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back to article EC: Microsoft didn't honour browser-choice commitment

Microsoft has failed to comply with its commitments to offer people the chance to ditch Internet Explorer, the European Commission has said in a preliminary Statement of Objections that it has fired off to Microsoft HQ. From 2009, Microsoft has been legally obliged to show EU Windows users a "choice screen" so they can decide …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's all the fuss about?

"Also, you're bad at analogies."

It was quite deliberate thank you :)

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Trollface

Re: What's all the fuss about?

that would give them further ammunition to do the same to sony for only offering their browser, and not letting me install firefox on a PS3 (i don't actually own one but my point stands)

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft was levering their near monopoly ... to create an unfair advantage in the browser market.

Like they're going to profit billions from that...

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FAIL

Re: What's all the fuss about?

The term high school is used outside of the US and canada.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's all the fuss about?

biut in the UK generally means age 11-16 (or up to 18) rather than say the US where 14-18 (up to 20) might be meant.

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Meh

Re: What's all the fuss about?

"The term high school is used outside of the US and canada"

Oh my. Whatever shall I do to atone for my sin? OK, I am not from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, China, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the United States.

Happy now? Some people, so picky!

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Pirate

Re: What's all the fuss about?

IE probably does need paying for at some level, but since its removal hasn't resulted in a price drop for Windows, why do you assume it is making Windows more expensive? Microsoft's pricing does that by itself, not the inclusion of optional software.

Other options are available.

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: What's all the fuss about?

"3) Personally I have never met anyone who was unaware of how to enter someotherbrowser.tld/download."

You should get out more and know more people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's all the fuss about? @Mephisto

"You should get out more and know more people."

If more people did this whole browser thing would probably fizzle out as peoples' sense of proportion kicked in. Anyone who wanted to read about it would have to come to The Reg to hear how not having loads of browser option stuck in your face mysteriously stops you installing any of them.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: What's all the fuss about?

> 2) I am aware of the monopoly ruling.

Your posts would indicate otherwise...

Vic.

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Go

Re: What's all the fuss about?

"Your posts would indicate otherwise..."

Maybe I just think there are more important things for the EU to whine about and maybe, just maybe, my posts were constructed quite deliberately, for that very reason. Then again, maybe not. Either way I find the whole EU/IE spat a right old yawn.

I may be able to summon a little enthusiasm for anything EU orientated if they ever go after Apple and others with similar gusto.

Either way, I shall continue to view the EU bureaucrats as a bunch of whinging, whining, 'fogie-fied' ol' tossers. (Just like me perhaps!)

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Gold badge

Re: Microsoft was levering their monopoly ... to create an unfair advantage in the browser market.

"Like they're going to profit billions from that..."

They almost certainly *did*. though whether they still do is another matter. IE6 became a de facto standard in the business world, making it that much harder for rival OSes to offer a viable desktop. In fact, even once Microsoft themselves wanted to kill IE6, they found that they couldn't do it and there are plenty of companies who are still using IE6 or IE7 on XP. In short, Microsoft's practices were so anti-competitive that even Microsoft's future self has suffered. (Serves 'em right, I hear you say. I shall not argue.)

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Usage_share_of_web_browsers_%28Source_StatCounter%29.svg

That is all.

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Silver badge

Statistics, damn lies and statistics

For comparison the stats from Akamai (almost certainly a much larger base though notably US-biased)

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I don't get this

so what about Apple? or ChromeOS (or whatever the hell it's called)? are they required to give their users a choice of browser? why is MS being singled out for this, when I doubt it's competitors are any better.

and why should it matter anyway? non-technical users won't understand and will probably stick to IE anyway, where as your experienced/power user is going to go for chrome or firefox out of habit anyway, and the fact that no one makes money out of the web browser itself. i just don't get this whole thing, it just shouldn't be an issue

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Stop

really? you think that?

Illegal acts from Microsoft are targeted at the non-technical users. And that is why it is illegal in the first place.

And for the really stupid people out there, no one is making money off their browser distribution for the simple and complete reason that Microsoft forces all consumers to purchase IE. Even under the ballot screen.

Microsoft in fact does make money off of IE. Probably about $35 a copy. That is the price they charged before their illegal conduct began. And there is no reason to think otherwise. Oh, except for those who lie and claim because the price is not disclosed it must be free. Idiots. Maybe you pay $200 for IE and the OS is free. One is just as likely as the other. And in fact, with illegal acts either could be true. Consumers are not given the choice. If you want the OS you have to buy IE too. If you want IE you have to also purchase the OS.

