? Or does OS/X, like Ubuntu Linux, have a special built-in facility for updates that has nothing to do with web browsing?

Make no mistake about it, MS quite deliberately integrated IE into Windows in order to fuck over Netscape. Just go back and read the news at the time of the update to Win95 that did this. (First release of Win95 didn't even include a TCP/IP stack!)

The EU will have to be very careful what remedies they prescribe, if they find against MS. MS is a very devious, slippery organization, and will do everything they can to weaken the effect of said remedies.

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Gates Horns

@Tom Simnett

Safari isn't tied to Mac OS. You can put it in the Trash and empty the Trash, or you could even go into /Applications and rm -r Safari.app. Apple does bundle alot of software with a clean install, but you can remove it, or just leave it there and never use it. Microsoft has tied their browser to the OS and you can't uninstall IE, and what's more you can't update your computer without running IE (this is the case in XP, but not Vista).

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IT Angle

Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 9th February 2009 15:30 GMT

Yup, so kill off the copyright. Let each company do as they will. First option prefered...?

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Apple... EU Law...

All companies should be treated the same way, except when one has sufficient power as to be able to unduly influence a market (ie a monopoly)... Monopolies need regulation to prevent abuse of the position.

MS have a monopoly, Apple do not, so Apple are free to bundle additional products with their OS.

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Stop

OFFS!!

Its not down to bundling : its down to tying which is a totally different thing. IE is TIED to the operating system, you can't get rid of it, you might try but its rather like that dog shit that you stepped in on the street which was buried under the snow, its still there lurking in the corners.

Firefox is NOT tied to Ubuntu. I have an Ubuntu install with NO browser on it at all because it doesn't need one. Try saying that about any Microsoft server product.

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Boffin

If...

...M$ made IE compliant to full HTML standards, the problem would go. The EU is saying to M$, don't force the M$ version of HTML on the hoi-poli. Give them a real HTML rendering.

When is El Reg going to replace the BG icon's with Balmer icon's? It's about time!

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Anonymous Coward

Thank You, Opera!

Outside of the repeated idiocy in the remarks every time a question of browser share comes up, I think it's total bullsh-- that Mozilla and others aren't thanking -- or at least, ACKNOWLEDGING -- Opera's gutsiness to get MS following the rule of law, of monopoly abuse and illegal bundling.

(And can the Wintards that keep shouting about Safari/MacOSX, please learn the basics of "anti-trust abuse"...?????? It's only illegal to bundle, WHEN YOU HAVE A F-CKING MONOPOLY. Does less than 10% Mac market share of global PC shipments, constitute a monopoly??)

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EU's solution

The EU's solution to this problem would be to get MS to remove IE from Windows and give computer makers the option of bundling their own version of a browser when they sell the hardware.

Thats really all we need isn't it? Its bad enough already when they bundle 5 different tool bars, 65 anti-virus solutions and god knows what else, now they will have full control over which browser gets installed, which toolbar gets installed with that browser, all its links, favourites and what-not.

This doesn't take into account those who do not buy a computer but instead build their own and purchase (yes, some of us bought Vista :P) an OS to go on to it. Nor students who get an OS through dreamspark, or the myriad of people who will buy MS Windows with no browser on it.

The question is, who would OEM's go for? Would they put IE onto the computers, Firefox or Opera, my guess is IE.

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Anonymous Coward

Call me pessamistic

However despite all of this looking well and good, and despite it always making me happy when I see M$ called to the carpet for the crap they continue to pull. The truth is this regardless of the decision EU makes, regardless of what they tell MS to do. It will get stalled, appealed, etc etc and in the end things will remain as they are right now. Microsofts monopoly is to large their lawyers to slippery their pockets to deep and their political connections to broad. I've long since given up on expecting MS to adhere to any legal decision made against them since in the past they have managed to weasel their way out of any serious judgment. The decisions that have come down against them end up being nothing more than a stern look and a judge(s) saying "you've been naughty now don't do that again" to which M$ reluctantly says "yeah ok I won't" with their fingers crossed behind their back.

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Paris Hilton

Just a thought ...

