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back to article Mozilla mauls Microsoft on IE, Windows 7 bundle

Mozilla has issued a broadside against Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 operating system, by claiming it stifles the browser market and gives Redmond’s Internet Explorer an unfair advantage over its rivals. According to the Financial Times, Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker said: "Our initial review suggests this is a blatant …

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I'm sorry...

but it's a Release Candidate... get over yourselves Mozilla!

Jesus, you'd think MS were evil for bundling their browser with their OS.

If people want FF, they'll download it. Christ it's pretty much the first thing I do when I install Windows.

You want a bigger market share? Then do some large scale marketing of your application - don't expect MS to bundle it with their OS just because you feel left out.

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Anonymous Coward

How about instead of bitching...

they give a VIABLE example of what MS should do.

Bundling firefox, opera et all with windows 7 is NOT a viable example as there is NO way they can include EVERY browser in the list, there will always be a new one that gets to complain because they are not in the list (bare in the mind the user will get VERY confused as well with that, because a default will be needed to help with that and THEN the other lot will complain about what is set as the default)

NOT bundling any browser is also not viable as users EXPECT a web browser to be there , also then we will be going back to the old cd way to get the browser which could cause other issues.

so what should ms do? how about constructive help from this bunch of whiners

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Why

"The EC could order Microsoft to distribute rival browsers alongside IE when bundled in its Windows operating system. A response from Brussels is expected next month."

Why should Microsoft have to do this? It's their software (Windows) and they should be allowed to just bundle their browser if they wish to. I find it perfectly acceptable that when I want firefox to be installed along side IE I need to download it myself.

How are they supposed to decide which rival browsers to bundle into Windows? Surely if they include one rival browser then they need to include them all? Also whilst they are at it they obviously need to include all rival media players, photo viewing software, and email applications...right?

Usually when rivals complain about Microsofts business practices, they just wish they could be in the same situation, no matter how ethical they claim to be...they are all in business for profit.

I do hate how people stick with IE6 for so long though, people need to let go of it once and for all....please! Hopefully Windows 7 will catch on. I've tried it and think it's great myself.

I don't just love Microsoft either. I just use the software/OS/whatever that I prefer to use and that helps me get my work done on time and also enjoy some entertainment.

Out of interest do Apple bundle rival browsers with their products, or just Safari? This is no way intended to take a shot at Apple. Just that if they don't bundle the rival browsers...shouldn't they have to if Microsoft are forced to?

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ffs not this again....

its funny this one...

safari is ok to be bundled with apple

firefox is bundled with every linux disto i have seen

wtf are MS users supposed to do. install the OS then try to download FF/opera with no browser?

i wouldnt mind but FF is getting increasingly shite over the years... problems with addon makers etc etc.

does ford get in shit for having ford stereos in their cars? im sure blaupunkt would prefer theirs in there?

if anyone wants to use a secondary browser they can - its easy to do. i could imagine if MS made FF run slowly or not install. i mean apple are much more restrictive with their apps.

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Double standards?

But are they complaining about Google pushing Chrome on their front page? Many would that's a clear abuse of Google's near monopoly in the search engine market. However Mozilla are unlikely to go after Google given their relationship.

So until they complain about Google I don't think we can take them seriously can we?

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Stop

Why? It wouldn't make any sense.

Quick! Someone issue a complaint that GM unfairly bundles their radios and CD players with their cars which is obviously stifling the aftermarket radio competition.

Seriously people... cry me a freakin river already! Would Opera/Mozilla like a piece of cheese with that wine?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh please

not this, still

why not moan at apple while you're at it? or some of the linux distros...

of _course_ microsoft don't want to bundle some random people's code with their OS (and what browsers, anyway? if it's just FF then isn't that just as market-manipulative? so should they include every OSS browser ever, no matter how broken? and what about closed-source browsers like opera? should they trust them as well?). The alternative is not to bundle IE with the OS either, and that leaves you a bit screwed.

every OS in the world comes with a browser and a media player, and it's not like it isn't easy to change what gets used as the default under windows

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Anonymous Coward

Is the EC too blind to see

The simple facts here are that Microsoft has the OS and they have a browser, they are unlikely to bundle another company's browser as that is like saying that their own is crap.

