back to article Opera hits Microsoft with EC complaint

Opera is complaining to the European Commission that Microsoft is continuing to abuse its dominant position by tying its browser to its operating system and by not following web protocols. Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, said: "We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make …

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  1. Anigel
    Gates Horns

    bundle

    So if Microsoft were to bundle firefox then opera would be happy?

    Somehow I dont think so.

  2. Duncan Hothersall

    @ Anigel

    If MS were to effectively support web standards then Opera would have no grounds for complaint. Personally I am very glad of the existence of Opera, even though I don't use their products. MS can spread FUD about Firefox using their anti-open-source nonsense. But Opera is a successful commercial company pointing out clear anti-competitive practice by MS to the detriment of all web users. Very valuable indeed.

  3. Graham O'Brien
    Gates Horns

    @Anigel

    I can uninstall Firefox - every part of it, as far as I am aware - from my PC. Can the same be said of IE?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Anigel

    From the Opera web-site: "[Opera] requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers pre-installed on the desktop."

    So what they'd actually like is for MS to unbundle IE *and* provide a selection of pre-installed web-browsers. So you could imagine, in a wholly unrealistic alternate reality, the pre-installed Vista (say) coming with a number of installation packages for all the most popular browsers and no default browser.

    Unfortunately since the IE code is actually intertwined into the kernel for every Windows OS since Win98 it's unlikely that MS have the ability to remove it now without, yet another, re-write.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bundling vs. standards

    Why once again they speak about bundling? Screw it. Ubuntu bundles Firefox and it's fine but MS cannot. Get on with life, everybody's free to bundle whatever they want.

    But standards are different thing: MS effectively kills other browsers because of this. That should be addressed a long time ago. Especially if a company is a convicted monopolist. Same should be happen to opening of all communication protocols. I know it happened, kind of.

    Just my 2p.

    BTW: I use Ubuntu and love it!

  6. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Bundling another browser is not the option either

    Allow some API to be produced that, as long as a browser supplies the calls, will replace IE's rendering engine, allow system builders to produce windows bundled with any browser technology and remove IE as a requirement for receiving updates.

    For the latter case, have a separate application to do the downloading. There's no need for it to be an internet application embedded in the browser (except so far as to make IE with it's ActiveX technology a REQUIRED part of the OS). When I use Linux, clicking on an rpm calls up the packaging manager and the browser is merely used to download the package to pass on to the application.

  7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Half a case

    I don't see how MS can be forced to follow standards. If they offer a sub-standard browser product, surely that's their choice. In any case, how many standards are we talking about here and how long after publication should MS be given to implement support? How many and how soon do Opera manage and do they really want MS to be legally obliged to beat them?

    The bundling seems a better case. MS have, at various times, used Windows as a vehicle for bundling DOS, IE and Media Player. Each time they've been taken to court. Each time they've lost the case. Presumably they'll lose this one, since it is almost identical to the Netscape case, and Opera will enjoy the same benefits of victory as Netscape did.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd of

    I'd of liked to have read this article but the woman pointing at me and trying to make me roll over the advert in the middle of the screen pissed me off so much I couldn't concentrate.

    Anyway from the jist off the comments -

    Get real, why not talk about Mac unbundling?

    People want their OS to come with a browser, a media player, basic text facilities, etc etc. and if the company make their own for their own OS then why not. If you want to install something else go ahead.

  9. Brutus
    Gates Horns

    @Anigel

    Actually, I think Opera would be quite happy if firefox got bundled. What they are really after is raising Joe User's awareness to the fact that there are alternatives to IE (the fact that the alternatives are better is a bonus!). Once Joe sees that there are options, he might go looking for further options and stumble across Opera. Or Open Office. Or Linux.

  10. Greg

    Those comments on bundling in Linux/Mac

    True, Mac and Linux bundle.

    And indeed that's not a problem.

    But what's illegal is not bundling. It's abuse of dominant position. Bundling for a company in a dominant position is abuse. Windows is in a dominant position.

    Thus, bundling in windows has several times been ruled illegal.

    Now for Linux and Mac, what's missing to have the same result is simply that they don't have a dominant position they could abuse. Thus, nothing's wrong with them, and citing them to make a case for allowing bundle in windows misses the point (not to say a point can't be made for windows to bundle, but that's certainly not by citing Mac or Linux)

  11. John P
    Gates Horns

    Bundle away!

    I don't think the problem is necessarily bundling, more to do with the fact that you can't unbundle it, nor can you uninstall IE in its entirety.

    There's also the fact that MS have made IE the only choice if you ever want to use Windows Update.

    Personally I never use IE for any other purpose than testing my web apps (as the majority of users will be viewing with IE) and for Windows Update.

    I don't think bundling an installation package for all the major browsers would work. When given the option of installing IE, Opera or Firefox, Joe User will just install the one they currently use as it's safe and familiar.

    MS can continue shipping IE with Windows, I still won't use it.

  12. Edward Rose

    Bundling and London board games.

    @Ken Hagan

    Bundling bungled software encourages users to write sites which don't work with compliant software. Ergo, unfairly using their position to kill off other browsers (or in this case stifle the competition).

    Opera has been around a long time and is very good at supporting standards, Microsoft have been around a long time and intentionally break standards, and always have.

    How long after publication? Each new major release would do.

    @AC

    You are right to an extent concerning bundling. But, the issue isn't with bundling, it is with a monopoly bundling. There is a separate case altogether. If Ubuntu were a monopoly, they would not be allowed to hide other browsers from install time choices. Although overall no one should really bundle, it isn't a huge problem.

    However, removing the bundling will force MS to make a better browser for people to want to choose it over the other ones. Therefore, unbundling will help force compliance.

    But, as you say, just forcing them to comply to the standards would be a start.

    Ask for both they may get one ;)

  13. Léon
    Gates Halo

    Who bloody cares?

    So you have IE with Windows, so what? Nobody, not even Microsoft forbids you to install another browser. Which you can then use instead of IE. Nobody is forcing you to use IE here, people. The first thing i do whenever i installed Windows is download and install Firefox. I then try not to use IE for anything anymore, except for those badly-designed websites that can't handle anything but IE. Is Microsoft knocking on my door like a Jehova's Witness and try to get me back to IE? No. Does IE force you to make itself the default browser? No. So what if they bundle *their* software with the product *they* sell? You're not forced to buy that either! I don't really like Microsoft and their products, but come on! Equal opportunity to sell your product is nice and everything, but let Mozilla make their own OS first and then they can bundle their browser with their own software too.

    Oh, obviously i'm not a lawyer (no need for this disclaimer i suppose), and so i make comments that are probably dumb in the eyes of others :)

    And now i'm off to sue KDE for making Konqueror their default browser. It should be banned!

    What? It integrates into the desktop too? Monopoly! Yeah, i know i chose to have KDE and i should have known that they have 'bundled' this software. Yeah, i know i could have installed something else but i feel like whining.

  14. Kerberos
    Flame

    So what?

    I don't see a huge problem with shipping Windows with IE. Without it the PC would be useless to 99% of buyers, and finding a web browser without having the web would be difficult. I also really can't see why everyone gets their panties in a wad over the fact you can't uninstall it - just don't use it or hide the shortcuts. IE provides internet access as part of the Windows API and more than just IE use it. I've even written some small apps that use it that would break if it wasn't there.

    That being said, the only thing I use IE for is downloading Firefox and testing sites for compatability. It's a disgrace that it renders HTML so appallingly badly - it's holding the web back by years and wasting hundreds of millions of man hours in development times. If it rendered pages properly and did what it was told I really wouldn't mind it. At the moment it's the bane of my existence.

    What may be required is some form of standards body to implement a spec that must be adhered to. If your browser doesn't pass, you can't call it a web browser. Maybe the W3C should start making some trademarked kitemarks?

  15. Léon

    RE: I'd of

    Would it be really ironic in the context of this article to point you to Firefox and its NoScript and Adblock plugins now, which can block those pesky ads?

  16. Matty

    Unbundle Windows the GUI... er.. sorry... that IS Windows!

    Unbundle the Windows GUI! ;0) - ooh - can't!

    I'd love to see alternative WMs for Windows. KDE for example, or some of the really lightweight ones - be more stable that Vista, let's face it! I'd like to be more in control of my desktop. To control my own computer - shape my own destiny... oh - I already do - I dual-boot with Linux!

  17. janimal
    Thumb Up

    Hear hear!

    As a Soft Eng, when writing c++ commercially I am constantly plagued by the many non standards MS choose to inflict on developers. There are standards out there for C, C++ and the STL but M$ consistently ignore them or 'extend' them. The bastards.