It is an issue because it is illegal and everyone at Microsoft knows that for a fact (or is a bonafide idiot). Certainly not very intelligent. Any Microsoft lawyer can explain it to you if you still do not understand.

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Paris Hilton

Re: I don't get this

Apple does not have a near monopoly in the operating system market for home computing (nor for mobile). That is why MS was singled out.

I am getting tired of all these people who fail to understand what a monopoly is and that OS and applications are (or should be) separate markets.

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Re: I don't get this

Because iOS does not have a monopoly and like 3 people own a chromeos device. Microsoft abused their OS monopoly to gain control of the browser market. Whether or not apple pushes safari on people it was that way from day one and they did not use a monopoly to get where it's at

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't get this

Okay. But you would agree I assume that they have a near monopoly in the tablet market...?

Did I get a browser choice when I first setup my iPad, no...?

How about the link between the Apple ecosystem and iTunes, no monopoly there either I assume?

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Re: I don't get this

It really sad if people "don't get this". It is all about companies abusing their power in the market in order to eliminate competition so that prices can be raised later. MS got previously EU fines for non-disclosure of essential API's which were several 100-million Euros, Intel got fined for paying resellers NOT to sell PC with AMD cpu's. People who "don't get this" would have gotten it at the latest when licences for windows were $300 instead of $50-$100, and a basic Intel CPU would start from $300 and up, but then it is too late.

Good at least somebody raises an "evil company tax" in this world, my guess it that MS will finally "get it" when they get a $500 million fine on the doormat..

EU taxpayers deserve a refund, thx to US rulings the whole world pays a MS patent racketeering tax on everything with DOS formatted filesystems and on Android phones..

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Silver badge
Pint

Re: I don't get this

Perhaps you are not old enough. Those court cases take many years to finish. But to make it simple MS had a monopoly (or near) on the desktop at the time, still the number one as we know. A monopoly has to follow rules that apply to a monopoly (USA or the EU alike). Using a monopoly to create an other monopoly is not allowed.

Take Scandinavian Airlines, they had a monopoly in Scandinavia and they would never have been able (not that they tried) to bye airfields in Scandinavia for the same reason. There are of course better examples too.

Anyway Apple or Google do not have this problem, but in case you read anything you know that Google could have similar problems as a near monopoly in search. As for the EU and Microsoft read "Case COMP/C-3/37.792 Microsoft", as I remember it is from the year 2004.

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Anonymous Coward

@Lars - Re: I don't get this

Actually that's what Microsoft would like you to think about Google. Google has a dominant market position in search but they are not hampering competition in any way. If I remember well every Windows machine is being shipped with IE having Bing as the only search engine configured and Firefox ships by default with Google as a search engine but it is just an option and it takes two clicks to search with Bing or other search engine instead. More than that, nothing in this world prevents you or anyone else to start indexing the Internet and provide search services. Have you ever seen a web site that will allow itself to be specifically exclusively and indexed by Google ? Google is not forcing anyone to use any of their services, if you have information to the contrary I'm interested to know. Please don't take my word, just give it a try to Bing + Hotmail + other non-Googles and see for yourself how it works.

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Joke

Microsoft can't even spell 'honour'

Microsoft can't even spell 'honour' - they spell it 'honor'!

(I kid my fellows from across the pond - or is that 'pounde'?)

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what browser market?

This has always confused me a little.

All browsers are given away for free for crying out loud. If the Browser was so integral to the process then why are google basically printing money with a similar - and far more insidious monopoly in something that matters - ie. web search and consumer information.

I've never understood the rationale behind the banning of the inclusion of IE and Media Player varieties in Windows, when alternatives were always freely available elsewhere. Im honestly surprised that microsoft were allowed to include their antispyware stuff at all. For me these were just natural developments and extensions of the OS.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: what browser market?

> All browsers are given away for free for crying out loud

Whilst that's not actually true, the zero price of most browsers is a *result* of Microsoft's tying IE to Windows; it destroyed the competiitive market that once existed.

Vic.

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: what browser market?

The main reason browsers are free is because Microsoft forced the first commercial browser (Netscape Navigator, maybe you heard of it?) out of business by bundling a browser in their OS for free.

Which is why there was a monopoly ruling to break Microsoft up in the late 90s, into an OS vendor, and a separate software vendor.