If the EC do decide that MS should remove IE as the default browser then the same should apply to Apple (Safari) and to Linux (whatever comes with that flavour), and no OS should come with a bundled browser made by the same company, and where would the internet be then.

Opera have a good standing as a mobile platform, but for real internet access I know of no-one that actually uses it, why, because it really isn't that much better than any other browser, and they should get over that fact. Even is MS was forced to remove IE from Windows, they wouldn't put Opera there instead.

These guys should spend more time marketing the benefits of using their browser if they want you to use it, and provide a real benefit to doing so, rather than bashing MS. If the Opera/Firefox guys wanted to make a statement they should extend their lawsuit to include Apple and Linux as they are as much guilty of the same thing, but they won't.

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Oh look....

..Firefox is bundled with Ubuntu...Wahhhhh not fair.

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@ekimdam

While I do agree with your point (and I do) I really do wish that manufacturers were forced to use a standard cage, connectors etc for stereos, so I don't have to buy £30 of extra adaptors and fit them into my dash just so I can have a Kenwood rather than a Beta.

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Gates Halo

Firefox out of Ubuntu then?

So Mitchell Baker will also be campaiging for the 'debundling' of Firefox from Linux distros?

Face it - your average user is going to be confused by anythng other than a single default web browser ready waiting for them on their shiny new OS. Far less will they expect to use a command line ftp client to access their browser of choice.

Get over it.

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yawn yawn

Complaint is still misdirected. As everyone above (at the time of writing) has mentioned, users need/expect at least one browser available but what Mozilla et al should be complaining about is that even after installing your browser of choice you cannot Uninstall IE.

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Maybe...

just maybe they looked at the multi-tab aeropeek on IE8/Win7 and wondered "how the fuck do we do that?" and then decided to whine about it instead.

What a storm in a teacup.

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There are two types of people

1. Those who buy a computer and will use the software that's bundled and...

2. People who install the system themselves.

For group 1, bundling is irrelevant as they'll use whatever Dell etc installs and those companies are free to put in whatever browser they like while they're adding the rest of their proprietary software and AV packages. For the rest of us, installing an alternative to IE is part of the windows installation process. I installed the Windows 7 RC the other night and I didn't consider the process complete until I'd added Kapersky, Firefox and a graphics card driver.

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A note on linux*

Most distros come with Firefox and then either gnome+epiphany or kde+konqueror- in other words pre-installed browsers > 1.

Also (imho) safari on mac is such a steaming pile of.... well let's just say it does everything but pop up a dialog "You could do a lot better than this, ya know" every time you launch it...

*this is not a rebuttal to other comments - I don't use Windows enough anymore to know what the IE experience is like these days

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Linux

It's a fair complaint

Microsoft are in a monopoly position, by giving away something - in this case a browser, as part of the whole they are abusing their monopoly position by excluding others from competing fairly.

All the whining from Microsoft apologists are not fair comparisons. Apple and Ubuntu are not convicted monopolists, they are free to do what they want.

As long as Microsoft continues to bully smaller companies with dirty tricks it deserves to be kept under anti-competition law scrutiny and they should be forced to bundle competitors browsers such as FF and Opera as part of the default install and/or offer a browser free version of Windows 7.

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more yawn

Kevin Johnston has the point here - resellers cannot remove IE and put their own favourite on, and neither can you or me. It's not the initial bundling but the inability to remove.

Of course the biggest crime is to force resellers to put windows on at all. Price the OS separately (and honestly) and see where people put their money . . .

Don't you just love the sound of a Gloucester Old Spot tootling overhead.

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Mozilla has bigger problems than this

At home, on Linux, Firefox is fine. It still has problems and needs to be coaxed, kicking and screaming, in to running some video feeds on a 64bit install, but its do-able.

However, in the office - IE is the standard. Why? Because it works with all our service providers. At least three web applications I use just don't work with Firefox. They do work with IE. Yes, I guess we could get the apps fixed to work with FF, but why would we go to that bother? We have a business to run, we are not a browser testing shop.

So, Mitchell, stop the pathetic bleats and fix the browser. You are starting to loose market share, not because of any nefarious dealings by MS, but because you have fallen behind.

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Try reading the complaint!