    In my spare time I have been known to create websites for myself and for friends. I'm sure anyone in my position can understand why I absolutely fucking detest M$ and everything they do.

    When writing websites I code it up using W3C standards (HTML, XHTML, CSS) and it works on every browser except for IE6 & IE7.

    For personal sites I do a bit of browser detection and if they are using MS I give them a bunch of links to standards compliant browsers and tell them to come back once they have some decent software, however if someone has paid me for a site I have to jump through hoops to support both IE6 & IE7 because of their huge market share.

    Of course if you un-bundle your browser from the OS the user won't be able to search for another, so there needs to be a choice of browser provided on the first install.

    Let's face it MS should just stop bothering with IE, it's shit and IE7 only improved in useability terms by copying the rest - they just didn't bother fixing the bugs that count - rendering, security, & standards compliancy.

    There just aren't enough expletives to adequately describe the bunch of sneaky, money grabbing cunts that are Microsoft.

    PS if you haven't tried Opera, you really should - very fast, very useful. Oh and it just works!

  18. Léon
    Happy

    10 reasons I'm glad for IE

    1- i can use it to go to www.getfirefox.com

    2- the IE Tab plugin for Firefox would be useless without it

    3- i can pay my bills faster (my bank's website only supports IE)

    4- i don't need to install it seperately after installing Windows

    5- more competitors arise on the market

    6- works with Active Directory policies

    7- articles like these and the comments they spawn

    8- i liked it better than Netscape Navigator

    9- my scripts can depend on it due to its availability

    10- most people know what you mean with IE. Can you say the same for FF or O?

    okay so the last one was kind of hard for me to think of ... Come on, it's difficult to think of 10 good reasons :P

  19. Matthew LaShure

    Un-Bundled

    The only MS OS you'll see not bundled with IE is Server 2008 Core Edition. Otherwise the base for IE is the base for the entire browser itself in MS. Open up my computer? Well you've just opened up a slightly stripped down version of IE.

  20. Mark Rendle
    Flame

    RE: I'd of

    Does Firefox also have a grammar-checking plug-in that would have replaced the fucking abomination that is "I'd of" with the correct and actually-sense-making "I'd have", thus saving Anonymous Coward the immense effort of not being a cretin?

    On a more general note, to those who are complaining about Windows Update being tied to Internet Explorer: you should upgrade to Vista, in which Windows Update is a standalone application.

    Also, Opera should shut up. If their browser had had better support for standards before it got to version 9, maybe they'd have a larger market share. One of my abiding memories from my time as a web developer is writing browser-detect redirects to send Opera users to special versions of pages which didn't use any DOM-based Javascript.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Opera define new meanings...

    "a monopolist make choices for them."

    Monopoly:

    " a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller"

    So WTF is Apple? Sun? Linux? Opera? Firefox?

    So you bunch of morons, you want standards, yet can't even use the f****** dictionary.

    I can, if I want, install and use any of the above, but I don't it's my choice. Don't force your software on my pc thanks.

    Where the No Beardy Geek Icon (or just an LED in a darkened room will do)

  22. Znort666
    Linux

    @ i'd of

    Firstly,

    It's I'd HAVE not I'd of

    Secondly, the whole arguement is about Microsoft monopoloising the market.

    Fine let them produce their own browser etc, but you don't have to bundle it all together thus stopping people from ever learning that there are better options out there. So many people just blindly follow MS because they know no better. I now use Firefox and will never go back to IE because it is far superior, in my opinion. I am constantly telling people of other browsers that are available because they have no idea what so ever of the choice out there.

    Maybe MS should bring out a removal tool for IE as Symantec did with their product.

  23. Dakos San

    RE: I'd of

    Even more ironic to point out that Opera can block ads / scripts without plugins?

  24. Chris Cheale

    There is no IE

    "Internet Explorer" and "Windows Explorer" (which runs the Windows GUI) are basically one and the same thing - they both run on mshtml.dll (well in XP and earlier anyway - they may have redone it for Vista). The only way IE could be "unbundled" would be to removed (most of) the Windows GUI.

    The guys at Opera _must_ know this, so I'm guessing what they're really pushing for is getting the EU (who've already slapped MS's wrists) to leverage Microsoft to invest some effort in their crappy, non-compliant rendering engine. Something MS have had no incentive to do since they "won the browser war" against Netscape 8 or so years ago.

    Still - they could be cutting their own throats bit here, if IE wasn't so totally useless why would we use Opera?

    (Yes, yes, yes I'm using Firefox atm rather than Opera if the RegBots are reading my userAgent - but that's because FF has all the shiny web developer plug-ins, for most people Opera is actually a far better browser).

  25. Nìall Tracey
    Boffin

    @Mark Rendle (I'd of)

    The abomination isn't "I'd of", it's "I'd have". The reason people keep writing "I'd of" is because conservative private schoolboys refuse to let them write what they say: "I'd've" or "I'da'".

    Most people never say "I'd have" in their entire lives. However, they try to please the grammar nazis and make a "full word". Their best guess is "of".

    The thing with the Nazis was that they believed in a pure master race that never existed.

    The thing with grammar nazis is that they believe in some pure master tongue that never existed.

    (The Anonymous English teacher.)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: janimal

    Spot on janimal, the problem Opera are trying to get at is not the fact the IE is bundled it's the fact that IE Breaks just about every recognized standard, I used to be a prof. web designer, since have given it up yet i still design sites in my spare time... take IE6 not supporting transparency in PNG's what the hell is with that?

    All M$ really need to do is just sort out IE so it follows standards just like every other bloody browser out there...

    I personally use FF when desigining sites, yet i always have to fire up IE 6.0 to check that the site will work in IE Due to the unfortunate majority of people that still use IE!

    If it was up to me i'd code everysite with a lookup to check if they were using anything other than IE If they were you can view the site if not, here Http://getfirefox.com install that and you can come back to this site...

    But thats not the way because M$ is a monoply they can get away with brining out buggy as fuck browsers that don't follow standards!

    I really hope Opera win this case! GG Opera!

  27. fon

    lot of brainless sheep here....

    YES various linux distros have FF bundled, BUT it can be *totally* removed, and the OS wont even notice.... Unlike MS...

    Duncan Hothersall has the right Idea at least..

    Just one big 'fly in the ointment' for Opera... they just DONT want to go out and shout about it, the way that FireFox fans do!!! 'eww, that's not very polite'... FF may be brash and 'in yer face', but it gets *noticed*

  28. Andrew Listochkin
    Happy

    Mayby...

    ...it's all because of Silverlight. I remember a blog post of some Opera guy. He wrote that MS had agreed to support Silverlight in Opera. But when Silverlight was released there were only IE, FF, and Mac Safari listed. Now Opera files a lawsuit, and I’m sure they will add SL support for Opera. Now MS uses SL heavily on its site and I get pretty annoyed with the fact that I have to switch to IE to see yet another Halo add.

    I agree, Opera is great for web surfing and FF for development. So I have both installed :)

  29. Duncan Hothersall

    @ Stu Reeves

    Thanks for that lesson in the difference between knowledge and understanding. As a wise man once said: knowledge tells you that a tomato is a fruit, understanding tells you not to put it in a fruit salad.

    You have a standard dictionary definition of monopoly there, but if you understood the concept and the reality of PC OSes, you would immediately see that MS does indeed have an effective monopoly. Arguing against this is like arguing for tomatoes in a fruit salad.

    It is this effective monopoly which allows MS to embrace and extend web standards and turn them into perverted de facto standards. And consumers directly suffer, because their banks only work with MS browsers, or their email only works with MS software, despite the fact that governments and standards bodies all over the world have already spend millions of our tax money ensuring that nobody had to be reliant on a single vendor for these things.

    I simply cannot understand the mentality of a person who defends this action from MS. It is anti-competitive, anti-consumer profiteering.

  30. Gavin Mannings

    @Stu Reeves

    Unfortunately most dictionaries do not always have every technical use of a word so misunderstandings can be apparent. The term monopolist is being used in a legal and economic sense, I believe this term can be applied a firm with 40% or greater market share and who takes part in anti-competitive practices.

    The idea of solely bundling your own products has already been decided as anti-competitive, mainly because person XYZ who just uses their computer and doesn't know/care what software resides on it will not download or pay for any other software, even if it does it better, and that is the real issue here. If people don't know there are alternatives, or they are too lazy or scared to learn how to use another piece of software. By having just one piece of software permanently associated with a process, such as IE and connecting to the Internet, people do not realise there is competition out there, hence make choices as to which browser to use. If there was a choice of extra browsers being installed this would go some-way to pique uers' interest outside of IE.

