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back to article Microsoft answers EU antitrust charges

Microsoft has formally responded to European Commission concerns about bundling of its web browser Internet Explorer with Windows operating systems. The original complaint was made by Norwegian browser maker Opera. It accused Microsoft of leveraging its desktop monopoly to distribute the browser and of ignoring web standards. …

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Broken windows please

Disabling IE at the press of a button will not do anything useful. A money back for IE button is closer to the useful. The real answer is broken windows for free, and buttons to pay for unbreaking what users really need.

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Cry More?

Yes this is definatly microsoft trying to monopolize the web browser market. Its not like any other operating system comes with a pre-installed operating system or anything. I mean if windows didnt come with an OS I would be pretty angry. I dont even use IE much but its nice to have sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

Y'know

You know what harms "Consumer Choice" a lot more? You ever try buying a PC with linux on it from a store?

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Stop

hand in the cookie jar

Microsoft just does not know what to say.

Microsoft forces all consumers to buy IE and they act like they got their hand caught in the cookie jar.

They did.

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It's crap

Come on, this argument was had years ago, and should be considered over and done with by now.

Microsoft aren't doing anything wrong by bundling IE. You have the option of installing another browser, they're not blocking you. My main point is that if it's made illegal for Microsoft to bundle IE, it should be illegal for Apple to bundle Safari. And for any Linux distro to come with a browser too.

I think the only purpose to these monopoly arguments should be to ensure a level playing field for all customers. As it is, it's a waste of time.

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Joke

Norwegian would

Only a Norwegian would find this wrong.

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Go

I agree with Stephen

Seriously you are right, Safari shouldn't be on macs if ie wasn't coming with windows. And zachary, windows is an OS.

Microsoft isn't blocking anyone from installing another os and in xp you can disable it anywhoo so why you complaining about it.

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wrong issue

No problems with MS bundling IE or Apple with Safari, but all browsers should be made to adhere to Web Standards.

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Stop

If it's wrong for microsoft

As many have already pointed out previously, if Microsoft are not allowed to bundle their choice of web browser with their own operating system then ANY operating system "manufacturer" should not be allowed to do so.

What's the solution?

Make EVERY OS come without a browser? how would you (merer mortals) get a web browser

Make EVERY OS come with EVERY single browser ever written (can you get IE for Unix?)

Vauxhall have a monopoly on Vauxhall cars, don't see any antitrust cases being brought about that do you? I mean you still have a choice if you want to use a different engine don't you?

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Boffin

Grrrr...

I'm gonna be pissed if the Ubongoto 9.04 I'm installing tonight has bloody Firefox on it... That's just monopolizing Ubooty's strong grip of the consumer Linux base and being unfair and uncompetitive. In fact, I'm just gonna download IE and use that instead... thank f*** they went ahead and gave me a browser to enable my choice, eh?

Errrr....

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My company

My company makes rear-view and side mirrors for a wide range of European automobiles. Currently, GM and Ford are selling new cars with their own proprietary rear-view and side mirrors already fitted. We call on the EU to fine GM and Ford for these anti-competitive tactics.

Bawwwwww.

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it's wrong for Microsoft

It's wrong for Microsoft because Microsoft has a legal monopoly in many areas of computing. Apple and 'Linux' do not. Vauxhall does not. Microsoft has used its OS monopoly to extinguish competition in other areas.

If you're ignorant of the facts and opinions you would do well to read http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf.

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Gates Halo

@Matthew

No they have used their monopoly to install a piece of software by default that users are free to replace with any other piece of software they like.

If they were preventing users from installing competing software they may have a case to answer for. Suggesting that they should cripple the OS for the bulk of consumers, who generally couldn't give two sh*ts what browser they happen to be using, simply because a competing software company decided to use the jackboot of government rather than writing a browser that consumers want to use smacks of bias against success rather than a well reasoned argument.

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Stop

when is a forced sale justified?

It is funny but everytime I suggest to a Microsoft salesman that they send me their money and I'll decide what software to give them, they object.

Yet they claim that forcing consumers to purchase IE is just fine.

That only works if you illegally bundle IE with the OS.

Just like Bill Gates said a long time ago. If Netscape does not stay out of the Microsoft markeplace, Microsoft will just illegally bundle IE. Even that idiot knows a whole lot more about what is illegal and how illegal acts can dictate what consumers buy and use.

As for other systems and browsers, yes, they should all provide a choice of which is included or leave it out. And take off some money if it is omitted.

There is nothing wrong with including handy buttons that would download a browser of the customer's choice. Even a "DownLoad IE" button for Linux would be just fine.

Forcing all consumers to pay cash for IE regardless of what the customer wants is not.

Commingling IE with the OS is illegal in the US. (notwithstanding the DOJ refusing to enforce the law as decided in the US appellate court)

Bundling IE with the OS is harmful to all. Even the fools that pay cash for it but think they are getting a free toy in their happy meal. I guess they still have their mommy pick out their clothes and decide what food they eat.

Forcing someone to have sex against their will is insulting. Forcing everyone to buy IE is likewise insulting. And, no, claims that the sex is free does not justify the illegal act.

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Bundling? How about tying?

I think we all agree that bundling IE with Windows is a crap argument. They should be complaining about tying IE and Windows together. Can you install the latest Windows Updates with Firefox/Safari/Opera?