I see a lot of people here haven't read the complaint and don't understand competition laws.

The question is whether MS are abusing their near monopoly position to push IE. You can't complain about Linux or MacOS because they haven't got a near monopoly position.

The point is that browsers used to be separate and MS have dumped IE on the market to force others out of business (that's the accusation). They could do the same with Accounts software, CAD software etc. Then they put the price up once the competition are dead. At the very least they make it more costly for a competitor to get a foothold in the market place.

Of course there's also the question of which tools are reasonable to bundle with an OS.........

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why not moan at Mac or Linux

Why not moan at Apple over Safari or Linux over FireFox ? Because neither of those two are *convicted criminals* with a past and ongoing history of *unfairly* and *illegally* screwing people over...

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Anonymous Coward

Still not...

... seeing any actual workable ideas from the peopel maoning at ms, just more internet idiot rants about ms being "convicted criminals" and "bullies".

How about instead of sitting on forums complaining you get outside adn get a life, or even better DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Make your own browser, consulte your MEP don't just sit here and bitch about them , it makes you sound retarded (which i know most of the population of ms haters is)

Can we have a pic of a retarded tux or something, all the icons seem to be anti ms except one out of date one!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: why not moan at Mac or Linux

In my opinion Apple should be a convicted monopolist already; for their forced bundling of iTunes with the iPod if nothing else.

If anything these days I believe Apple is more abusive than Microsoft. They are far better at spin though.

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Isn't it amazing

... how many thick people read The Register!

Microsoft are specifically not allowed to leverage their OS monopoly to disadvantage competitors in other areas, in either the EU or US, and probably elsewhere in the world too. The same rules don't apply to non-monopoly players.

I am in complete agreement with the proposal to bundle Firefox with Windows 7, as the second most popular browser, and perhaps Opera, Chrome and Safari too. There aren't actually that many. Maybe the first time a user clicks the Internet icon they could be asked which browser they want to make the default, much as MS have already had to provide a way in IE for users to select their default search provider.

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@Adrian re. Mozilla has bigger problems than this

"..So, Mitchell, stop the pathetic bleats and fix the browser."

I'll wait for various people to explain things to you :)

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Paris Hilton

@Adam Tickett

So, that a company follows the same practices as a "convicted monopolist" somehow relieves them of responsibility? Not so. The points from the "apologists" are fair, and if you were not such a fanboi you might see it clearly.

Microsoft produces an operating system. That operating system is useless without a browser, and almost impossible to support if it does not have a uniform ground on which to stand.

In-depth dissection of your argument is a waste of time. In short, if Microsoft should bundle Opera and Firefox with Windows, does that not open them up for non-competitive complaints from other browser makers, such as Google and Apple? And how useful is an operating system without a browser today?

Producing a browser-less version of Windows is asinine. This eliminates the out-of-box, ready-to-run functionality that basic and novice users require. And while it does not stand in the way of the power-user who wishes to use an alternate browser, neither does Windows with Internet Explorer.

FFS, I actually know several "novice" users who download Firefox on their own.

Paris, because a vagoo-less version of her would be just as asinine. And, no, she does not bundle alternative vagoos -- you get the one she has.

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They should just pay Dell to install it

If some company wants their browser on prebuilt machines, just do like google does with their shitty search and pay Dell to install it. If microsoft does something nasty about it, THEN you might have a case against them.

But for retail copies, the idea of shipping an OS without a browser is retarded. However, I would expect nothing less from the EC.

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IE is not free

You pay cash money for IE. Only retards think the toy in their happy meal is free.

But, that is not the real issue.

Browsers are not necessary to use the internet. A simple download script can be provided for all the major browsers. And that eliminates the need to pre-bundled any browser on Microsoft, Linux or even Apple.

Give the consumer a choice. Whether they pay money like with Microsoft or actually free and unattached.

Look at all the little kiddies who think it is okay if mommy still puts out their clothes on the bed each day so they can wear them without thinking. And mommy packs a nice lunch too. They do not have to think. And not one of them does think. They are only selling IE for cash.

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Jobs Horns

Bad Analogy Guy

All the posters with the car analogies are missing the point: Nobody cares that Ford put their own brand radios in their cars, Ford don't insist that radio stations broadcast in a format that only Ford radios can play.