    As Microsoft try to define their *own* standard, and many users use their product, it means that there is an economic incentive for designers and coders not to follow the more efficient standards or design for other browsers.

    Essentially it looks like Opera are trying to stop the 90% of users use IE days.

  31. Colin Millar
    Boffin

    @kerberos

    "..What may be required is some form of standards body to implement a spec that must be adhered to..."

    That's a recipe to kill innovation - "here is a box - do all your thinking inside it or we'll get the cattle prod out"

    By the way - W3C do have approval marks which you can stick on compliant pages - and a very good compliance tester.

    IE (and Media Player) can be completely removed from Windows integration by using add/remove windows components. That won't suit all the Hard Disk scrapers out there of course - FFS - this is 2007 - 50Mb is not a lot of HD space. Of course you can always nLite your install and save a bit of HD - but that is really for all the FDisk every six months crowd.

  32. Juhani Vehvilainen
    Thumb Up

    @ Stu Reeves

    Thank you Stu for pointing that out for us. We would be lost without your wisdom, well thought out arguments and insightful comments. You have the gift of being able to give a voice to the vast but mostly silent majority who loves the constancy that our Redmond rulers represent like constant things should be loved. Yours is a noble duty.

  33. this

    Language

    Do we have to have all this swearing? If I want that sort of stuff I watch TV. Or go outside.

  34. The Other Steve
    Happy

    If it wasn't for MS bundling

    There'd be no FOSS jihad, no kernel mailing list, and no rabid linux fanboys cluttering up the place with their ill informed flamage, because all the decent coders would have jobs at profitable software companies. There'd be no slashdot.

    Imagine that world.

    There'd just be Stallman, crying in a computer room somewhere, and no one would give a fuck.

    So in that respect at least, MS have lot to answer for, bastards.

  35. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Bundling vs. standards

    You can remove FF from Ubuntu and use Nautilus to browse the web. Or install Opera. Or even Lynx. You don't have to have FF installed to use Ubuntu.

    But you can't uninstall IE and by uninstalling I mean that when you've clicked "Remove Program", you don't have to worry about any security vulnerabilities from IE affecting your system.

    That lass in the icon, she's smarter than you because at least she shuts up about stuff she knows nothing about.

  36. Mark
    Stop

    @Colin Millar

    IE and media player ICONS can be removed completely. However, you still need the application to, for example, download patches. Your Windows OS will decide when it wants to run IE, so having the user front-end installed is NOT going to stop it. So your computer can still get hosed by an IE exploit, which is FAR more important than the size on disk (or even, nowadays, in memory).

  37. alphaxion

    I think the real issue has been missed

    The real issue isn't what comes with the OS or not, instead it's with the general IT ignorance of the unwashed public that is the reason for so many of these problems.

    "IE is only in the position that it is because people don't know any other/better".. what about educating them then?

    At the end of the day, the general public don't want choice (choice confuses), they don't want the very best/latest you can get and they certainly don't want to have to make any effort to find anything out and download then install it.. they just want their computer to work and do the basic office productivity, a bit of creativity (movie, audio and picture making/editing) and porn.. erm, web browsing. If their OS does this without ever having to go somewhere then people will use what comes with it, simple as.

    It's up to us, the geeky, to inform and educate the people you know about how they should do things rather than sit here, whining that the crappest products seem to become standard because the majority have no clue.

  38. Smell My Finger

    Without merit

    Opera should have complained about this years ago, at least as far back as Windows 98, did IE become part of the OS. You can't wait for umpteen generations of Windows to go by and the decide this is a problem. Really Microsoft's position is no different the it was ten years ago in terms of market share.

    I think there other side of the coin is you can complain about most tools bundled with Windows as being the same abuse; look at all the DOS shells and Windows file managers that became irrelevant when Windows 95 introduced Windows Explorer. Makers of file editors, backup programs, bitmap editors, email clients can all complain the same way. Even Trumpet Windsock should have complained long and loudly when Windows 95 brought in Dial-up Networking.

    I think their complaint is largely without merit and sounds like special pleading. I think Firefox has done Opera much more harm than Internet Explorer ever has as they're competing more or less on an equal footing.

  39. Colin Millar
    Go

    @Mark

    "you still need the application to, for example, download patches"

    No you don't - you can use Windows update in FF.

  40. Mark Rendle

    @Niall Tracey

    I've got no problem with people using contractions in writing; it's people mindlessly writing down the noises they make when they talk with no thought for whether the resulting sentence means anything.

    If you really are an English teacher, you're obviously part of the problem. 'Hey kids, as long as it would sound like "you're" if I read it out loud, who cares how you write it, yeah? Right on!"

    Ckougnt.

  41. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    Grind Opera into nothing

    I think its about time Microsoft destroyed Opera, its a pile of junk just sitting there to be killed hahahahahha

  42. Stan

    Vultures

    Looks to me like the vultures are circling for MS blood. It's a big surprise MS are not appealing the European ruling as it's a big chink in their armor regarding every single bundled application that isn't directly relevant to the OS. Some would even argue that the windowing system its self is a separate application. Ha,ha,ha, funny comment but it's separate in 2008 server so why not for all versions?

    @Matty, KDE4 is being developed for use on MS systems. It's on RC2 at the mo and still a bit buggy but will be ready in a month.

    One thing I can never figure out is how come just about every poxy little site on the net works ok in konqueror, firefox etc. but all the big ones like banks and corprations are f****d up?

    Never tried opera but don't hear anything bad about it, good luck to them.

    cheers

  43. Stephen Sharpe

    Is it Microsoft's problem?

    I don't think it's realistic to expect Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer.

    If anything the problem doesn't necessarily lie with Microsoft. What bugs me isn't IE, but the sites that are written such that they break when used in anything else.

    For example, I use Safari, and most sites work in Safari. I can install Safari in Windows and use that quite feasibly, so I don't see the problem with IEs presence. It's the individual sites that cause grief.

    We all need to take responsibility for educating others in the use of other browsers. Not just Microsoft. And webmasters need to do some serious compliance work.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@Mark Rendle (I'd of)

    "The abomination isn't "I'd of", it's "I'd have". The reason people keep writing "I'd of" is because conservative private schoolboys refuse to let them write what they say: "I'd've" or "I'da'".

    Most people never say "I'd have" in their entire lives. However, they try to please the grammar nazis and make a "full word". Their best guess is "of"."

    Bollocks. I hear people use the phrase "I'd have" all the time. It's nothing to do with making "full words" and everything to do with the fact that "I would of" makes no fucking sense whereas "I would have" does.

    Maybe you should try teaching this distinction instead of complaining about grammar Nazis. After all, if you are teaching people to use English to communicate, then they need to learn the accepted standards in order to do so effectively. Then again, English departments have never been reknowned for their deductive skills have they Niall "Anonymous English Teacher" Tracey.

    Maybe that's what a one year diploma from the OU and a TEFL course gets you. How's the weather in Edinburgh?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    But we're all IT literate.....

    The problem as I see it, is that 99.999% of the installed Windows user base automatically assume that the big blue 'e' _is_ the internet.

    My 9 year old understands that she can use IE, Firefox, Opera or even Safari on her moms Mac Book.

    When I'm in the local pub chewing the fat many of my friends express their personal experience with the t'internet as the big blue 'e'.

    This is because M$ bundle the browser, and do not give Joe User the option. How many years have I had to suffer conversations around phising, pop-ups, malware and all other kinds of s**t because M$ haven't had to compete in the browser market?

    Bring it on, the sooner the better.

  46. Mark Rendle
    IT Angle

    Seriously, though

    Is there a document available that catalogues the W3C standards which aren't supported in IE7?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Ahh the good old days...

    For less of a rant.

    1. How are the great uneducated to get FF / Opera / IE or A.N.Other if no browser is installed? Are you sugesting we go back to the good old days of picking up Netscape (eeuuggghh) from W.H Smiths or PC World, which will no doubt come with all there crap installed?

    2. I hate companies / groups whinning about the bullys. Market share of i.e is falling and has done for a while now. Having i.e actually is GOOD for the browser wars, it stops piss poor stagnant software stting there, again remember Netscape, it failed because it was awful. The reverse is also true, that FF & Opera make i.e better. The same could be said of Linux, like it or not, the too actually need each other. Without MS we'd proberbly still be stuck at text based pc's or paying for overpriced MACs. At the same time Linux has made MS wake up and try to secure the products.