What about how IE is the only browser that can automatically install software (including malware) at the OS level? They need to sever the tie between IE and Windows, and come up with something like apt-url so that any browser could trigger the OS to install/update software.

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Its not so much the bundling

How many times does it need explaining. Its not about shipping IE, its about how it is integrated into the OS.

You can remove IE from the desktop and the menus, you can go in and remove every single reference to it when it comes to file associations but it is still there and will jump in and take over for no apparent reason.

Car comparision: Its like you fiting a third party radio/CD player to your car because you dont like the one that it comes with but Ford wont service your car unless the original is still there and from time to time you find that your upgraded system has been replaced by the original without warning.

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JW
Alert

Matthews is Correct - It's wrong for MS because...

Comparing Apple and Linux with what Microsoft has done and why it is constantly being questioned on monitored is ignorant.

Microsoft gained their monopoly via predatory and malicious practices. This was proven during a lengthy trial.

Apple has no monopoly other than over their own equipment. They also strive to keep their browser standards compliant.

How in the world could you conceive that a free operating system could achieve any sort of monopoly that isn't purely user driven.

And in the case of at least Ubuntu - sudo aptitude install firefox will get you a browser just fine. It's only because of MS's ridiculous system that you can't do other wise. (oh and too stupid to type just open synaptic and have at a few thousand programs.)

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Linux

To JW

The Ubuntu OSs I have installed came with Firefox included in the OS.

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Gates Horns

Monopoly

An AC said "Microsoft isn't blocking anyone from installing another os"

Nope, they are not. As long as you are forced to buy their OS whether you want it or not they are happy.

This complaint about bundling browsers is ludicrous however. The real complaint is the way MS bully their OEMs into not offering alternatives to MS crapware.

Where is Evil Ballmer Icon el reg? It can't be that hard to stick a pair of horns on Uncle Festers noggin' can it?

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Microsoft has formally responded to European Commission

So what was the response? I'm not seeing any news article here

P.S. People, please gather up your pens and papers and write this down, because this has been thrashed around so many times it is now more than tedious

As AC pointed out @ 29th April 2009 18:38 GMT "Its not so much the bundling "

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How many times does it need explaining. Its not about shipping IE, its about how it is integrated into the OS.

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The Browser is forced on you, and you can never remove it. Even after installing other browsers, you still can never be free of it. It is integrated to the OS.

Other O/Ss do not force the browser on you, that is the difference.

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Stop

Read it people!

It's not hard! It's not the bundeling per say they're complaining about, or even the integration (as bad as that is).

It's the fact they bundled a *standards incompatible* browser with there near-monopoly OS. This encouraged designers to write sites that would show up well in IE, but which would look like a dead dog in browsers which followed the standards. Thusly, they were disadvantaging any other browser that was released onto the market, unless they spent hundreds of hours working to break its rendering as badly as IEs was.

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Is an internet browser a core OS part?

"Vauxhall have a monopoly on Vauxhall cars, don't see any antitrust cases being brought about that do you? "

This poster is either being deliberately misleading or very trusting. AC@18:38 has it right. It is more like Ford "pre-installing" their CD/Radio, voiding their warranty if its not still there at service time and randomly replacing the one you bought every so often.

Internet Explorer is an application, like every other browser. No other OS is crippled (Core functions won't run properley) by removing it. Why should Windows be any different. MS do force you to use it by default and make its replacement and removal difficult (if not impossible).

Every other desktop supplier says not. You can change what you like. But only MS has mingled its functions in with its core DLLs.

I note most PC makers supply upteen ISP connection options on the hard drive. Anyone of which will hook you up to that ISP. But when its browsers what happens? Well you can have this option but its actually a page which has a link to their (other mfgs.) web site.

Its a monopolist tactic only viable for companies with a dominant market position and the deep pockets that gives them.

To make this truly level MS (and Apple) need to be stopped from the various cross-licensing tricks, a favourite MS tactic which they never seem to get tired of.

what would happen if (say) 4 different browsers were 1 click away from installation? well provided they all did proper uninstalls it might get quite interesting.

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Paris Hilton

Don't comment if you don't know waht an OS actually is

I'm seeing comments along the lines of "Ubuntu came with Firefox" as justification for Microsoft forcing IE on it's Windows OS customers.

a few obvious problems with that strange idea:

1) Microsoft was convicted of being a monopoly, this is the reason for the this whole shebang.

2) Ubuntu is NOT an OS. If you don't understand why, you're not qualified to push opinion as fact.

3) Ubuntu is *free*.

4) Here's a big one - Firefox is made by Mozilla, not the Ubuntu folks (Canonical).So whining about Firefox makes no sense.

Those who mention Apple might have had a point, if it weren't for number 1 in the little list above. As is stands, these folks are just plain lacking in the intelligence dept.

Paris, 'cos she's been in a lot of browsers.

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Culture clash between MS and Europe

In continental Europe it is quite common to impose stricter rules on a dominant player than on minor players, which explains why MS is targeted and not Linux or Apple: http://tech-no-media.blogspot.com/2009/04/eu-and-microsoft-culture-clash.html

An almost monopoly that tries to impose a proprietary standard that would keep out competition (which is what IE6 & IE7 actually are) should at least be investigated.

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@ Rob Moss

Agreed, IE is joined at the waist to Windows & Im fairly sure that the option to remove it will never be facilitated.

Sure OSx comes with Safari, but you can remove it if you wish to & there in lies the difference.

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