back to article Mozilla calls for 'open web' in EU Microsoft row

After days of unrest at Mozilla Towers, the Firefox firm has finally given its official word on Brussels’ preliminary findings against Microsoft for tying its Internet Explorer browser to Windows. The open source outfit put up a mealymouthed statement on its official blog yesterday in which it said it wants the European …

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Gates Halo

Copying Opera Again

Is there *anything* they don't slag off about Opera, only to make a half baked copy of it later on?

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Paris Hilton

How About A Little ....

...cheese with that whine.

"a mealymouthed statement". You sound like a Linux fanboy: if it doesn't go your way you get all crabby and throw a hissy fit. My seven year old grandson does that.

Paris because I'll just bet she's not crabby.

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Go

It's very simple.

Anyone who wants to install Firefox or Opera on Windows can:

1. Install the software

2. Use the software

Thank you, and good night.

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Bronze badge

re: It's very simple

Unfortunately whilst that part IS simple, the bit which I (amongst a large number of other people it would appear) object to is that I cannot remove IE. With FF or Opera or just about any other application, if you don't want it youcan uninstall it and get on with how you want to work whteher that is the best way or not. With IE, you can't uninstall it and you can't even stop other applications calling it when the developer was too lazy to check what your default browser is set to.

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Tom
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It's very simple Pt II

And then reset things back to YOUR chosen browser every time you do an update, and still have to use IE for things microsoft decides is going to implement in MSHTML

Its not a choice - its a hard fought for option.

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Here we go again...

...with hundreds of comments about "just install another browser", and "what about Apple/Ubuntu" comments, missing the point that it's about:

1. The interwoven nature of IE (and it's supporting rendering engine) into the OS, that you can't get rid of, even if you wanted to (and have everything still work). This covers the "just install the browser you want", argument.

2. A monopoly (in one market) abusing it's market position to influence it's position in another market. This covers the "Why not go after Apple for Safari, and Ubuntu for Firefox, too", argument.

Personally, I only care from the point of view that their continuation of this practise will continue the status quo where many sites (that sometimes I need to use), only support a non-standards compliant browser that I don't have (as I don't run Windows).

Matt.

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Anonymous Coward

IE, the gateway to open-source

Without access to another machine, and without internet explorer pre-installed on their machine, how is a Windows user supposed to download Firefox/Opera/Chrome?

Surely the inclusion of IE with Windows is the gateway to all other open-source software. If MS did not include a browser with their OS then in a situation where access to another computer is unavailable, the internet would be reduced to an inaccessable ether.

Everyone I know uses IE to obtain all of their preferred open-source applications on a clean installation of Windows.

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Pirate

The FTC had it right

1) Force MS to remove the browser from the OS

2) Break up MS into web, Office, and OS divisions

3) enjoy being able to use an OS where a browser crash doesn't bring the whole thing down

Now we just need to make it happen. Next eye on Google, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, and every other giant company with anti competitive practices and crap customer service that only survives because its rivals are just as bad.

If the EU does it before us, then cheers to them.

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Thank you EU

May you long protect us against our operating systems having in-built features.

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@Mike H

Problem is, you cannot uninstall IE. Oh, I know there is an uninstall option; but it does sod all other than hide a few icons. IE will keep rearing it's ugly head no matter what you try.

Now, it is true that Linux distros come bundled with some browser or other, but then difference is that those browser can be removed. Completely. (Konqueror in KDE might be an exception, but I am no expert there). AIUI Safari can be totally removed from OS X as well. This is not the case with IE.

*THAT* is the problem. Well, one of the problems. The rest include the words "standards" and "Security" etc.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am a Windows user.

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Anonymous Coward

Re "It's very simple. "

Not quite.

How many versions of Windows have you come across that are capable of performing automatic updates using firefox instead of IE ?

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Paris Hilton

So what's wrong with a bit of standards compliance?

Imagine IE actually complying with W3C standards. Might almost make me go back to using it.

Paris, because I have as much chance of pumping her as I do of ever using IE again.

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Incorrectly parsed, and what _does_ the author want?

Spokeslizard: "An effective remedy would be a watershed event; a poorly constructed remedy could cause unfortunate damage,” she said on her blog late last week.

5ash: Now, we have the official-official word on the matter: "A good remedy could be helpful - a bad remedy could create more damage."

That doesn't represent adequately, or even interestingly, the statement reported.

The operative word is watershed.

I'd like to see one, but there may be much water under the bridge before that, alas.

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Flame

@IE, the gateway to open-source

All Micro$oft have to do is give the other browsers with the OS when you buy the machine/install disks, integrating the installs as they do for IE.

The issue is not so much that you cannot get anything else without IE but that IE is the only one shipped with Windows, and that it is so integrated with the whoe OS that you cannot uninstall it and get rid ot if completely - and since some of the data kept as part of the "customer improvement" bullfrack comes pretty close to impinging on personal data theft (why does the OS need to record every URL I type in? And no, it is not just to populate the "browser history" dropdown), why would anyone want to keep the sneakiest remnants of a browser they have removed?