Nobody gives a toss what crap runs on your Windows boxes, only that the internet is getting shafted because of it.

And @AC 14:03: Pot, kettle a bit doncha think?

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Anonymous Coward

Bundle it - Support it.

This is a good idea. The people sat in support centres over the other side of the planet always need more random applications to come up with generic and unhelpful replies for.

"You need to replace your homepage[s] sir, just open up your 'internets', now, could you explain to me in 200 words or less the icon that you just clicked on. Unless you were using a non-standard icon, in which case I need you to guess what browser you're using. What do you mean you don't know what a browser is? Oh, no sir, BT isn't your browser it's your ISP. No I'm not calling you stupid sir. I'll get my manager..."

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Anonymous Coward

Take your pick and enjoy.

Love Firefox, but this is just plain daft. The Fox comes with Google bundled in as the default search engine. Why aren't Clusty, ixquick, Yauba, Yahoo, Microsoft, and all the other SEs included? Because Mozilla has a financial relationship with Google. Follow the money.

Mozilla deserves credit for compelling MS to raise their game to the extent that with IE8 they finally have a viable product in the browser market. Competition good - monopoly bad.

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And they're suggesting: what?

That W7 should come with no browser? How are people going to download firefox? Or how about W7 with firefox preinstalled? Doesn't that just lead to the same situation in reverse?

I like firefox, because I think it's a good product - but whining like this without suggesting anything constructive just makes Mozilla look petty.

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Stop

Reading the FT article...

I couldn't figure out what Microsoft was doing differently in Windows 7 than other versions of Windows, until I read this bit:

"However, Microsoft indicated that this only applied to the recommended method of installing the test version of Windows 7, and was unrelated to the experience most users would have when the new operating system is officially released."

So Mozilla and Opera are complaining about IE8 replacing the default browser when performing a CLEAN INSTALL, thus wiping Firefox/Mozilla, and all other installed software, from the machine?

Sounds like more tactics to stir up a technologically unsavvy EU committee to me.

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and next.

Dodge will complain that Fford mustang's do not come with the option of Hemi engines as a option.

For as much as I love using FF they maybe should put some of their $$ from suing MS and lobbying for MS lawsuits to TV ads, or paying Oprah off to say how good FF is on her show. The market share if Oprah talked about it would probably hit 85% overnight and crash their servers.

Now if MS added mozilla.org to the hosts file by default to point to a null page or went out of their way to make it not work or even install on windows, then I can see the complaints. But as it is right now their bundling their software with their own hardware.

Last I checked Apple included Safari and are not being treated in the same way. Most the Linux distros I've tried had Konqueror installed as default and not FF. So why isn't Mozilla not suing everyone else for anti-competitive practices is the only question I have.

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In

the good old days I used to get my browser:

From a CD provided on the front of a magazine.

Via a command line ftp client.

From the CD my ISP gave me when I joined them.

If Microsoft hadn't integrated IE4 with Windows 95 then there would never have been such a big issue, IE4 was integrated so tightly with the operating system it was almost impossible to remove. I believe this stifled the competition.

Today I have the opinion that an operating system should include a browser, however I think this should be some sort of lite application capable of doing the basics. Much in the same way that Windows comes with a basic word processor (Wordpad). This way, if the user requires a more comprehensive application then they can choose which one they like.

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Hmm please explain

I worked for a company a while back that bought a lot of compaq computers. They came with Netscape . Netscape was right on the desktop. No one used it. So what now what you want MS to p ay for user training ??

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MS fan boys, are you idoits?

Yes MS and Apple should have to bundle a selection of browsers.

Why not BSD/Linux? Because of the sea of distros. BSD/Linux can be forked and remixed into a different product in a way Windows and OSX can't. You can't sell repackaged Windows or OSX where you have swapped out apps and configured it differently. Though I notice in the pirate world there are remixed copies of Windows.

Stop wining, it's in your interest competition is forced. You want to get left further behind then you already are?

You forgotten the lessons of IE6 already? No competition equals stagnation.

Then if you really think about it, you'll see that Windows and Apple are monocultures and Linux/BSD/Freesoftware is an ecosystem.....and if you know your biology.....