Then I guess various palms were greased, as eventually the department of justice bottled and said they would just let Microsoft get away with telling the PC manufacturers that they could bundle non-Microsoft software with their hardware offerings without getting cut off. Because that seems fair.

So you logic of "why would I care about Microsoft bundled IE because all browsers are free" is completely backwards.

Browsers are free because Microsoft bundle one, so they all have to compete with that. And the Anti-trust authorities let them keep doing it even after it was deemed to be abuse of monopoly.

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WTF?

Get off the high horse

Microsoft include a browser in their os through which you can download any other browser in the world and set it as your default. So what the fuck is the problem? That's like saying you went to buy a Mercedes then complain because they won't fit a BMW wheel. Apple get away with it and don't give me any of your pish about not being a monopoly because in the tablet market they are. Windows 8 RT will even let you use another browser and what money is there to be made anyway? The EU wanks can just fuck off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get off the high horse

It's more like Mercedes preventing you from buying and installing a BMW wheel. Apple gets away with it and they are not a monopoly because they do not force OEMs to install iOS, they come up with their hardware + software so you take it like that or leave it. By the way, Microsoft will now be in the same position as Apple with the tablets they manufacture themselves. Get it now ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get off the high horse @AC 19:02

"It's more like Mercedes preventing you from buying and installing a BMW wheel."

Nope. You can install any browser you want on Windows. The fact that Windows comes with IE installed has zero impact on other browsers. If people don't install them they're either unaware of them (try advertising guys - I've seen quite a few for Chrome on TV,) or are happy with IE. I know loads of people here will just say the latter group is stupid, but relying on that argument is frankly childish and unlikely to sway people.

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FAIL

For those saying this is a non-issue and simply to use another browser, uhm, you do realize that you still need to patch IE bugs even if you aren't using it, by virtue of it being on your system and integrated with the OS, right? MS likes to brag about how many people download and install the new versions of the programs that come with Windows, but I have to wonder how many of them are doing so purely for security reasons like myself and not out of an actual desire to use the damned things..

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Anonymous Coward

So what? If it's that big a deal use another OS. Need Windows to run an app/use Netflix or whatever? Take it up with the app/web service vendor. They're the ones really giving MS a user base.

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FAIL

Some of the posters are missing the point.

Microsoft agreed to present a browser choice as part of the remedy (or had it imposed on them, but that's unimportant). The alternative would have been higher fines or blocking their right to do business in the EU.

They then did not follow through with the remedy while (this is an important point) annually certifying to the court that they were complying.

This wasn't a trivial side issue, where checking would cost more than the fine. This was a Billion Dollars/Euros. Big 'B'. An army of lawyers were involved. Complying with the agreement would require a medium sized team inside Microsoft to implement. Not as a small part of their job, but as their primary focus.

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I dont get it?

I get Microsoft trying to create a browser monopoly by bundle ie with windows but what about the other programs bundled with windows like paint,notepad and calculator there must be other software companies out there making these sorts of apps.

why can I only use Samsung's web browser in my TV. do Samsung have a monopoly in TVs.

I live in a town in the UK which has its own Telephone lines (some might say a monopoly) so the only option for broadband is through them, so I cannot get the sky broadband bundle, on the plus side the service they other is good, technical support great, never had them bat bat an eyelid about illegal downloads (for the 8 Years I've being on broadband) and they rolling out FTTH.

The thing with Microsoft is you've always had a choice of browser some people just didn't know which id put down to lack of advertising on the others behalf. A lot of average users don't even know what a browser is or what it does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I dont get it?

It's ok, you can admit to living in Hull, we won't judge you :-)

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FAIL

Another thing that has been missed...

Not only did Microsoft fail to comply with the agreement they actually filed submissions to the courts specifying that they were complying with the agreement during the period when they were non-compliant.

M$ should be slammed for making a false declaration to the courts. Who in their right mind would make a legal filing about something that can be easily checked without actually checking. There should also be punitive fines against the M$ official who made the declaration of compliance.

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Bronze badge

you just uninstall the IE in control panel => programs -> turn windows features on or off

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Anonymous Coward

This does not uninstall IE

otherwise you will never be able to visit Windows update.

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Bronze badge

Re: This does not uninstall IE

it uninstalls it as much as you need, you need a browser to be able to download the browser you want to use if you dont backup all your downloads while using another version of windows, you install your browser and then disable IE

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