    So for Opera to say "please do this, don't do that"...is a cop out, make a good product, let people know about it and then see what happens. i.e8 will come along and it will be better than 7, putting pressure again on FF & IOpera to make a better product again. We all benefit from this.

    Netscape died not because of the bundling, but because it was crap. i.e was also crap, but at least it was free crap.

    Could be worse, SCO-Unix could of won the O/S wars.

  48. Mark

    Windows Update in FF

    How, by using the IETab? ActiveX isn't available in FF.

    Which version of Windows does your assertion apply to, since I've never heard of anything like this.

  49. Cameron Colley

    Opera, please don't take away the low hanging fruit!

    My first thought when I heard this article was "good for them, let's hope MS have to bundle more browsers". A moment's thought, however, and I began to hope Opera would fail in their quest.

    Currently, I can feel (relatively) secure browsing the web using my Linux machine and Firefox, Opera or Konqueror or, when I have to, Firefox under Windows. If, however, more people used the alternative browsers, we would be more likely to see more exploits (there, I said it). Admittedly, FF or Opera would likely be more secure than the bag-of-holes that is IE, but there would still be more problems.

    So, I say, let the ignorant and the lazy continue to use inferior software, and fall victim to malware -- like the low-hanging fruit, or lame wildebeest they're there to protect those of us who know better from danger.

    So, I would like to close by saying a big thank you to all those who fight the corner of Windows and IE.

    Oh, and blaming the horrendous "I'd of" on "not being allowed to contract it to Id've" is a cop-out -- if you paid enough attention to know that you're not supposed to use the abbreviation you ought, at least, to have asked what the correct form was. Besides, what exactly would the sentence "I would of" mean? Surely it should be obvious that the sentence you are trying to type is "I would have" as it actually makes some sense?

  50. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ Stephen Sharpe

    If you code your website to be standards compliant, it won't work properly in IE. Whether or not MS see that as a problem, it is their fault, and it is them who need to change. The more pressure brought on them to do so, the better.

  51. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @The Other Steve

    Well, you know less than Hilton on this one.

    Stallman had a printer problem. The manufacturer would not give a fix and copyrights meant that RMS couldn't fix it either. So he started writing a license that would undo the harm copyright does to the owner.

    Feck all about Microsoft in that.

    Linus wanted a cheap Unix work-a-like for his 386. Minix had restrictions on what you could do with it, and other x86 UNIX variants cost shedloads. So he wrote one using the open specification for UNIX. A few iterations later, he saw the GPL and used it because it allowed easy collaberation (which the commecial UNIXs didn't allow) and yet didn't restrict use of the software to purely educational use (as Minix license did).

    Still bugger all about Microsoft.

    The only place Microsoft comes in is when MS called Linux a cancer, unamerican IP stealer that has lots of their IP (which you'll have to take their word for it, but it really is there, honest).

    Linux and FOSS are not about killing Microsoft. Linux is about getting a solid UNIX on our machines. FOSS (especially GPL) is about removing the coercion that is copyright control and opening up old ideas for new innovative use. A very scientific goal: Newton didn't license his theory of gravity.

    Some people who don't like MS will move to Linux. But some will just move away from MS, some to BSD and some to Mac.

    Your persecution complex isn't valid.

  52. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Ask Microsoft

    When Apple used Safari as its built-in browser (despite you can uninstall it and it's not necessary to the continued operation of the OS), they withdrew IE for Mac, complaining that there was no way they could compete with a bundled browser.

    So how can Opera compete with a built-in browser?

  53. Ben Ruset

    Lets not forget

    That Opera is a commercial company, with a vested interest in getting their software on more desktops. Additionally, if they win this case, they'll get money. Right off the bat, you have to wonder about these commercial companies filing lawsuits to "benefit the consumer" -- if there was no financial benefit to them, then why would they go through the pain and expense?

    Secondly, there's a lot of talk about how bundling is bad. That, because Microsoft makes it so easy to use their "proprietary technology" (which, in this case seems to be ActiveX) to build web apps, that they're making it hard for 3rd party browsers to compete. Well, sure, Microsoft developed their own language, invested time, money, and development resources on it, and rightly does not want to share their IP. Nothing in the world is stopping Opera, Netscape, or Mozilla from doing the same thing. The problem is really with the people writing the apps.

    If they developed their apps under, say, Java, that would mean that (at least theoretically) that the web app would work under any browser so long as there is a JRE present. Same thing for Javascript. So isn't it really the fault of the application vendor who is writing apps for only one platform?

    To follow that example further, lets say that I make a piece of Windows-only software and it gets really, really popular. It doesn't work on anything but Windows. I have no desire to port it to another OS. Does that somehow make Microsoft responsible for my app not being portable? Sure, I developed for the prevalent operating system - Windows. I could have used Microsoft tools and a Microsoft language to write it. Following Opera's logic, that means that Apple can sue Microsoft because their code is not portable to their smaller marketshare alternative operating system.

    I am a huge fan of Open Source. I much prefer to deal with Linux. But lets be real here. Microsoft is a company that exists to make money. They've bundled a browser and made their own language. Nobody is forcing anybody to use it. It's just so easy/convenient that people do. Instead of developing a better/easier to use product, they'd rather just sue Microsoft.

    It's not about the consumer. It's not about choice. It's about Opera seeing that they can get money out of Microsoft.

  54. fon

    most have no clue..

    Duncan Hothersall - the problem with most banks and large companies, is they have **no clue** about the tech, just look at the 'finance' end, without considering how it got there... So an 'official website creator' is contracted to 'do it the MS way' so it works well with the MS OS... I bet they are even wondering why this does not work!!! :) :)

    at least spain and portugal has some sense...

    alphaxion: no, it is not about choice, whatever... It is about apealling to the 'lowest form of life'! :)

    - all 'joe idiot' wants is a PC for internet, and be shown what button to press... (MS *knows* this!!!) - and when his website he has made works, then he is happy, and of course luvs MS...

    THAT is why they have made the browser *ignore* all the bad coding, to prevent a 'customer support nightmare' !!

    It all then goes 'higher up' to those that use this 'feature' to make really fancy websites to attract more people, that of course 'break' in 'secure' browsers due to bad coding....

    I am sure FF has added some 'not that secure'(shush! its a secret!!) features as above, to 'please the users' ...

    Opera has all but 'lost it' because it wont 'play dirty' like FF will...

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Nìall Tracey

    I say "I'd have" all the time and also "Wozniak and I" instead of "Me and Wozniak" like most other people of lesser IQ seem to do. Of course I will not (won't) comment on relationship (inverse or otherwise) between IQ and English teaching...

  56. Bill Gould
    Boffin

    So, no browser then...

    So, no browser bundled with Windows. How exactly would one go and download their preferred browser then?

    Hrm. Sounds more like Opera (hate it btw), is just griping because they can't compete. MSIE, Firefox and Safari own the market. Period. And aside from Firefox, the browser comes as part of the OS install. You can then choose to use whatever you want, but it's there as a default.

  57. Colin Millar

    @Mark

    Use the IE tab in FF on XP Pro

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    hmmm

    just like i guess apple will have to not bundle safari i guess? or all those linux distros that bundle firefox?

    so can someone tell me how joe bloggs user can get on the internet to download firefox if IE isnt bundled with windows? why the hell SHOULD bill develop a fairy decent product only to bundle someone else's?

    this is riduculous. almost all users (geeks excluded) just simply dont care - IE works fine for the vast majority so why should they have to fart about getting a new browser?

    people have their choices - they can use firefox (slooooow), IE (fast cos its integrated), safari (crappppp) or opera (yes the ones us web desingers hate - in the old days it wasnt even clever enough to distinguish itself so it just appeared as IE!) i use ie6 to develop in (vast market share), and test in FF and IE7 and to be honest i prefer using IE7 over FF....

    what do you expect? if you buy a ford car do you expect some bits to be supplied by fiat? do you expect ripcurl to say 'oi we supply mats so you should use ours'

    its all bollocks and the type of convo that makes us look like total dweebs to none IT people. come on people.... fair enough to make alternate products but if they were THAT much better everyone would use them wouldnt they?

    and because its just an extension of windows explorer how the hell can you remove it? pah!

  59. KenBW2
    Joke

    IE Embargo! Power to the People!

    Maybe the solution to the problem would be if we all designed out sites in a standards compliant way, and add a little script that says

    "Oop... Seems you're using Internet Explorer. Now I *did* go to all the effort to make this site standards compliant, so it seems the problem isn't at my end. You must be using some non-compatible software that should be blown off the face of the planet. Try Firefox, Opera or Safari!"

