The story later
5 weeks after the EU ruling
Guy > "So instead of having the big blue E on my desktop, I've got to go to the local store and buy a magazine with a DVD for £6 and install an internet browser thingy? Why do I need to pay for something thats free?"
BOFH > "Well, even though IE8 is apparently getting more standards compliant and passes the Acid2 test, but not the Acid3 test - companies which have minimal market share complained to the EU. The EU enjoy slapping companies, gives them something to do, so they agreed and told MS to stop bundling IE with Windows. MS threw a hissy fit and went OTT, the EU didn't think things through like 'so, if they do remove IE, how will people use the internets?', its all to foister competition!"
Guy > "Competition? Huh? I just want to install IE, what other browsers are there?"
BOFH > "Firefox, Opera to name two"
Guy > "Firefox, I've heard of that, but Opera?"
BOFH > "Decent browser, doesn't have the sex appeal of Firefox, hardly well known, hardly used, doesn't advertise on every website with 'Get Opera' and blames MS for its poor market share"
Guy > "So what does that mean for most people?
BOFH > "Why don't you search the internet and find out?!"
Guy > "....."
BOFH > "Oh, right. For most home users, like the older generation who don't want to faf around with installing a new browser, who just want to use their computer for email and the internet, it means they are screwed and will now spend a fortune on 0870 numbers calling their ISP's (if they can find the number) and be left wondering how they get on the internet. I'm making a fortune out of it! For the tech savy, they already have Firefox or Opera or even Chrome already downloaded so does not effect them.
Guy > "So it kinda screws the not so tech savvy?"
BOFH > "No, it gives ME lots of work. Do you know how many intranets use IIS rather than Apache? Using ASPX rather than PHP? Using functions which only work properly in IE? More than 4, probably more than 6, so now the system admin has to stop playing F.E.A.R. 2 and get IE back on thousands of computers, some colleges will have over 4,000 computers that need IE installed!"
Guy > "So why did MS retroactivly remove IE?"
BOFH > "You realise this is a premium rate number right? The PFY set it up just as the EU ruled?"
Guy > "..."
BOFH > "They did it to prove a point, an OS without a browser is like a rampant rabbit without batteries, sure its fun, but its just not enough, you may get satisfied, but wheres the buzz?"
Guy > "So basically Windows is a vibrator, and IE is batteries?"
BOFH > "..."
Guy > "So whats my solution?"
BOFH > "Well, I got several copies of this wonderful OS laying around, called OS2.. Warp... its fantastic and for only £75 a licence!"
I just don't think the EU are thinking this through, they are on an anti-MS crusade and will take whatever action they think they can get away with when it comes to MS. They have a history of screwing with competition and damaging the big guy in the hopes the little guy will actually make in-roads. Firefox is gaining popularity, not because its a better browser, but because everywhere you go there is "Get Firefox!" and through word of mouth. Opera is not doing this, I don't think I've seen a "Get Opera" advert.
If MS were to lock down Windows in such a way that FF/Opera/Chrome couldn't work, or did an Apple Quicktime and changes file associations every time you used it, then yeah, Opera would have a valid case. But people won't stop using IE if IE is removed.
The sort of people who use this site will know how to get a browser installed via FTP, but the vast majority of people wouldn't know their FTP from their NTP and asking them to accept an OS without a browser installed is punishing them. They won't switch to Firefox/Opera, they will most likely INSTALL IE off a cover disc and stick with it. I know if IE was removed from Windows I'd never go near Opera again.
Its 2009, the whole world needs to be online to do business, do the EU really want to put the EU at a major disadvantage to other trading blocs? What next, Windows must unbundle its boot loader as it over-writes Linux? That'd be a laugh.
People should be given their own choice, but every OS should have a browser installed by default. IE is the browser that comes with Windows, sure they could bundle Firefox/Opera, but they get in trouble for bundling, and also who would offer support then? If it comes with Windows, MS would be expected to support Firefox/Opera, and should FF/Opera suddenly develop a major exploit that lets hackers download your hard drives or something, MS would be to blame as they bundled the software.
Mind you, they could try adding Chrome to a Windows install......