back to article EC pressure on Microsoft grows

The European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes is considering ordering Microsoft to offer rival browsers with its own software bundle. As we reported in January, Microsoft warned shareholders of the possibility of such an action, which could even see older machines updated. One suggestion is that Microsoft could use its …

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Flame

Ah but...

....who wil be responsible for ensuring these are up to date, or carry the burden?

Intersting to see how say Opera would cope with demand for 100 million downloads all at the same time...

To be honest, it's an f**king waste of time. If people want an alternative, the just go and get one. It's not bloody hard.

I don't want other ones shoved down my throat, chewing up my bandwidth, because someone one at Opera is whinging that it's not fair.

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Silver badge

Why would Microsoft care?

Even if they add a dozen free third party browsers, people are still charged for IE along with the OS the might not want either. The obvious solution is to limit Microsoft to shipping a free demo version of their OS, and letting lock-in victims buy functionality if they want.

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Stop

not a workable solution

The only workable solution is to unbundle IE from any Microsoft OS.

For those who fear they will not know what to do if a certain application does not come preloaded, it would be fine to include download scrips for all popular browsers.

That way the consumer can pick and choose browsers just like any other application.

No. Only idiots claim that IE must be forced upon consumers because a browser is so essential.

Cloths and food is essential too. But, no body is suggesting that the government or anyone else decide what clothes you wear or what food you eat. Only Microsoft does that. And it is illegal.

I guess those who say forcing IE upon consumers is okay must still have their mommy put out their clothes on the bed each day and make them a nice lunch so that they do not have to think.

For the slow learners: Even an essential application, if there is such a thing, does not mean that consumers have to be denied their choice and denied the option not to buy certain branded technology. You see a lot of idiots (no doubt paid by Microsoft) claiming that the browser is so essential that being forced to buy IE is okay.

It is not okay. It is illegal in the US and the EU. And it about time that consumers be given the basic right to pick and choose what they buy. Forcing even more products upon them is not in anyone's best interest.

Except perhaps Microsoft. Even if other browsers are bundled in, only Microsoft is selling IE in exchange for cash. And that is not a solution to any antitrust problem.

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Thumb Down

STOP: This is getting silly.

It's sufficiently easy to go download Firefox, Opera, Chrome or Safari and make them your default browser these days.

Will Apple have to do the same and offer other than Safari ?

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Anonymous Coward

Companies only take notice when...

you have the potential to make a significant hit in the profit line. Either directly or through publicity that can affect sales or perception leading to affected sales. (Ratner effect...)

The EU has that ability, if it wants to. It can do the same with Google, GM, Toyota, and any major international that is not homed in Europe.

But will it...? I doubt it. Posturing has worked well enough so far and MS isn't yet weak enough to be slapped down. Time will come, however.

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Coat

Because Windows N was *SO* popular

I'm sure B5 (IE/Safari/Chrome/Opera/Firefox) will be just as big a hit!

Idiots.

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Silver badge

Hacked version or pucker ones?

Would you trust a version of Firefox or Opera downloaded from Microsoft?

They've already been found out for distributing a FF add one to allow IE compatible viruses onto your systems.

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Anonymous Coward

Solution to the issue:

Force Microsoft to distribute their windows sans internet explorer and media player. And force apple to distribute OSX sans Quicktime, iTunes and Safari.

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Silver badge

Crying over spilt milk whenever there's a mountain of butter going rancid?

Seems like the EU Bully Boy, which is a recent Political Invention and Upstart Newbie Arrival on the We-are-your-New-Masters-and-you-will-do-as-we-say Scene, has bitten off more than it can comfortably chew.

The secret, boy and girls, is to hack into any Offending Core and Use the Operating System to deliver yourselves a Novel Advantage. To seek to penalise and dictate to an Established Establishment Player is quite Pathetic.

In fact, if you step back a bit and look at the Bigger Pictures, the EU is practically a Mirror of the Microsoft Windows OS.

All's Fair in Love and War and Business?

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Anonymous Coward

fairly pointless

MS will either bundle installs for all relevant browsers but make sure IE is the default / most prominent / first option and therefore the one most non-technical users end up with, or they will have no browser by default and provide options as above to ensure the same result.

@Lewis Mettler:

You need to calm down a little bit, take a few deep breaths and realise that MS bundling one, more than one, or less than one browser (Whichever it / they may be) is not a big deal. Personally I have no problem with MS doing as they currently do regarding browsers. I also don't need anyone to put my clothes on the bed, although someone making my breakfast for me would be a nice touch.

I have Vista* and I use FireFox for everything web based. I only used IE once and that was to get firefox. But my mother uses IE, she can't be bothered with downloading / installing anything else and as long as she can get on the web she cares not which tool she uses.

What next? Stop MS bundling paint because there are other drawing programs, or minesweeper cos there are other games and so on. If you think so, and I am sure some people will, then I humbly suggest you use linux and stop annoying the rest of us.

*I like vista, it works well enough and has never yet crashed on me so there.