    Or such like :P

  60. RW

    @ Léon

    "Nobody is forcing you to use IE..."

    Wrong-o. Ever tried to update Windows without using IE? IE with ActiveX enabled, in fact?

  61. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ Ben Ruset

    First off, Opera and the people behind Opera have form in this area. Yes, they are a commercial company who are out to make money, but their past behaviour has been highly principled with regard to standards promotion and quality of user experience. And in any case, they get most of their money from embedded browsers in mobile tech, not from the Windows platform.

    Second, and more importantly, MS hasn't simply innovated and protected its innovation. It has embraced and extended web standards in a direct abuse of its monopoly position. Developers cannot choose not to develop for IE because of the monopoly of MS's OS and therefore, because of bundling, its browser. We know already that MS protected its OS monopoly by illegal anti-competitive practices, because it has been found culpable in court and has had to pay massive fines. So this simply cannot be characterised as an innovator protecting its innovation. This is a monopolist abusing its monopoly.

  62. Mark
    Boffin

    Re: So, no browser then...

    Uh some sort of File Transfer Protocol should allow you to download a browser.

    Maybe call it "ftp", so that it isn't so long to type the command in.

  63. The Other Steve
    Flame

    @Mark

    "Your persecution complex isn't valid."

    Nor are your comprehension skills, guess I should have used the "Joke Alert" icon, but I do so like to see the knee jerks.

    You appear to have refuted at least on assertion that I plainly didn't make, but as the great Scot Adams says, feel free to argue with your hallucination of what I said.

    [Excised by Reg Moderator]

  64. Alan
    Flame

    bundling

    Linux and mac bundling comparisons are irellevant.

    Linux distro's come with any number of different default browsers, and many have more than one bundled, and they can usually be totally removed.

    Unlike a PC with windows, Apple Mac's are just that - Apple Macs. You know what you're buying into as it's a specialist market for the most part (as is linux).

    In the PC world it's different, because Windows in the defacto standard for pre-installed OS's and many users don't have an immediate knowledge of alternatives; I work as support in an FE college in Leicester (UK), and many users can barely work a computer confidently, far less make software choices!

    I think it would be a great idea for all OS's to bundle, give an option the first time you boot your computer or install the OS to choose a default browser from a list. But I doubt that would ever happen...

  65. Shun F
    Pirate

    IP thieves without browsers

    Cool quote:

    "The only place Microsoft comes in is when MS called Linux a cancer, unamerican IP stealer that has lots of their IP (which you'll have to take their word for it, but it really is there, honest)."

    Not only is Linux not American, it's written by a Finn, who is ethnically Swedish (Linus). OMFG!!! We have to get rid of those Swedish Finns who are polluting our American Culture by introducing disgusting "free software" into our world. Not to mention all of those educational institutions who enslave "students" to produce software, for free!!!, in the name of "education" whatever that is. "Hello World" is just an insidious Communist plot, I tell you.

    Also, everyone knows IP is an American construct designed to rake in the dough and pile it at media mogul's feet. Nobody but Americans and their lapdogs cares a whit about copyright, patents, or trade secrets. Doubt me? Then I have a legitimate copy of Windows (Chinese-language version) to sell you.

    "Maybe call it "ftp", so that it isn't so long to type the command in."

    Yeah, I'm a big fan of the old ftp. Probably couldn't hurt to point out that you can also email a tiny or zipped browser your buddy, if he was missing a browser. You could use WinZip (bundled) to open it up. Which brings me to the point of...why is Outlook Express bundled with MS operating systems?

    Why is Outlook bundled with Office? OK, enough anti-M$ rant. I think M$ is doing just a fine job...damn fine job you're doing there, Billy.

  66. Morely Dotes

    Re: Bundling vs. standards

    "Ubuntu bundles Firefox and it's fine but MS cannot."

    Of course MS can bundle Firefox. MS can bundle Opera if they so choose; they can bundle Safari, or Lynx.

    And, in fact, if MS wants to avoid losing this particular issue, bundling Lynx might be a good move. The problem, of course, is that, in order to to kill off the competition (e.g., Netscape), MS chose to integrate IE into the OS. they'll have to undo that before they can get away with keeping IE in the package.

    I don't mind IE being bundled with Windows; I object to the fraudulent "add/remove programs" item that pretends it can be removed.

  67. Dave Morfee
    Alert

    @ Greg

    So Apple done have an monopoly? When was the last time you saw an Apple mac sold via Apple that only had XP installed?

    Apple have their own monopoly on mac hardware, and they are not forced to bundle IE with OSX.

    Ok so MS dont conform to standards, so, its the webdesigners fault, if they wrote pages to THE standards and not the IE standards then MS would have to change the way IE worked, but while people are too lazy to do it the correct way, why should MS change?

    Regards

    Dave

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't need to remove IE, just make "set program access"...

    There's no desperate need to *remove* IE, so breaking things is not a legitimate reason not to do anything. Just make MS-provided OSes and apps use clean documented interfaces to it which do not prevent the use of other browsers *as default*. (Remember "set program access and defaults" which was a result of some other abuse-of-monopoly court case which MS lost?)

    Oh wait, if you don't prevent the use of other browsers, media players, etc, (as default) where does that leave MS's "trusted computing" DRM-infestation dross? Whooops.

    Isn't it weird how you can choose from a wide variety of AV products, which themselves do need to be tightly integrated with the OS, but there's only one browser which is a "works for everything" default browser, even though the IE browser UI should be easily separable from the rest of the OS?

    Being a monopolist isn't necessarily illegal, but in lots of places it's illegal to abuse a position of market dominance.

    remember folks, "DOS isn't done till Lotus doesn't run"

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Colin Millar

    You do realize that using the IE tab in FF only embed's IE inside a FF tab? So when getting your Windows Updates this way you are still using IE. You are just letting IE run through FF. Try going to the update site without using IE Tab and you will get the error from Microsoft telling you to use IE 5 or later.

  70. Mark
    Joke

    @The Other Steve

    Yeah, well, what I said was a joke too, eh!

    And what about "FOSS isn't about Microsoft, nor RMS, nor Linux" not rebuttal of "Without MS there'd be no FOSS, linux zealot and RMS would be alone crying"? What bit of my response was evidence of hallucination?

    Oh, and your "joke" was off topic: this is about MS and Opera, not Linux, not FOSS, not RMS.

    Oh, and if I call you a twat, is that OK because I've put the "joke alert" icon? Or was this just me insulting you (as your post was insulting to millions of people)?

  71. Mark
    Stop

    Regarding the car (Anon's post)

    What if the nuts holding the wheels on were Ford specific (and had patent/copyright on them)? Would it be OK because you'd EXPECT wheels on a car (we all would, wouldn't we)? Or is it bad because for no good reason, Ford have made it so you have to go to THEIR mechanics and buy THEIR wheels?

    Fortuntely for car owners, this sort of thing is ILLEGAL.

    So from this POV all that's being asked is that something that is already done and accepted is enforced in software: adherence to standards where those standards help the customer.

  72. fon

    christ, how stupid/skinflint can you get???

    have you not seen, that you can get a DVD with masses of software on it, including the latest browsers??? only £4 or £5 and comes with a free magazine!!!

    Update-manics please not that most of these are to fill the giant holes in IE!

  73. joe
    Flame

    Walk over us MS

    For those of you who don't get it, lets make it very clear.

    Its a matter of choice and Microsoft has gone out of it's way to limit your choices. Since the average reader of El Reg is IT savvy, we know there are choices but average people don't. Since the majority of MS's client base can't hold a candle when it comes to software they rely on whats in front of them as being "the best". Since that is an MS operating system with IE they never look to see if life could be better.

    Think of it this way: A 2 dimensional man living in his 2 dimensional world thinking life is great is suddenly picked up by some 3 dimensional force. He finally sees his world for what it is and how much more in life there is outside his 2 dimensional world.

    I highly doubt that it would be that momentous but you get my gist.

    The solution could be done without too much trouble but MS isn't likely to do it.

    Stop windows explorer from accessing the Internet and since IE is its own separate executable that can be installed like the other browsers. If a user installs it instead of Opera or FF it reverts back to the full integration we all know and loath.

    If they can cripple a system with the Genuine Advantage Trojan they can do it to IE separately

  74. Nexox Enigma

    @ Dave Morfee

    Very funny, Apple has a 'monopoly' on their own products. Just like I have a monopoly on my ear hair.