Flames, cos that's where the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] behind this whole sorry mess should be sent...

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Flame

Forget the browser (and the media player)

The EU has to do something about the retail monopoly where you have to buy Windows if you buy a computer - it's as simple as that. (The availability of shiny fruit-flavoured gadgets, whose supplier also ties its operating system to the hardware, is no counter-argument, having been propped up by Microsoft for the purposes of competitive theatre.)

Anything less than total unbundling is just dancing around the problem and not fixing it. And, no, wailing about how "consumers don't want bare PCs", that "it would be confusing", and "so they should have Windows" is not valid: the consumer would still be able to choose Windows, but this shouldn't prevent people from dropping Windows altogether. The bundling of crapware in order to "subsidise" machines should also be forbidden, at least in its current form where the user has no choice and is even encouraged to pay to have it removed in some places.

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Paris Hilton

@It's very simple

Exactly! Well said. For the everyday user it really is just that simple.

Paris because simple is as simple does.

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Go

@Re "It's very simple. " By Anonymous Coward

Dunno, but I've been getting automatic updates for the 2+ years I've been using Firefox exclusively. I always install the IE Tab add-on and everything has always just worked as if I were using IE.

I guess that last statement is really not true since I don't use IE at all ... ever. Let's just say FF with IE Tab works 100% of the time for me.

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@Doug Glass

You are not using FF if you are using IETab, are you? You are using an instance of IE wrapped in a FF window.

So thank you for 100% confirming that you CANNOT use Automatic Updates without IE!

*THAT* is the problem! You cannot get rid of IE. Ever.

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Stop

if you have IE your opinion does not count

It is pretty simple really.

Microsoft makes certain your opinion does not count by making sure you have to pay for IE each time you get their OS.

There is a solution out there. You just have to find it on the Internet.

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Flame

No good for a civilisation collapse or 'library burning'

IE tab uses the IE HTML engine, the same engine used by Windows Explorer, and other stupid third party software, like Anti-Virus updaters!

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@Doug Glass

IE Tab requires IE (>4.0) to be installed so you're not using Firefox but IE displayed in a Firefox tab.

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Happy

@IE, the gateway to open-source

"Without access to another machine, and without internet explorer pre-installed on their machine, how is a Windows user supposed to download Firefox/Opera/Chrome?"

FTP foo.baa.com

GET whatever.exe

BYE

whatever

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@It's very simple.

That's not the argument. The argument is that Windows comes with IE and since Windows is a monopoly on the desktop that means the target audience for websites is largely IE based.

So some commercial and government organisations then only support IE users as a result.

Modern versions of IE are not available for any OS other than Windows. Hence IE is yet another way of "illegally" keeping users on Windows and restricting choice.

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Happy

Ugly truths and Good and Bad remedies

Two minor points...

Both IE Tab and IE are trivial wrappers around Microsoft's MSHTML library.

MSHTML is a user-level component and is no more "part of the OS" than my left buttock.

It is true that MSHTML is widely used in the Windows shell. So is the C run-time library. So are libraries for handling pictures, sounds and videos. If Microsoft stopped using MSHTML, they'd have to write a library that rendered some form of hypertext. That is, they'd have to write a new version of MSHTML. But ... they'd have to make it just as crappy as the old one, because millions of web-sites have been written to conform to MSHTML's bugs rather than W3C HTML.

The EU *could*, I suppose, insist that Microsoft stop supporting these sites, but in fairness they'd have to insist that Opera, Firefox, Chrome and the rest stop supporting them too. That seems unlikely. (Though it would be highly amusing to see all extant versions of Opera banned as a result of Opera bringing the case.)

Rather better would be for the EU to insist that government and corporate entities within the EU's own jurisdiction had to ensure that websites passed some agreed level of W3C validation. But that would let Microsoft off the hook and force most of the EU temporarily off the web, so I doubt that would be terribly popular on *this* side of the pond. (But yeah, that would be funny too.)

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Linux

Hey, I know, let's define the market's size!

Let's use Total Market Value to measure the size of the browser market!

Size of market: $0.00

% of IE share: 0% or 100%, take your pick

% of FF share: 0% or 100%, take your pick

% of Opera share: 0% or 100%, take your pick

% of Safari share: 0% or 100%, take your pick

% of Chrome share: 0% or 100%, take your pick

Why is everyone fighting over such a lucrative market again? :) Seems like everybody has equal share of the profits!

I mean who wouldn't want a $0.00 market all to themselves? (laughing hysterically)

Penguin, because even an (actual) bird can see the profit to be had...

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Anonymous Coward

I dont get it

When I my mom bought her HP/compaq it came with netscape preloaded and netscape icon on it. there were lots of pc vendors that did pre loaded netscape or fire fox . Now trying to find it in a maze of crap that they put on the desktop that was another story. I wish they would make PC vendors stop loading extra crap on the machines

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@IE, the gateway to open-source

"If MS did not include a browser with their OS then in a situation where access to another computer is unavailable, the internet would be reduced to an inaccessable ether."

