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back to article Microsoft 'didn't notice' it had removed Browser Choice for 17 months

Brussels' competition commissioner has opened a fresh investigation into Microsoft's practice of using its Windows operating system to push people into using its Internet Explorer browser, following allegations of non-compliance with an EC settlement deal the software giant agreed to in late 2009. Microsoft, under the legally- …

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Trollface

I didn't notice either.

mozilla.org seemed to work just fine.

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FAIL

Re: I didn't notice either.

"Microsoft immediately confessed to what it described as a "technical error" that had removed the choice screen from its OS. "

Yes it's thanks to the bullshit artists and morons in Microsoft and the crapware that is filled with "technical errors" that they didn't notice that I don't ever use any Microsoft product any more - and haven't for a LONG LONG LONG time.

In fact the better I got at using computers and repairing operating systems and rectifying stupid bugs and outright bullshit - the more I became so utterly desperate to escape from having to use any Microsoft software....

While I think the people in Microsoft are lying - it seems patently obvious that they are, given their track record of stupidity and deceit, and bullshit software, I'd accept the fact that it's just one more fuck up, in a series of extremely long ranging and never ending series of fuck ups...

In fact I can hardly wait till Stupid Office 2013 falls flat on it's face..... A box of horse shit in different wrapping paper.

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Paris Hilton

Re: I didn't notice either.

IM GETTING PRETTY DAMMED TIRED OF PEOPLE TRASHING STEVE BALLMER AS FAR AS IM CONCERNED THERE IS NOT ANOTHER CEO IN HIS LEAGUE

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MIc

Re: I didn't notice either.

I don't see how the EU can keep bitching about the browser issue when IE is not anywhere close to #1

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MIc
Thumb Down

Re: I didn't notice either.

So much objectivity in this post. I bet it's 100% factual. It's a scandal.

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Coat

Re: BDG

Strange though it may be, there is a certain truth in what you say...

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Re: I didn't notice either.

Agree, I think the first thing people do with a new Windows computer is go to Mozilla to download a piece of software. The second thing they do is reset their homepage to Google.com. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think IE and Bing, or whatever they use today, being the default throws many people off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I didn't notice either.

Why on earth would I set my home page to Google? about:blank or the equivalent is my home page and has been for many years. Google slurp enough data as it is without my telling them every time I open a new browser window.

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Re: I didn't notice either.

*blatantly

Fixed that for you. Get over yourself and go compain to your mirror. I haven't had any issues with my own Windows OS install (XP, 7 or 8 Preview) for over 5 years now. I do work in IT support though and plenty of people manage to cock up their OS by thinking that they know everything and doing things which they don't completely understand. It's called user error.

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WTF?

Unfortunately

There are many CEOs in his league.

The corporate world is sick. How do these companies even survive?

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Boffin

@Mic. Re: I didn't notice either.

Once Microsoft copped a plea, they entered a binding settlement agreement. Unless they agreed to language that stipulated they no longer had to comply if their market share fell to X, they will have to keep that screen up until the end of time, the company goes tits up, or they petition the EU to modify the terms of the settlement agreement. (Whichever comes first... Assuming that the EU doesn't dissolve first...)

Having said that, it looks like one of three things happened...

A) our rogue programmer left Google and is now working for Microsoft

B) Microsoft was losing enough market share of the browsers and decided to do ths and if caught, they'd cop the Google Defense...

C) it was an honest mistake because they shipped the work off to India and the QA team didn't catch the mistake that flipped the switch to turn off the code to show this window for EU customers only.

Your choice....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "until the end of time"

No sir, sorry you are wrong.

As it was stated, if you had cared to RTFA:

"[Microsoft] was supposed to display a choice screen ... until 2014."

"Redmond has also offered to extend its compliance period by 15 months..."

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Def
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FAIL

So let me get this right...

It took 17 months and 28 MILLION sales for someone to notice something was missing. Clearly the great unwashed couldn't give a shit. So this then begs the question: Exactly how much money has the European Competition Commission wasted prosecuting and enforcing this obvious waste of tax payer's money?

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Bronze badge

Re: So let me get this right...

Considering the size of the fines so far? None whatsoever...