    In reality Apple has something like 3-4% market share in the 'personal computers' market - especially now that they're punting essentially the same hardware as any other x86 manufacturer. This isn't what most people would refer to as a monopoly. Until they hit that legal threshold, they can do whatever the hell they please since they don't have 'unfair' influence on other players in the market.

    I love how any article about browsers or Windows, OS X, or Linux eventually boils down into a bunch of geeks (like me) arguing over whats best.

    Its far more tasteful to offer your opinion when asked and let others go about doing whatever they want.

    That said, Opera is the best browser, Slackware is the best distro, and anyone that says otherwise is full of it.

  75. Stuart
    Coat

    @Znort666

    Thirdly it's argument not arguement.

    Fourthly aren't you sick to death of all the pedantic I can:-

    -read a dictionary/run spellcheck in my awesome non-MS browser/install Linux/cuss more geekily than you.

    I mean, come on guys I trawl the comments because the technical literacy of the average Register reader points out unique perspectives and provides some user feedback on apps I'd of never thunk of:-)

    Which means: (first you brag that you're more technically advanced:-) As an actual (doubting&affirmation comment:-) user of Opera 9.5beta and back to Opera 7.0 (brag brag brag) I'm a devotee because of the included bittorrent feature (Woohoo useful information at last) that I've successfully used for downloading RedHat and Ubuntu torrents (ritual supplication to Linux fans and to stop the RIAA from subpoenaing my e-mail:-). Now all the other non-flaming (Ooerr double intendre intended) commenters feel free to rip me apart on how superior utorrent is and if anyone knows, explain how you can encrypt Opera's torrent; so people don't get into trouble and feel equal to utorrent people? We could always send Opera a petition, please? I always feel Bill has a backdoor programmed in to Windows monitoring Linux downloads so he can send the WTF_AA (Windows TaskForce Association of America:-)around to sue you. Paranoid? Who? Me? In closing: Terry Pratchett, I will always remember you. DiscWorld was my favorite vacation spot as a kid. Alzheimers will never destroy my memories of your works of literary genius.(I hope:-)

    Stuart

    (Why'd he use the coat icon??? Good question 'scuse me while I get my biodegradable coat.... hey why else would the background be green?? Oh! You're in a field! Well excuse me while I fetch my yellow wellies too, mehhh!*!

  76. vincent himpe
    Coat

    whats next ? also ask microsoft to provide an alternate operating system

    like having a button that says : click here to boot linux ... and then the battle begins. one button for fedore , one for linux , one for ubunti one for this one for that.

    And then the next step would be when you have paid for the computer you can pick up one of the models. ( sun , pc , mac , whatever ) run whatever os on it you like ( os/2 on a mac .yeah baby... ) and whatever software you want on top of it. ( irix software running in a linux window on o2s/ running on a mac ... that would be like totally cool.

    so all computers would cost the same amount of money and would be able to run any operating system and any software ... then you would have a new problem. essentially all coumputers would be the same. talk about a monopoly ...

    i'll ho back to my stick and continue making drawings in my sandbox 1.0. at least that hardware never fails. occasionally some rains comes along which makes the drawings a bit blurry , but that's ok ...

  77. Nìall Tracey

    You mean I forgot to tick "Post Anonymously"?

    ...oh dash it all.

    Thanks to the anonymous coward who reminded me that my LinkedIn profile is out of date (you're in as good a position to check the Edinburgh weather as me). I'll update it as soon as I remember my password. Do you know what an OU diploma is? Clearly you don't -- it's not a one year qualification, for a start.

    I'm sorry this is getting a little off-topic, but let me just defend myself here.

    You notice all the website designers here that say "IE is bugged to hell and should be banned, but I code for it because that's my job", and you know all those Linux zealots who make a living supporting Windows systems? I'm no different from them. I teach my students what they need to know: how people really speak and how people really write.

    I will never teach them how I or anyone else thinks people *should* speak or *should* write -- I teach them how people **do** speak and write.

    @other AC

    "I say "I'd have" all the time and also "Wozniak and I" instead of "Me and Wozniak" like most other people of lesser IQ seem to do."

    Ah, right. Anyone who speaks differently from you is stupid. No two people speak identically. Therefore, I can conclude that you are the most intelligent person in the world. Congratulations.

    Believe me, I was once as much of a grammar nazi as anyone, then I did some actual scientific investigation of my assumptions (for the OU -- an excellent institution) and saw just how wrong they were. Do a bit of reading on "corpus linguistics" and pick up one of the excellent corpus-derived grammars by Longman or Collins and you'll see that I'm not some lone, raving crackpot.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember all those complaints about the price of Vista in the UK?

    The EU forced Microsoft to create a version of Windows that didn't include Windows media Player. Nobody bought it, even though it cost Microsoft money to develop it.

    Microsoft charge European consumers more to buy their products, because the European Commission makes meaningless rulings that cost Microsoft money, because companies like Sun and Opera bring lawsuits because consumers prefer to work with what they know.

    The ordinary consumer didn't benefit when the Commission meddled in this area before, and they won't benefit if the Commission decides to "teach Microsoft another lesson".

  79. Steven Hewittt
    Gates Halo

    Standards and Bundling

    I really can't believe all this tripe.

    Say I'm SAGE, and I'm shipping out Line 50. It's like a competitor saying that they want me to include THEIR PDF writer instead of ME (as a developer) putting the one i've written with the app. How is this different?

    I've got a much improved command line network diagnostics tool. Has ping, trace and nslookup functionality all in one. It's open source and free of charge. I demand MS allow me to get OEM's to ship my tool with their OS.

    This is all about the definition of what an OS is for. If it's just to run applications on, then surely, one day, if Linux actually takes off then the GUI should not be bundled with it. Neither should beagle, or any text editior. The end-user should be forced to install their own software instead - or alternatively OEM's can put what they want in place of what the developer wants.

    Is this not the same?

    As mentioned above, the PC became a common place tool for the mass market due to it's ease of use. Possibly Apple could be in MS's place - but we would not have the mass adoption of computers today if it wasn't for Microsoft bundling applications with the OS. 2nd place could maybe go to Apple - but do you really think that we'd be in this situation now if MS and Apple didn't exist?! Linux has only just started to become a near-alternative for some people as a desktop. Go back to 98, 2000 etc. and it wasn't good enough - as it was too complicated. Microsoft have ensured that whilst their software isn't always the best or most secure, it's very easy to use.

    Taking applications or software away from the OS is not going to help the industry as a whole. Sure, if standard were the same across all browsers then it wouldn't make much difference - but then you'll have many browsers to support, and many mail clients (as Thunderbird will obviously be used in place of Windows Mail)

    Like it or not, the IT industry as we know it has been shaped by a large part due to the ease of use of the PC. The Windows PC. Why? Easy to use GUI and bundling.

    Which brings me onto another point. If 70% of the world uses x to do something, but the official body states y is the real standard, who is in the wrong? Yeah, MS break formal agreed standards - and that sucks for web developers (I know, I work for a web development company!) - but is it any wonder? The standards bodies takes years to agree if they should make a pissing coffee or not, let alone to formalise the internet.

    Take the 802.11.x standards. Hardware manufacturers are actually producing and selling equipment that haven't got formal approval yet (draft for 802.11n). Why? Because the standards bodies take years to approve anything. Without taking things into their own hands, large monopolies are going to be sitting on their knees waiting... why bother? Generally, MS take a draft or emerging standard, play with it then implement it. It ensures they get to market faster (generally!), and keep pushing technology forward instead of things taking twice as long.

    If the standards bodies weren't taking a decade to approve something, then maybe companies wouldn't need to keep on taking things into their own hands.

    Fuck Opera, I'm more concerned with ensuring that my end-users have a productive environment where they can work.

    Users don't want choice. It's their if they want it, but how about opening up a PC from HP or Dell, turning it on and it just working....

    That's the problem with OSS fanatics. Too much technology and idealism, rather than real life consumer requirements. That's why MS STILL (and I mean STILL - a good 10 years after I heard 'Linux for the desktkop' from a bearded guy that smelt of piss and lived in a basedment) have the VAST majority of the desktop market, a huge portion of the server market and fingers in a number of other pies that seem to be doing rather well. (most popular productivity suite, 2nd most popular MP3 player in the states I believe, one of the most (if not the most) popular IM networks, the most popular 'next-gen' gaming consoles etc.)

    Instead of thinking about the technology, think of the industry. Do you really want your best mate opening up a new Dell that has Firefox installed, only to find your mother with Opera - whilst your wife is puzzled over Netscape?! Let them chose, but only if they want to.