Wow. In what incredible way do you think the Internet was created? Hint: What came first, browsers or the Internet?

MS Windows and Linux are newcomers.

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Heart

@Prathlev

I think by "internet", we mean "web" in this context and Windows (1985) was available before HTML (1990)

As a 99.99% Firefox user, I'm really struggling to care about IE being embedded in Windows. Although it refuses to accept that I really mean "don't ask me if I want IE as my default browser ever again" which is a slight irritant the one time per year that I launch it.

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@Wolf

So the size of the browser market is $0? Ok, so why do Microsoft bother? Or why don't they release IE for other operating systems? Because they want to maintain a dominant position in the OS market which is far greater than $0 and one way of doing this is to promote a monoculture of IE-only websites that can only be accessed by people who give money to Microsoft.

The EU should insist that microsoft make IE and their web services fully w3c compliant, so developers don't have to code specifically for IE and users are never told they need IE to view a website.

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Flame

A universal requirement

EU should land on a universal requirement for operating systems to ship with no pre-installed browser. This would apply to the Windows-IE world, and to the OSX-Safari world. (How many OSX versions have you seen, where you can actually uninstall safari).

In the second round, they should require the OS to be separated from the media handling, thus separating windows from mediaplayer, and OSX from iTunes/Quicktime.

In this race, OSX is actually worse than Windows.

The next big problem is that a lot of apps written for windows actually depend on the IE code in the os. One example, is the "steam" drm/gameshop system.

//Svein

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Jobs Horns

@Wolf

@wolf, who thinks it as simple as IE/Firefox/Opera being given away free. Luckily, the EU see the big picture.

1. Microsoft produce a non standards compliant browser.

2. As they are the biggest player in the market, a number of unenlightened web site developers write their code based on the percentage of users using IE. Of course, why wouldn't they it makes perfect business sense to go after the biggest market. However long term it's a huge mistake, as a monopoly is being reinforced. That's where goverments have to play a role in making sure companies in a monopoly position such as Microsoft, don't exploit that position by killing any competition before it has had the chance to blossom. Goverments level the playing field on behalf of the consumer by helping the smaller players by making sure the monopoly isn't restricting competition.

3. Monopolies are not good, because the monopoly player will almost always take advantage by overcharging because it can, because that's business. It overcharges for windows because if you want to access a non compliant web site based around anything MS then you have to buy windows because Microsoft don't produce IE for Linux. ie they use their free browser to increase market share of the Windows operating system.

4. The looser is the user, because Microsoft are restricting choice.

5. Some of the worse offenders when producing websites that they only test with IE are of course financial institutions, banks/credit card companies etc. I wonder why that is ?

EU - Keep up the good work.

Take the case of Silverlight. Microsoft produce something to compete with Adobe Flash. Microsoft appear to be doing the correct thing by working with opensource to produce an equivalent for Linux. ( Of course it doesn't work with ITV websites ) ( ITV is a UK TV station for our cousins across the pond )

Adobe do produce a cross platform version of flash, because they don't produce operating systems. They have no conflict of interests.

Microsoft do produce an operating system, so they have a conflict of interest in producing a version of silverlight for Linux. ( Moonlight ). They are doing there best to try to appease the EU by looking as if they are cross platform, but I don't trust them. The Linux version of Silverlight will never be as good as the windows version they will always be playing catchup, because it's not in Microsofts interests to have anything work properly with Linux or Apple. They want to keep people buying windows by tieing them in any which way.

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Linux

with respect to free

If IE was free, why is it restricted to people who own a Windows license - you can run IE in wine under linux, if you desire, but if you don't own a windows license then you may not. Same with many of the fonts that comes free with windows. (mind you it has been a while since I've read the conditions, as I never use IE any more, my bank works on liux with firefox :-)).

So a Vista Ultimate in Denmark costs 499 pounds, OEM version about 50 pounds.

IE is said to be free.

BUT you cannot make use of IE, unless you own a windows license.

Does that not suggest to you the fact that IE is not free, and a part of the price you paid for windows was in fact for IE.

This makes it unfair to Opera, as their price is visible, IE appears free.

Firefox, et al. are free developed from sponsors, and the community.

Silverlight annoys me, if Microsoft wanted it to be a cross platform standard, and it is giving the platform away for free, why does it not give out the source, so that the code base on Windows, and Linux could be the very same, thus ensuring that the versions are indeed both optimal ? Microsoft keeps boasting with their mixed source license scheme, and professed love for open source ? (similarly with .net, which a version was built for linux, called mono, and yet not the same code base)

In my opinion, it seems that the silverlight (and .net) exercise seems to be an Anti-anti-trust precaution, by having it implemented on linux as well, could possibly ward off a coming antitrust case from Adobe.

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