OK, so let's say that IE gets removed.

So ... how is Iam TotallyClueless, the user, going to get a browser to begin with? Are we going to instruct the average user on the uses of command line FTP to download Mozilla, or the like?

I guess what I'm getting at - isn't it better to have something, than nothing? Download Firefox - never use IE again. Seems kind of simple.

And if one argues that "since its there (in all its evil!), people aren't encouraged to download an alternative ..."

I guess I don't understand "The Browser Wars" - its a fight over territory where no one is making any money (Opera had to switch to giving it away to even get in the area of the 1% utilization mark), so what's the big deal?

Would it be nice if it could be removed - sure. Does it haunt my days and nights that it can't? Not really.

Really - for all the evil that MS does do, it seems like this is distracting from the big issues (like OEM and MS dealings for the OS, etc.).

(Not an MS apologist/fan boi/linux hater)

Paris - because she doesn't understand it, either.

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Flame

Urf, freetards/MS-bashers again

Do MS prevent you from installing another browser? Nope, I didn't think so.

Do MS bundle in masses of highly sophisticated software applications (GIMP, OpenOffice, Transmission; to name but three)? Nope, I didn't think so.

Do MS constrain you to only installing their OS on hardware that they themselves have built? Nope, I didn't think so.

The problem is deep integration? Three letters "K", "D" and "E". Best get them on the line and tell them to unbundle Konqueror. They can't? Aww.....diddums. Mac OS has Safari....deeply integrated...can we get rid of that too? What? We can't?

The hypocrisy of the freetard/mactard community is just staggering. On the one hand they pillory MS for bundling in IE (amongst other things) and then they go and do, not just the exact same, often extending it into many other areas of the software business and thus stifling innovation EVEN MORE than MS ever could.

Freetards, it may come as a shock to you but most people have a life beyond their screen. Their friends are flesh and blood, the computer is just another tool. They want to plug-in, switch-on and get things done. The DO NOT want to have to spend hours crafting shell scripts, compiling and playing "sudo apt-get" ping-pong to try and get a working PC. Bundling lets people do that ("distros" in your quaint little parlance). So why is it OK for you freetards (and your thick-walleted mactard buddies) to bundle (and bundle MORE!), yet not for MS?

Hypocrites.

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RE: Apple

I agree that there may be some issues with Apple as well, but it is (havent tried it) relatively easy to remove Safari from your computer as its not tied into the OS like IE. With IE's MSHTML.dll is called by many programs for drawing windows and other OS GUI objects. Explorer, Google talk, AIM, etc and quite a few others use it.

An easy fix i think for apple or MS may be as simple as having a weblink that says "Click here to install Firefox (or other alternate browser)" appear on the desktop or in the applications folder.

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Stop

Dear Reg,

If people start whining about how Ubuntu bundles Firefox and

Apple bundles Safari, please give them ten lashes with a cat o' nine tails

and close this post.

Thanx

Anon

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Flame

EU Judges have never even used a computer!

I have a great idea. Why don't we have the entire EU judicial panel (individually) each try to install Windows XP Pro on a new computer without including browser integration. Then let's have them try to run Windows or Microsoft Update.

Any bets on how many of them have to call a professional in to get the damn thing working?

Any bets on how fast that PC is P0wned after trying to download the updates unsucsessfully from somewhere other than Microshaft because of browser incompatability?

Use some common sense, anyone can add a browser after the fact; even the idiots at the EU.

If you want a Windows OS, you still want IE because you will need it for commercial and banking websites that aren't compatible with (non MS browser flavor of the week).

Also, quit bitchin about the integration because that "functionality" often works in favor of (non MS browser flavor of the week) being able to work similarly to IE so LUSERS can get some use out of the computers they bought.

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Flame

WTF has this got to do with Apple?

This isn't difficult. So for you hard of thinking Windows fuckwits...

@Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 9th February 2009 15:21 GMT and Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 9th February 2009 15:30 GMT, ODFO!!!

UNINSTALL IE FROM WINDOWS. GO ON. OH. YOU CAN'T.