Original fines were £1.5bn. This could lead to fines up to £4.5bn ish...

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Re: So let me get this right...

Plus they may have been waiting to see how long it was until MS reinstated it, or until enough time had elapsed to smack their legs a bit.

Not that many people notice cos they're using other browsers, the ones using IE probably have no clue there should be a choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So let me get this right...

Excellent! so they've found a way to get the americans to directly prop up the Spanish economy!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So let me get this right...

The great unwashed do give a shit...... they'd far rather not be shown the stupid confusing browser choice screen in the first place!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So let me get this right...

> Clearly the great unwashed couldn't give a shit.

The great unwashed don't know they have a choice.

They are not technically knowledgeable, they are not aware that there are other tools out there for performing the same task. They either depend upon their son/daughter/nephew/niece/neighbour (who probably has a little bit of knowledge) to set things up for them or they go with what they are given.

The browser choice screen is there so that the great unwashed are made aware that they do have a choice. What they do with that choice is up to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So let me get this right...

>The great unwashed don't know they have a choice.

>They are not technically knowledgeable, they are not aware that there are other tools out there for performing the same task.

>They either depend upon their son/daughter/nephew/niece/neighbour (who probably has a little bit of knowledge) to set things up for them or they go with what they are given.

>The browser choice screen is there so that the great unwashed are made aware that they do have a choice.

>What they do with that choice is up to them.

Except... no.

I agree with your statement that many depend on a friend or relative to sort things out. I don't agree with the rest though.

Because they are unaware that they do have a choice then, in reality, they don't really need to be given a choice and are fine with what is provided since given them a choice only confuses issues more.

Anyone who purposely clicks on any browser on the choice screen other than the default does so because they know what they want and if they already knew what they wanted then there's no need for the browser choice in the first place since they are more than capable of doing it themselves.

To those that know no better, giving them such a choice is just confusing and unneccessary.

Two examples.

Case one. Me. Built myself a new rig just before Christmas, Win7 Pro SP1. Can't remember if I had the browser choice but I'm assuming I didn't since, come a few days back here it is!

Now, I already had IE and FF installed so any install option was pointless so I clicked cancel. Heyho, it removes the IE icon from desktop, start menu and taskbar. No worries though, I simply re-pined them and was fine as before.

Case two. My mum. Setup a new Win 7 laptop for her a couple of weeks back. No browser choice option at initial setup when I was there. Browser option comes up after an update when I'm not there.

Now, I've instilled in her to say no to things that popup asking you to install this and that and leave it until I'm next there. So, she follows suit and clicks cancel the same as I did.

Trouble is, now her icons are gone and she thinks she no longer has internet access since you can't find them in the usual place. Brilliant!

How many others around the country did the same and ended up packing their laptops and pc off to PC World etc. because they had "lost" internet access...?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 16:00

I understand.

Microsoft badly implements the browser choice and because of this you think the "great unwashed" should be denied a choice.

Nice logic.

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MIc

Re: So let me get this right...

Shouldn't there be a downside to not knowing something? How far do we go to "help" the prols?

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Def
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Re: AC @ 16:00

"Microsoft badly implements the browser choice and because of this you think the "great unwashed" should be denied a choice."

The choice was always there. The point I was making originally about the great unwashed not giving a shit is exactly what the other AC was saying: If people are aware they have a choice, they will make it. Otherwise they will almost always be happy with what they were given in the first place.

While I agree that educating people about their choices is probably a good thing, and, yes, Microsoft appear to have gone about this in their usual half arsed half thought through way (but just wait for version six), I'm sure that 90% of people who saw the browser selection screen either didn't understand why or what they were being asked about, or couldn't care less.

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC 1600 "other than the default"

There is no such thing as the default, that is the whole point of the EC's ruling. The (pretty obvious) idea here is that they want to prevent Microsoft from unfairly promoting their own solution.

The order of the various options in the browser choice screen is randomised.

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Anonymous Coward

This is your ass microsoft, please take it when I hand it to you!

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Meh

Still in the updates....

I still keep deleting it from the updates list when I build or configure a new machine.

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Re: Still in the updates....