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If you don't like IE

There's a very simple solution (and with apologies for the following language)

Don't fucking use it!

There, pretty simple I think

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Pirate

Two minds about this

For the record, I am a Unix/Oracle programmer/analyst by trade and we have Macs and Linux boxes at the house.

First, Microsoft has a point that we're talking beta and RCs here. This isn't a purchasable product. And can you imagine the uproar if they didn't provide a browser? The one solution would be, on configuring a system, asking whether you wanted (from a list) IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, etc. However, when you first fire up a system, particularly Windows, your priority is downloading the patches, correct?

Also, while people claim they like choice, if you give them too many choices they vapor-lock and tend to choose a default. That would be IE.

At the same time, I can see that MS is a convicted monopolist and should be held to different standards because of it. However, that train has left the station because Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson liked media attention and f***ed the deck so MS could declare a mistrial. At that point the case against MicroSoft became much, much less winnable. If you need a scapegoat, call up Judge Jackson and ask him if he thinks lawyers are an evil monopoly.

Oh, wait, I'd better not type that, in case literacy is now a requirement for judges in the US.

Personally, I blame Jeremy Clarkson.

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gather round ye commentards, and listen

To anyone making comments of the line that Firefox is bundled with Linux, go back and RTFA. It's a complaint about abusing or creating a monopoly on the OS level to leverage a monopoly situation in related applications. Last I checked neither Linux nor Apple qualified as monopolies in the desktop world. OK?

That said, it does sound a bit silly to be complaining about a pre-release version, but I can also see the logic in moving now to forestall future problems when the new OS does roll out.

On more thing: can we have a moratorium on stupid analogies? Please? I suppose not, but maybe some of you will hear my plea...

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@Rob Elliott

I freaked out when I first read your idea, but after I calmed down a bit I realised what a good one it really is. There *is* a browser equivalent of WordPad. Let Windows' only built-in browser be Lynx.

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It's the removal or at least the default

XP.

Firefox is properly installed as default. I have Opera. I have IE7

Why does ONLY Foxit PDF reader launch IE7?

MS's own XP tools to set default don't work properly.

Ditto on default Image editor (PSP, but occasionally MSPaint or MS Photo editor launch)

The problem is not inclusion of IE, but the consistently buggy default application for a file, which is set in more than a few places and has never entirely worked.

.html is labled as MSWord doc! (though FF does launch).

MS have broke their own product.

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Uses for IE

When I've had a new Windows install, the first thing I do with IE is go to the Mozilla site and download Firefox, which gets installed as default browser. Then I use IE for Windows Update and pretty much nothing else, unless it's a work machine and I'm inside their firewall accessing Sharepoint.

Linux is not a dominant force in the desktop environment, much as some might like it to be, and usually comes with several browsers bundled. Apple gives less choice, but then you probably knew that when you signed up to their culture and bought one of their machines.

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W

Make it uninstallable

I agree with Rob Elliott with the primary issues being that IE is too integrated into the OS and can't be uninstalled.

An OS needs a browser nowadays, but whereas it can be uninstalled without many problems in other OSs and the user can choose which browser to use or not to have a browser at all, in Windows you cannot uninstall IE, so even if you choose to install FF/Safari/Chrome/Mozilla/Opera or whatever you want to use, you always have IE lurking in the background, wasting space and demanding regular security updates.

MS did abuse it's market position and continues to do so even though many complained.

So why not either provide a slimmed down no-feature-browser if there has to be one to display the windows help and whatnot and let the user decide which browser they want to use by either providing an overview page with links to the biggest alternatives including the full IE7/8 or, in the least provide an option to get rid of the thing if people don't want it...

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Ubuntu

Ubuntu already comes with Konqueror as well as Firefox. If there was a Linux version of IE (hell will have frozen over, you will receive a warning through the emergency broadcast system), and it was actually Open Source, perhaps it would be included if MS wanted it---not that anyone would likely use it.

But seriously, although I've been a longtime user of Firefox, and rarely use anything else, Mozilla needs to stop bitching. Windows also doesn't include Winzip, Winrar, or any other utility for dealing with zipped files other than the crappy built-in functionality and these vendors aren't complaining.