I can uninstall Firefox from Ubuntu and the OS still works (and for the record EPIPHANY IS THE DEFAULT GNOME BROWSER). I can remove Safari from OS X and the OS still works. I CANNOT remove IE froM Windows WITHOUT BREAKING IT. The EU are not saying that Microsoft are to supply Windows without IE. Opera and Mozilla aren't asking the EU to enforce that. Jesus.

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Joke

@Sitting on the fence

For some reason I read that as:

"...out comes the gummy Mozilla to get a dig into the scrOTum."

Something about how I see IE in a Freudian way, no doubt.

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chicken - egg problem

No browser also means no way to download a different browser ..

I don;t care about internet exploder or vilefox. IE runs once on a Win installation : just to grab opera download and that;s it. I set Opera as default browser and remove the shortcuts to IE. game over.

There is nothing that prevents you from doing the same . Just make sure there is a basic browser included so people can download what they want.

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IT Angle

Try saying that about any Microsoft server product.

"Firefox is NOT tied to Ubuntu. I have an Ubuntu install with NO browser on it at all because it doesn't need one. Try saying that about any Microsoft server product"

_____________________________________________________

Server Core?

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Pirate

They may as well just throw the book at them

Talk about bias! The EU just want easy money because their a bunch of thieving, unelected socialists

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Flame

Missing the point

Most commenters are missing the point: it isn't that IE is included with Windows. It is the fact that ever since IE4.0, it is *impossible* to remove IE, and that some critical systems actually depend on a fricking browser! (Windows Update)

And because MS has a guaranteed install base of "everyone who has Windows" for IE, they can shamelessly lock down their Web Application solutions to Windows by making them IE-only (*cough*Silverlight*cough*) when there is no credible reason to do this; websites are multiplatform by mere definition.

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Storm in a teacup

MS saw off Netscape, then took their eye off the ball and let IE fester, allowing Mozilla to nip in. Good on Mozilla!

I think this is a good judgement as it may mean some OEMs package Firefox/Opera/etc and 'real people' get some exposure to something other than IE. Those purchasing an MS OS will probably just receive a complementary CD with IE on it anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

@Urf, freetards/MS-bashers again

You can delete Safari, and by that I mean its gone completely. Try that with Internet Explorer. Go on. Uninstall, it click on a link in a "help" file or similar and guess what happens. That's right! Up pops the uninstalled IE, EVEN if Opera/Firefox is installed and made the default!!! What is it with you fanboys? This really isn't that hard a concept to grasp!

Dan, "If you want a Windows OS, you still want IE because you will need it for commercial and banking websites that aren't compatible with (non MS browser flavor[sic] of the week)." These companies should be fined too! Microsoft didn't invent the internet you retard! " Also, quit bitchin about the integration because that "functionality" often works in favor[sic] of (non MS browser flavor[sic] of the week) being able to work similarly to IE so LUSERS can get some use out of the computers they bought." What are you talking about? IE doesn't support semantic html particularly well. See the Acid3 test. This is why Opera and now Mozilla are complaining.

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Coat

How hard is it?

Linux distros generally include SEVERAL browsers: Konqueror, FireFox, Opera, Epiphany, etc. It would be ludicrously easy for Microsoft to simply include in the install package most or all of the browsers with over 1% market share - including IE - and, as part of the install, ask the user to pick one. To be fair, the display order should be randomized so that the first choice isn't ALWAYS IE, but what the hell, at least offer a choice.

Microsoft could also just as easily use a proprietary update application to provide downloads: Linux distros do this (my SuSE uses YAST to manage updates and add-ins). The update part is NOT the issue of integration. The real bottom line is that the browser is NOT included JUST to manage updates, or JUST to provide a convenient "hook" for displaying HTML.

No, the ONLY reason Microsoft includes and is FIGHTING to keep IE in the mix is to prevent competitors - like Mozilla or Opera - from being able to offer a product that COULD unseat their web SERVER market. IIS is still the predominant web server in major corporations, and as long as IIS provides non-standard HTML that only IE can render properly (or blocks the attempts of other web browsers to access or render pages - which happens regularly to me at several corporate sites when I attempt to log in to PAY MY BILLS!!) then MS has done its job.