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Gates Horns

@Lee

"But my mother uses IE, she can't be bothered with downloading / installing anything else and as long as she can get on the web she cares not which tool she uses."

I know several people that use/used IE, but not through choice - because they don't know any different - and have been surprised, confused, concerned ("won't FF break Windows?") when they discovered there is an alternative.

The same with many other applications - including Office.

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Alert

@Lee

Responding to Mettler doesn't help anything. He's been on his anti-MS rant for over a decade now. He was banned from C/ZDNet talkbacks back in the 90s for his repetitive and pointless rants, essentially spam diluting any real dicsussion. (How pointless do you have to be to get banned from ZDNet???) Old "cut 'n paste" Mettler we used to call him, he'd just reuse the same post over and over again. Honestly I haven't seen one of his posts in years.

Man, that takes me back, though...good times!

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Are you kidding me?

Firefox already owns 30+% share. In Europe, I heard it's more popular than IE. Now, why does anyone still think MS must be forced to ship with competing browsers? Should all popular software vendors ship with competing softwares to promote competition? And Google should provide links to Yahoo and Bing search results?

I can understand some anti MS sentiment but this is ridiculous. You EU folks are living in a weird world.

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Anonymous Coward

ehh

This is a chicken and egg problem..

You need a browser to be able to download a different one ....

Here's a rant at 'Europe' in general: It's not like microsoft and intel (who is also under the gun ) are forcing the EU to buy their stuff. Europe (or any other country/continent/planet for that matter) is free to develop its own know-how including processors and operating systems , and have its own hardware and software manufacturers.

There are a lot of really smart, talented and capable people in Europe that should be able to do that ...

(slaps own forehead) oh right... sorry, I forgot for a moment that those people moved to the US because they are fed up with all the belitteling rules and taxes, the ridiculously low wages and the 'organised paycheck plundering' by the government.

Door , barn , horse ... bolted. All that remains is cry and sue the guy that sold the barn...

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So how do you download a browser?

So, with no browser pre-installed on a system, how do you download one? Via some obtuse FTP system? Thats really going to help non-technical users. And I notice Apple is barely mentioned, don't they do the same with Safari? The EU are being idiotic.

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EC pressure on Microsoft grows

"One option is to order a structural remedy, such as forcing a company to split up or spin off part of its business"

Yes, this is the only solution.

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Joke

Houses with Alternate doors.

Slick idea, browsers and http traffic in general is the biggest open door to trojans, viruses and root kits getting on your system.

So Microsoft is doing what it can to make the OS more secure (and yes they have..), by having a big bolted door to access the house (ie8 protected mode, sandboxing etc etc).

And here comes the EU commission, not constraint by any knowledge on the matter, and demands Microsoft ships the house (OS) with alternate doors supplied by others.

Why on earth would you want to try to write a slick slash hammer (root kit) that kicks in those doors, just build your own door and demand the EU Microsoft will install it for you themselves.

As an EU slave (ehmmm I mean inhabitant, without any sensible democratic way in changing the EU) , what I want to know is: Where is all that money the EU is stealing (ehmm, I mean fining) from those big companies going.. Can I have some as subsidies? I have this great business plan, I am going to build some doors...

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Go

Remember its supposed to hurt - that's the idea D'oh

MS have been found not be following the competition rules, so the EU fines them or forces them to change their unfair behaviour - the idea is to cause ms enough pain that they see the error of there ways.

These rules only apply to companies which have effective control of a market. This is in the consumers interest in the medium to long term, as if ms abuse their dominance they can kill off any competition and set any terms and conditions there like. It also stifles innovation.

Don't kid yourself this would be a *Big Thing* yes a lot of uses would just choose the familiar but...

... Google has a well trusted brand and a lot of users would give chrome a go.

Personally I always recommend Firefox but at least Chrome is fairly safe and Auto-updates.

TBH the EU Commission is begining to look like the only organisation that is on the ordinary citizens side, fighting back against big business and privacy abusing governments.

Also after the last bloody nose ms got at the EU's hands they know who has the whip hand.

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Flame

And the next problem-application is?

Forget the browser nonsense. Tomorrow it's another application. Place a ban on bundling of generic software and hardware instead. The OEM-regimes and secret deals have prevented true competition in the software market for decades already. Enough is enough. Sensible market regulation should aim for a market where no actor control a share higher than 25-30%.

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Stop

Re: So how do you download a browser?

@Bunglebear 19:38 GMT

"So, with no browser pre-installed on a system, how do you download one? Via some obtuse FTP system? Thats really going to help non-technical users. And I notice Apple is barely mentioned, don't they do the same with Safari? The EU are being idiotic."

Funny, I have XP, Vista (yuck) and Linux running on varius computers at home and, you know what, I don't need a browser to update/upgrade/install software on my Linux box. I use Synaptic, which gives me a nice searchable list of software for my box - I tick the software I want *including browsers*, Synaptic downloads it and runs the various installers.

So what's the big effing deal about not coming pre-loaded with a browser? I would *love* to rid XP of IE entirely (not merely removing the icon and shortcut, which seems to be MS's idea of an IE uninstall).