Go into "Turn Windows Features On or Off" in the control panel and uncheck Internet Explorer. It will then not appear in the updates.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by balls up.

I can't imagine for a minute that they'd deliberately go against the rulings of the EU, despite what many of the conspiracy orientated people on the Internet may say...

Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?

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Re: Err... Inadequate.

I attribute based on balance of probability. In this case however, malice is beyond even reasonable doubt, IMHO (IANAL BTW)

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Re: Err...

Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence.

If they get away with this, it just shows that double measures apply in the justice system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

"Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?"

Yeah first thing that occurred to me is why Brussels didn't discover it was missing immediately when it happened. Can only suspect they knew much earlier and deliberately let it run to get another bite at the cherry. Or perhaps too busy using up their lavish expense accounts and generous salaries and perks. Either way, this is the real scandal so long as theres no evidence of a deliberate action by Microsoft, highly unlikely IMO.

And what about Opera who helped instigate the idiots to demand the annoying crapware in the first instance.

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Windows

Re: Err...

Never admit as a balls-up what you can get away with calling a "technical error".

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Re: Err...

"Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence."

No, but lack of intent can be a mitigating factor.

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Re: lack of intent can be a mitigating factor.

Difficult to see that applying in this case. Burden of proof of complying with the judgement must lie with offending party, ie. Microsoft.

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Re: Err...

"Last time I looked (tried), ignorance was no defence."

Well you're probably not a director of a multinational media company then. Or a minister in her majesty's government.

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Re: Err...

Brussels probably didn't notice because they're all still running Windows XP (which still showed the screen correctly, I understand) and IE6 :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

""Also, how come the EU didn't notice for so long?"

Yeah first thing that occurred to me is why Brussels didn't discover it was missing immediately when it happened. Can only suspect they knew much earlier and deliberately let it run to get another bite at the cherry"

That could be true but it is also possible that...

1. The EC were busy (they've had a few other issues to worry about, like the possible break up of the Euro) and

2. The wheels of EC bureaucracy turn very, very slowly (speaking from experience).

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Re: Err... Inadequate.

Strictly speaking, it's neither error nor malice. As always with Microsoft, it's the single-minded and grimly dedicated pursuit of the absolute maximum profit in the long run. (Admittedly, most suits understand "the long term" to mean "this quarter AND THE NEXT ONE").

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

You mean, the browser choice screen doesn't cause a log message somewhere on a server in Microsoft? And nobody was monitoring those logs to see what proportion of people chose which browser?

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LDS
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Devil

When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

I can't find it there too!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

It's called the 'App Store', you might want to look into it...

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Facepalm

Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

as oposed to BCS on Andriod or Linux, whats your point?

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Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

No, it's called all your browsers are really Safari.

Apart from possibly the new Chrome for iOS no browsers are allowed unless they're just skins for Safari.

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Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

Perhaps that on Android there is a choice whereas on iOS there is not?

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Stop

You seem to be living under the belief

that Apple had entered into a legally binding agreement to allow users to pick their browser of choice in iOS in settlement of an anti-trust investigation. Until that happens (and Apple hold only a small fraction of the worlds browser use) you won't see it either.

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Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

Chrome is a skin for Safari. The only alternative browsers are Opera Mini and Skyfire which render pages on an external server.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

Re: "Apart from possibly the new Chrome for iOS no browsers are allowed unless they're just skins for Safari."

Nope, Chrome uses the same underlying libs, too, and a slower javascript engine, as it's not allowed to use the fancy one safari uses, or a faster third party one. It isn't allowed to be the system default browser, either. That said, it's still nicer to use AND YOU CAN SWITCH IT BETWEEN IDENTIFYING AS A MOBILE AND DESKTOP BROWSER, hint hint, Safari.

Oh, and Firefox Aurora for Android with Adblock extension is starting to appeal to me more and more too, apropos of nowt.. :)

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LDS
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Re: When BCS will be available for Apple iPhone/iPad?

Oh well, for Windows there's that thing called "the Internet" - last time I checked it was far bigger than the App store....

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LDS
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Devil

Re: You seem to be living under the belief

It looks that Safari has over 63% of mobile browsers, thereby it's time to force Apple to offer a BCS as well...

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