Yes, I know that corporate IT can decide to use different technology - like Apache and Linux - instead of Windows. And, eventually, they might.

But...remember all those unpatched server that Conficker infected over the past month? All those old copies of Windows that have NOT been patched for YEARS? The reason is that companies are even cheaper than Freetards: those servers are probably still running Win2K and won't be updated - ever. And a BUNCH of those systems are running IIS, which won't be replaced - ever. And THAT's why MS is fighting all this browser-mania. If even 30% of the browsers out there quit working against the old MS systems still operating in most companies, then those companies will HAVE to upgrade them. And there's a high probability that they WON'T be replaced with Server 2008 or Windows 7 Enterprise...but with Linux running in a VM on a blade. And once MS loses the corporate server world...well, can they REALLY survive selling Zunes and Xboxes?

Ya know, come to think about it, this might be the BEST thing that happened to Microsoft! Think of it: Microsoft suddenly is getting its crap products tossed like week-old fish from businesses left and right. Maybe it'd kick their ass hard enough to make them start creating really GREAT products again - like back in the Windows 3 days, when their products really were breakthrough.

Or not.

(steps off of soap box, gets into MG and leaves)

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Thumb Up

Thanks Mozilla!

"These companies should be fined too!"

No they shouldn't. We don't need the government fining businesses for supporting a popular platform (nor is there any laws on the books). I say let them be free to shoot themselves in the foot, as they may have if another browser takes hold.

"That's right! Up pops the uninstalled IE"

Not entirely. It simply uses the same rendering engine that IE uses (kind of like how Mac programs can take advantage of Webkit). There was an effort to make a Mozilla ActiveX control that could replace the IE rendering component in Windows, but I don't think it's actively in development. IE and Safari both have components that are more-or-less part of the operating system.

And who cares about help files? Who actually uses those? When most people use the rendering engine, they're doing it to browse the web. They're using IEXPLORE.EXE. Isn't that the real issue at hand? Microsoft can't exactly remove things like WININET (Windows FTP/HTTP API) without breaking 10,000s of programs. In fact, I would argue that things like WININET, although used by Internet Explorer, aren't IE APIs given that a lot of other programs use them.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny

"And let me ask: can you update OS/X with other browsers than Safari? Or does OS/X, like Ubuntu Linux, have a special built-in facility for updates that has nothing to do with web browsing?"

I can update windows without IE....

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Jobs Horns

To all the MS Bashers

Iexplore != Microsoft update

You can quite easily remove IE from your system without any problems so why all the fuss. Certain things like windows update and help centre use the same rendering engine so it looks the same, but it certainly isn't IE. You know, just like you can use the webkit engine without having to call safari or chrome. Enough with the one rule for MS and another for everyone else.

PS, I always do my updates through firefox with no issues using IEtab, but out of interest what makes you think it is right to force a company to use a different companies products in order to perform essential maintenance tasks? MS are well within their rights to say that windows update will only work with their own products. You don't see Apple allowing windows media updates through quicktime or Nintendo bundling a sony update tool in the wii firmware. This is just another case of lets jump on the easy target bandwagon

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Stop

Browsers aren't that special

MS have certainly got up to some dodgy tricks in the past (think, for example, many years ago when they provided inducements to software developers if said developers could demonstrate that they had produced websites containing embedded ActiveX controls). But I personally would not chastise them for providing a web browser out of the box, even if it did have the effect of killing off Netscape. My reasoning being that a functioning web browser is an absolute must for the vast majority of users in the internet age. If it happens to be a required component of the OS, then so be it. You can easily download the browser of your choice (Chrome in my case) and ignore the IE install for typical browsing scenarios.

To single out the browser component is illogical. For example, I dare say there are numerous command line interpreters that are commercially available. Should I be upset because Windows provides a CLI out of the box? Or a Winsock library? Or various "free" drivers? Of course not. Although commercial developers are free to develop these components, I consider them to be an essential part of my computing experience.

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Happy

What would be great ...