God forbid a software manufacturer including their own products and not everyone else's with their operating system distro. When I buy Velveeta shells n' cheese it doesn't come with Kraft cheese---amazing!

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Release candidate means exactly what it says

Its a feature complete, ready to ship version of the operating system. Barring last minute legal issue, the only difference between RC and RTM is some bug fixes. People who think "it's only a release candidate" should get a clue here. This is what Windows 7 is going to look and behave like.

Anyway, the latest IE8 was hardly friendly or open when it comes to asking users if they want to change their search settings. It would not be cynical at all to think that MS deliberately filled the setup with multiple steps and peculiar terminology to scare people away from changing the default settings which naturally favour MSN. If they really intended a level playing field, it would not have been hard to provide a single "pick your search behaviour from this list" dialog and leave it at that.

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@MS Apologists

"Microsoft's rivals claimed PC users who upgrading their machines to the new operating system have Microsoft's own IE8 set as their default browser, even if they were previously using a different company's software."

For those of you who are unable to read, this is the issue. A typical Microsoft "upgrade" to the new OS will break your preferences for using a diffrerent, installed browser in direct violation of a previously-defined user-made selection.

So where's the Linux/Apple counterpart to this situation? Oh, right ... there ISN'T one, because when you upgrade a Mac or a Linux box, YOUR PREFERRED BROWSER SELECTION IS LEFT ALONE. Only the previously-convicted monopolist Microsoft engages in that behavior.

And their claim that the final release version of Windows 7 will NOT do re-assign the default browser choice is cold comfort. How can we expect them to engineer that feat when the current release completely avoids it?

@Alan W. Rateliff, II ... I don't know for how long you have been using a computer, but an OS is far from "useless" without a web browser. Same goes for a robust word processing suite, or audio players. THOSE all get installed by the user at their whim. Microsoft STARTED "bundling" (or more appropriately, REQUIRING) MSIE in an attempt to attack Netscape Corporation and its web browser back in the mid-1990s. You should learn more about Microsoft's history as a monopolist, and what led to their current status as one, before you attempt to act knowledgeable in these areas. Same advice for all of the MS apologists, here.

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Paris Hilton

What a waste of time, energy and resources?

Ok in my opinion browser wars are nothing new and I don't really think it is an area for EU organisations to get too hot under the collar.

On the other hand what I do believe to be reasonable at European and national levels is to say: Hey MS. We do tons of business with you we want you to make sure that our dependencies on your operating systems are not compromised. Make 'em more secure please from the get go.

But they won't seize an initiative and probably love the fuss made about browser wars?

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Anonymous Coward

@Bundle it - Support it.

That may be the funniest read of the day - especially if you read it in the fonejackers indian support desk voce in your mind.

As to the browser didn't used to get shipped with your os, hell there was a time when you didnt' get a damn gui, but I can wager that going down like a turd in a chocolate factory if tried to sell a consumer OS without one now. Type "getashittygui.bat" to receive shitty gui type "getawsomeMSgui.bat" to get the gui we wrote.

In the "good old days" almost nobody used a computer, people sure as hell don't give a turd about the ramblings of psychotic browsertards. It shows websites - who the hell cares where it comes from. The only great things FF has over IE is adblocker pro and noscripts, and most nobby users would never get around to installing them.

Browsertards need to get back into the real world where nobody gives a shit about browsers.

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Anonymous Coward

What next? File Systems?

How dare Microsoft use their Monopoly Power in Operating Systems to force us all to use NTFS - I demand that we be allowed to choose the non-Microsoft file-system of our choice at install time!

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Gates Horns

here we go again...

Every time this story is covered there's always the same BS comments from the ms fanbois.

If anybody bothered to read Opera's original complaint for example, they'd know that it's

1) IE is bundled

2) IE con't be uninstalled

3) IE is NOT standards compliant

4) MS has a monoply position (which Apple & the various Linux distros don't)

_combined_ that is the problem. Point 3, which leads to all those broken "IE only" web site/apps (as mentioned in an albeit backward way by Adrian Challinor) is actually one of the biggest - even when the user installs another browser, they *still* have to use IE for some sites (often MS's own).

Also, anybody who thinks one needs a browser to download & install another browser shouldn't be even *reading* the reg, let alone make comments.

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