    I'm up for free choice, let people use what browser, productivity suite, web server etc. that they want. But don't make IT harder - it's taken 20 years to get here, let's not drop back to the dark ages by making things harder and harder.

    Should you be able to uninstall IE? Yep. Should your system come with alternative browsers pre-installed? Nah.

    Keep IE on the box, and leave installers on the system for alternative software. If people want it, they can get it - but just leave the poor, stupid, ignorant consumers alone!!!

    THEY JUST WANT IT TO WORK!

  80. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ Steven Hewitt

    Your argument about de facto standards is terrifying coming from someone who clearly works in this field, because you have completely missed the point. Yes, consumers just want to work. Yes, they are not clamouring for choice. And yes, MS supplies stuff people want. But THE MARKET IS DISTORTED. We are not getting the best software or the best solutions because the market is distorted by the OS monopoly held by MS. Compliance with open standards across all browsers would improve the user experience in terms of quality, speed, reliability, and browsers exist which can do this, but the user experience is being held back by MS' direct policy of embracing and extending to keep people locked into their technology, and bundling to blind people to the existence of better technology. It is making everything on the web more expensive to do than it should be. It is making everything more buggy than it needs to be. It is acting directly against consumer interest.

    If we are going to meet the needs of users who "just want it to work" we have two options. The first is to enforce international standards to ensure interoperability, and the second is to cede control to a single proprietary provider. How anyone can support the second option is beyond me.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    History is repeating itself...

    Remember when this happened back in 1996-1997 when Micro$oft was asked to unbundle IE after an identical complain from Netscape?

  82. Mark Simon

    W3C

    Microsoft is a member of the W3C. These are the people who actually make the relevant standards.

    Now, either their rep sleeps through meetings, has a serious learning difficulty, or is some sort of double agent. Otherwise, why is it so difficult for a company the size of Microsoft to code things that everybody else seems to get right? Unless, of course, their coders are struggling with the tools they've been saddled with ...

  83. James Butler
    Gates Horns

    The REAL Issue

    You're misinterpreting the term "bundle".

    Opera is not talking about whether a program is installed on the computer or not. Microsoft already includes both AOL and MSN on the desktop of most new systems (in the US), and THAT is what you all think "bundling" means in this context.

    It ain't. (heehee ... could not resist).

    Microsoft adds proprietary hooks into their proprietary subsystems that are unavailable to any other browser maker. Firefox cannot get at those same hooks, and neither can Opera. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage with regard to integrating their core programming with the operating system. It is an advantage that Microsoft has taken at every opportunity.

    What Opera wants Microsoft to do is remove those hooks so everyone is on a level playing field, or allow some other browser maker access to those hooks so at least they can give Internet Explorer a run for its money. THAT is what "bundling" means in this context.

    If Microsoft "unbundles" Internet Explorer and forces it to run on top of the OS, in the application layer like everyone else, then a lot of their custom web tricks will fail, and they will NEED to adhere to the standards in order to achieve the same functionality. If Microsoft "bundles" an alternative browser into the OS core layer, like their own browser is, then at least that one player will be able to compete.

    Microsoft will ALWAYS have a browser "installed". The question is, is it taking advantage of their humongous, perhaps monopolistic market share to crush the competition by hiding and exploiting "trade secrets"? Are they willing to go head-to-head on a level playing field with another, core-layer browser?

    My guess on both fronts is "no". They can't stand to reveal their hooks, and they couldn't win in a fair fight. Ever has it been so.

    Oh ... and they proved they could make a (crappy) browser that IS "unbundled" from the OS core layer when they released Internet Explorer for the Macintosh. Now if they could only figure out how to make an OS without one, they'd be ready to play.

  84. BitTwister

    @Morely Dotes

    > I don't mind IE being bundled with Windows; I object to the fraudulent "add/remove programs" item that pretends it can be removed.

    Give that man a cigar! Some came close, some commented on the wholly outrageous non-standard "standards" which Microsoft push in peoples' faces as a means enforcing the use of IE - but this is the real and insidious aspect of bundling IE.

    It's not so much that they bundle 'a browser' which happens to be theirs - that's a simplistic problem which should be easy to deal with: just remove IE and install any other browser - er, like everyone else already allows with browser choice. It's more that the visible browser component is just the tip of a very messy iceberg. Once, IE *was* just a browser but then Microsoft hit on the idea of nailing it in place by making far too many aspects of the non-browsing use of Windows dependent on IE remaining installed - some of the help system relies on IE code being present, as does Explorer. It's inextricably bound with and woven into the fabric of Windows. (but then Microsoft always has had a problem with the isolation of applications from the OS - which goes a long way to explaining the fundamental security problems with Windows itself)

    So this cynical add/remove IE nonsense does precious little towards *actually* removing it: the front-end gets lopped off but that's nothing more than an interface to the pile of code underneath - which remains, along with its associated security issues. It has to: an unhealthily large chunk of Windows is dependent on it. Microsoft has made quite sure of that and, coincidentally of course - they made quite sure around the time of the Netscape "browser war".

  85. Kris

    @Duncan Hothersall

    'Best' is an opinion, and is going to vary according to the individual. There is no way to make the 'Best' software for everybody, which is why NOBODY is trying to do that. They make the 'Best' software for the majority of the people, which in this case are casual users that don't care about what software they are using as long as it allows them to do what they want to do, which usually isn't very much.

    Steven is correct with how this is happening, the standard bodies take too long to agree on any one standard until well after it's in use, or in some cases isn't used anymore at all... IEEE is horrible at agreeing on any one networking standard and can took YEARS to agree on the standard, take 802.11n which took 4 years to be published... Software standards are the same way, even W3C's XML standard took more than two years from the first draft came out before the 1.0 standard was approved... does that mean nobody should have used XML until it was a standard?

    Also just because a standard exists doesn't mean the company's cannot do more than the standard... next some of you will start complaining about Intel and AMD both using different multimedia extensions...

  86. Maksim
    Unhappy

    To all the people who use M$ in their posts

    ...you are just sooo 1337

    f$#%ing disgusting, those forever stuck in their teens shouldn't be allowed on the internet. only couple of years ago the most what they could get was a soapbox in the park, now they are all over...

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  88. Gary Turner

    @Mark Rendle

    "Is there a document available that catalogues the W3C standards which aren't supported in IE7?"

    Yes, there is. See http://www.webdevout.net/browser-support

    Unless you're a web developer, you'll be surprised at the poor level of standards compliance by IE7, never mind IE6. We work very hard so that the web site visitor is never aware of just how crappy IE is. A part of what we do is dumb the site down to IE's level. As a result, the web is being held back by that one majority browser.

    Just so you realize just how far behind IE is, html4 was adopted in 1999. CSS1 (the core stuff) was adopted in 1996, and css2 (the positioning stuff) was adopted in 1998.

    IE5, released in Mar., 1999 had poor/buggy support for css. IE6, Oct., 2001, was a great improvement, but certain software decisions (notably hasLayout, MSFT's block formatting context) created truly ugly rendering bugs. Mozilla's Phoenix 0.5, in late 2002, was considerably more standards aware and less buggy in its rendering. Since then, Opera, Konqueror/Safari and the Mozilla family have continued to improve, while IE was stagnant. IE7 was, in no way, any more than a bug fix, UI enhancement revision; certainly not a major version step, no matter how much the marketing department wishes it were. IE7 fixed several major bugs and added a very few css selectors. The rest was eye candy and jonesing, tabs for example.

  89. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ Kris

    I entirely understand the problems associated with glacial standards progress, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with MS's approach to web standards. They didn't lead in browser innovation, Netscape did. Netscape was the bad boy that extended standards in proprietary ways. What MS did came after the standards were in place. They introduced ways to tie web standards into Windows standards. They renamed OLE/DDE controls as ActiveX controls, and pushed the Windows API into their browser. Abuse. Of. Monopoly. Not innovation in the face of glacial standards progress. Vendor tie-in, anti-competitive cross-marketing, deliberate embrace and extend tactics. And then to make things worse, they cemented the mistakes they had made in rendering engines and CSS subsystems and called them features. This is nothing about innovating around standards, and all about anti-competitive business practices. And they have already been proved guilty, and fined. Case closed. How anyone can continue to defend them is beyond me.

  90. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  91. Mark

    Windows sans WMP

    "The EU forced Microsoft to create a version of Windows that didn't include Windows media Player. Nobody bought it, even though it cost Microsoft money to develop it."

    Yeah, because the comission thought that MS would be SENSIBLE and honest about it (yeah, dumb them) and reduce the price of Windows without WMP. They also figured that MS wouldn't pull out other stuff that would make it break without WMP.