Would be if the option to completely remove IE from Windows in a way that left the OS still working (I use the term “working" loosely) was made available AND that MS just finally made the source code for IE open and freely available then if anyone who cared sufficiently could then maybe make it “standards compliant”.

MS should just stop trying to make browsers altogether and concentrate on making an operating system that is robust and fault-tolerant. Oh, and stop wheeling out a new version of .Net every five minutes that broke backwards compatibility with the code you spent years re-writing for the previous version.

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@Mark

"When dropping IE for Mac in OSX they stated the reason was that they could not compete with a browser built into the operating system."

Er, the last version of IE for the mac was released in 2000. Safari was first released in 2003. Clearly M$ had given up making a mac version of their crappy browser way before Safari was being bundled with the OS. In an environment where M$ doesn't have the advantage of monopoly they have a hard time competing.

You must remember too that while Safari is installed with OS X by default it's not "built-in" the way IE is. With a fresh install of OS X you can simply drag Safari into the trash can. Voila, no more Safari. You can also have several different versions of Safari installed at the same time since each is a self-contained package.

IE is far more integrated with Windows. Just try installing IE7 and then going back to IE6. What a nightmare.

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@David Kelly

How long ad IE 5 been left to pasture?

MS killed the project at that time. No updates, no IE7 or 8. No support. No bugfixes. Ended the project, disbanded the team.

That was the reason they gave.

Are you calling them liars?

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Paris Hilton

re: chicken - egg problem

Hmm. How did they get a browser before IE was in the OS? Write their own???

1) Setup disk for ISP comes with a browser

2) OEM installs one for the customer

3) FTP

4) cover disks

5) friends

6) OTS package comes with a browser (Norton Internet Security with Firefox, for example).

7) cat /net/www.theregister.co.uk and I no longer see the tags, I see goatse, tubgirl, cialis...

Shit you're dumb when you want to be.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark re: chicken - egg problem

You fail to take into account one major factor. Most people (95%+) want it to work 'out of the box'. That's something Apple make a big show of, so why should it be any different not just for MS, but any company? They are just supplying what their customers want - and please don't start with MONOPOLY MONOPOLY MONOPOLY whining. That makes no odds at all as they are doing what the market demands.

So an average user can use one of your methods:

1) Setup disk for ISP comes with a browser

Yeah, that worked for AOL and compuserv didn't it.Millions of unwanted CDs around the place becoming landfill. What a waste of resources. Plus it also helps tie in customers to a particular browser - in the case of AOL and BT Yahoo that would be internet explorer.

2) OEM installs one for the customer

Along with all the already bloated install with trial versions of this and OEM stuff you never wanted that makes your PC run like crap and then people blame it on the OS. Clever idea. Leaving it up to the OEMS to choose what to install also means that money talks. Whoever offers them the most money to exclusively bundle their browser wins - who do you think would win that battle? Could be close bidding between google and MS, but most likely MS would win

3) FTP

We are talking an average user here - takes one look at the instructions for FTP and goes WTF???? Takes the machine back to the shop for a refund as it doesn't do what they want

4) cover disks

Again with the bidding wars to get your browser on the disk. Plus magazine sales are rapidly declining as more people would prefer not to spend £5.99+ per month for information they can get for free on the net. The only thing that sells magazines anymore is what freebies come on the cover disk and more and more people are realising they don't actually want or use the stuff they are given. Gone are the days when most people would take a 12 month subscription - they only pick it up off the shelf when something catches their eye. Are you going to tell them that straight after buying a new PC, they also have to buy a magazine just so they can get online?

5) friends

Your only sensible suggestion so far - but why should people have to? I don't buy a car and than have to ask a friend if they can help me fit a gear lever just so I can use it.

6) OTS package comes with a browser (Norton Internet Security with Firefox, for example).

Money again - highest bidder gets their browser bundled. Why hello Microsoft with that nice mountain of cash

Shit you're dumb when you want to be.

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Paris Hilton

Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 10th February 2009 15:59 GMT

YOU fail to take one pertinent FACT into account

THEY WORKED.

Rest of that is bollocks. But then again, what would you expect from someone afraid that their posting history could be found out if they didn't "post anonymously".

Ant's pizzle.

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