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Silver badge

For Fuck's Sake

"And I notice Apple is barely mentioned, don't they do the same with Safari? The EU are being idiotic."

Twat, just utter twat. You are always treated differently when you have a monopoly. There's no point clamping down on anti-competitive pricing of a corner store is there when you can go after Tesco et al?

As for anyone who dares to mention "how do you download a browser when you don't have one?"

How about a script on the desktop that's called "Download Firefox Browser" that uses something like wget followed by an install? Can't tell me there's nothing in the windows/msi ecosystem that can't do this simple task. Same for IE and Opera etc so the user has to make a conscious choice. If they choose IE then so be it, they only have themselves to blame. The point is that the OS uses %browser% not IE.

The problem is not so much the forced bundling of the application (in this case IE, tomorrow who knows what?) but in how that monopoly is then exploited. That is the point with Microsoft. It wasn't just the bundling of IE it was the fact that you couldn't remove the fucking thing, that MS then defaulted to it from other apps, that the non-compliance with web standards forced sites to be written explicitly for it because it came on every desktop etc etc etc.

"Here's a rant at 'Europe' in general: It's not like microsoft and intel (who is also under the gun ) are forcing the EU to buy their stuff. Europe (or any other country/continent/planet for that matter) is free to develop its own know-how including processors and operating systems , and have its own hardware and software manufacturers."

One of life's great thinkers aren't we? At least grow a set and stick a name to the tripe you espouse. Say it like you mean it.

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Micros~1 should make...

...it possible to uninstall any piece of the OS without severely affecting the functionality. That would get it on par with other OSes. I don't mind it bundling but it should be possible to replace(not install side by side) REPLACE all the initial tools with others. What would that entitle? Opening the APIs so that the apps would be able to hook into the same bits and provide the same functionality without needing to resort to the official tools.

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Gates Horns

Missed the boat

Give em a great big fine, and move on. MS certainly have. Silverlight is the new thing. Windows will update your browser to be compatible. Every one will develop with it, so much better than flash, goods software tools for windows etc. But hey whats this new HD video streaming feature that, well, doesnt run that well on non MS stuff... And the pissant dev with about 8 months experience, says who cares everyone uses MS.

Repeat and Rinse when the regulators catch up. By the time they do no one will remember that flash thing.

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And the next fine is for....

... adding software that automatically does stuff on your computer without your permission. Like Google chrome updates.

... not shipping all browsers.

I'd love to see em ship Netscape 4.1. Just to spite the EU.

I do appreciate the EU trying to make sure a competitive market exists. But this time the underdog (Opera) started crying whilst a direct competitor (FireFox) managed to get one damn big piece of the pie without legislation.

This ruling could harm FireFox too seeing it is seen as (almost) the only alternative to Internet Explorer. All their marketing work will go down the drain this way too... but no one really seems to see that.

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Suggestion for Reg

Can I make a suggestion to the Reg that for any story which is about Microsoft's monopoly position that you attach a boilerplate-style notice mentioning (in large font, boldface, italic and underlined... in parentheses...):

- Apple do not have to remove iTunes/Safari/whatever BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY

- Abuse of a monopoly position is ILLEGAL both in North America and Europe, no matter what you might think of it and the law dictates that ation is taken against those FOUND GUILTY OF SUCH ABUSES.

Tha would prevent at least 2/3rds of the most inane comments these stories attract.

No, of course I realise it wouldn't make the slightest difference.....

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Stop

OEM builds only

"For those who fear they will not know what to do if a certain application does not come preloaded, it would be fine to include download scrips for all popular browsers."

And how do you decide which the popular browsers are? Someone somewhere is going to pissed off that their browser isn't included and complain.

Every OS comes with a browser. MacOS comes with Safari, each distro of Linux comes with whichever browser(s) the distributor decides on - why should Windows not come with IE? The retail version of Windows should be able to come with only IE.

Of course, browser makers should be able to pay OEMs to include their browsers in any OEM builds of Windows, in much the same way that AV vendors do.

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Stop

@ Paul M

"- Apple do not have to remove iTunes/Safari/whatever BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY"

Don't they have a monoploy on the Mac platform???

Maybe to get around it MS should manufacture an appliance like apple and then only allow Windows to be installed on it, problem solved.

Seriously though the solution to this problem is simple don't ship a browser and use the Windows update application which doesn't require I.E to deliver the browser. I can't see MS wanting to ship a load of browsers that they don't control on the CD or through Windows update and I don't blame them so I do see an issue there, but they will of stopped shipping IE with the OS the rest (getting another browser) is the users problem.

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Alert

Listen, idiots

MICROSOFT HAVE A DESKTOP MONOPOLY. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE BEING TARGETED. THAT IS WHY THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO APPLE.

God almighty, how many more times??!!

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Flame

<title>

Aside from still comparing Apple(s) with Windows, there's still that 'need a browser to download a browser' tripe going on. People, get a clue please. Have you not read the responses in the previous articles?

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