    So you have a choice of

    Windows Monopoly Version

    Windows with less in it, more bugs and same price

    any wonder why nobody took it?

    You've also got to ask yourself why, if there's a version of Windows without WMP, why you still can't uninstall WMP (so that bugs in WMP don't affect your system any more: great for a server where you don't need client side stuff)?

  92. steve
    Flame

    I learnt something new!

    I thought all the trolling and flaming was in the console threads, guess not.

    I thought the IE problem could be sorted by just downloading a different browser and using that instead? No? IE has to be unbundled? I still haven't seen an answer to that question that didn't boil down to "M$ is teh d3v1l!". MS cause problems when they use there clout to stop innovation and destroy an opponent in the courtroom. They failed to do that, so let's just be happy and USE A DIFFERENT BROWSER. I think opera is an aweful browser, but other people love. It's available, so use it. Any other arguement is pointless. They are not forcing you to use it, they are not stopping you from using something else, so build a bridge and get over it.

    As for the grammer nazis who are enjoying moaning at the english teacher, maybe you should tell the government to allow the teachers to actually TEACH grammer. It is currently not part of the curriculum and hasn't been for over 5 years.

    Grumbles from an ex-english teacher. Now i'm an IT technician, which is why i can no longer spell or conjugate verbs. :)

  93. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    @ AC RE: IEtab in FF

    So it uses the modules that IE uses to access the windows update facility. This hardly constitutes running IE as an app. Just what is the problem with sharing modules?

    For people who are that keen on separating out their base OS and each individual app I would suggest the Amstrad 1512 or the Spectrum ZX.

  94. Duncan Hothersall
    Heart

    @ steve

    Please tell me you are joking about having been an English teacher.

    Aweful... arguement... grammer... there clout ...

    And you've missed the point too. Dear me.

  95. Scrat
    Thumb Up

    In defence of...

    ...M$ why shouldn't they be allowed to wack IE on the PC with nowt else? After all many parts of M$ Omniverse use the IE engine internally.

    I work for a MS Gold Partner in the US - in fact we're so tied to the hip with MS it's unreal - however I was the first to tell them at a meeting that I was a happy Firefox user and there was no way on grud's green planet I was gonna become an IE groupie.

    As other folk have so rightly put it, no-ones holding a gun to anyones head - and if the situation is so fricken' dire then how come Firefox et al are increasing market share year by year.

    I could kinda sorta see peoples annoyances in years gone by (the days of dial up and US Robotic 56K modems) that to d/l a new browser would be a day long exercise in '5 bytes to go then "connection lost"' futility, but given the large # of peeps who have some level of Broadband is this really so much of an issue?

    Or is the real problem that Opera are fighting a losing battle and are worried about becoming the Lib Dem's to the MS/Mozilla (I'll let you gentle reader pick the appropriate party affiliation here) Labour & Tory party's? (I suppose that puts Safari as the Green Party, nes-pas?)

  96. fon

    you can STOP IE in Vista!!

    Well I have just got a new laptop with Vista - I was bit dubious at first, but it helps if the shop has installed it, and sorted out ony problems there may be, and that you make sure the cpu is powerful enough! (no less than 2GHz!)

    - after I have reduced all the 'flashy pointless stuff' down to 'classic' mode, you will find a lot of old stuff starts working properly!! then switch OFF the UAC(unless you WANT an 'old granny' constantly saying 'dont go there, its not safe!' )

    And to stop IE, just search for 'iexplore' (use a third party tool!) and rename it or its folder!! - now any 'net calls go straight to Opera....

    compatbility?? try this test, FF2 and IE& fail badly!!!

    www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/guide/

  97. Mike
    Gates Halo

    A quick point - you may have an answer for this one

    Suppose Microsoft DIDN'T bundle IE with Windows, meaning you had no pre-installed Web browser and all of you MS-haters became slightly less miserable...

    How would you then download Firefox/Opera/Netscape/etc from their respective websites?

    If you say FTP/Telnet/etc, how many modern day users would know how to do that?

  98. The Other Steve
    Happy

    @Mark - it's OK to hate me.

    "What bit of my response was evidence of hallucination?"

    The bit that says "FOSS is not about killing MS", I never said it was.

    "Oh, and if I call you a twat, is that OK because I've put the "joke alert" icon?"

    You may feel free to call me a twat with any icon you chose, partly because I respect your freedom of expression, but mostly because I clearly am one.

    "as your post was insulting to millions of people" *

    Millions ? Really ? I was aiming for the mid thousands, I feel like such an overachiever now (see above w/r/t twattyness)

    ;-)

    *but only one of them took the bait.

  99. BitTwister

    @fon

    > compatbility?? try this test, FF2 and IE& fail badly!!! www.webstandards.org/action/acid2/guide/

    Fah. See the table on this page - more to the point, it gives you a better idea of Microsoft's commitment to standards. http://www.webdevout.net/browser-support

  100. alphaxion

    @mike

    magazine front covers and the abuse of email as a file system and transfer mechanism ;)

  101. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  102. fon

    for those to lazy to link..

    Mike, wake up and get a mag!! all the stuff is on disc...

    BitTwister, you oviously have not read that link, acid2 is **all about** support for complex data types like HTML4, CSS1, PNG, and Data URLs. It also tests for reaction to badly coded CSS - here is a list for the lazy!!

    Transparent PNGs — The eyes are encoded as transparent PNGs.

    The object element — The eyes of the face are attached to an object element. Being able to use object (which can have alternative content) is one of the oldest requests from web designers.

    Absolute, relative and fixed positioning — Being able to position elements accurately is important for advanced page layouts.

    Box model — The original Acid test focused on the CSS box model. Acid2 continues in this fine tradition by testing ‘height’, ‘width’, ‘max-width’, ‘min-width’, ‘max-height’ and ‘min-height’.

    CSS tables — There is nothing wrong with table layouts. It is a powerful layout model which makes sense on bigger screens. However, the table markup is troublesome as it ties the content to these screens. Therefore, being able to specify table layouts in CSS is important.

    Margins — CSS defines accurate algorithms for how margins around elements should be calculated.

    Generated content — The ability to add decorations and annotations to Web pages without modifying the markup has long been requested by authors.

    CSS parsing — Acid2 includes a number of illegal CSS statements that should be ignored by a compliant browser.

    Paint order — We test that overlapping content is painted in the right order. This is not a feature in itself, but a requirement for other features to work correctly.

    Line heights — The Acid2 test checks a few key parts of the CSS inline box model, upon which any standards-compliant Web page depends.

    Hovering effects — One of the elements in the face changes color when you hover over it. Which one?

  103. Nìall Tracey

    Why Opera is briinging this suit...

    To everyone who's complaining about the idea of unbundling and stating the old "nobody's forcing you" line, here's the problem:

    By bundling IE with the world's most commonly-used OS, they have made IE the world's most commonly-used browser by default.

    This is not a problem, in and of itself.

    However, IE does not comply to internationally agreed, documented web standards.

    The world's most commonly-used web browser does not comply with web standards...!

    Now, designers have a choice:

    1) Design a standards-compliant website.

    2) Design an IE compliant website.

    3) Design one, then convert it.

    The cost of supporting compliant browsers hasn't historically been worth the returns for a number of sites, most notably the banks (who could do without IE's security holes, frankly), so they've stuck with IE.

    Early adopters of Firefox and Opera were locked out of the web by pages advising them to download IE. The situation is better now, but by no means perfect, and most Windows users know they have to open IE from time to time.

    However, that option is not available outside of Windows.

    What's Opera's biggest market? Mobiles and PDAs, a market IE really doesn't provide for. Mobile internet access is the holy grail we've been promised since the millenium bug was still a larva, and it still hasn't taken off.

    Why not? Screen size does have a part to play, but the biggest problem is non-compliant sites. To the user who has only ever used IE, the internet on his phone is more like a maze than a web, littered with unexpected dead ends.

    The other thing we've been promised for years is the "internet appliance", the set-top box or video-phone that allows you to browse away without a PC. With HD TVs gaining widespread acceptance, the set-top is finally a practical proposition.

    This isn't really a question of Internet Explorer's monopoly over the internet, or even Microsoft's monopoly of the internet: rather, it is the PC that is monopolising the internet. This is blocking the ubiquity of internet access, as well as leading old folk to spending an unnecessary 400 quid on something just to email the grandkids every other month.

  104. Mark Rendle
    Gates Halo

    The answer

    Everybody should create their websites using ASP.NET, which will render browser-specific HTML. Better yet, do everything in Silverlight.

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