back to article EU says Microsoft violated law with IE on Windows

Microsoft has violated European competition law by including Internet Explorer with Windows, according to the European Commission. The Commission said other browsers are prevented from competing with IE because Windows includes Microsoft's own browser. Furthermore, the remedies put in place under the US government's landmark …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU takes on MS

    Microsoft's Internet Explorer wouldn't have many users if Microsoft didn't have the Windows distribution channel. It makes sense to challenge the tie between the OS and the browser. MS has a Windows monopoly for historical reasons, but using it to force-feed innocent users may be illegal. Also, the high percentage of IE users inside corporate firewalls -- users that are rarely counted in statistics -- have made it impossible for new web standards to take hold. As such, IE has hindered progress for a decade and it's about time someone took them on.

  2. Chris

    Anti Competition

    So I take it OSX will no longer be provided with Safari installed, and Ubuntu will have Firefox taken out too?

    Really though, this is just bad news for users. The average user couldn't care less if they use IE or Firefox or whatever. Finding a copy of a browser without a browser will just become another thing the end user has to work out how to do. Are we going to go back to ISP CD's? Getting browsers from cover disks on magazines?

    They're free products anyway, so who the hell cares? Office 2007 has a RRP of up to £600, so I don't think Micorosft care too much about IE with an RRP of £0. As they're free they're not really stealing anyones money. If MS had bundled, say, an exact Photoshop rip off for free with Windows, then THAT would be anti competition.

    This ruling is just nit picking and stupidness. If you want Firefox or Chrome or whatever, you just download them. It only takes a minute. Most probably you'll use IE to do it, so what's the problem?

    Maybe they should have a program that lets you pick a browser bundled with windows, like with the Search Providers. At least then you could get a browser over the internet.

    (I know there are other ways of getting a browser over the internet without a browser. I don't think any of them are going to be suitable for the average user.)

  3. Animal
    Happy

    Did I read that correctly?

    "Opera alleged Microsoft was continuing to abuse its dominant position by tying its browser to Windows and by not following web protocols."

    Wow! Are the EU going to insist that Microsoft follows international standards?

    Is the world coming to an end?

    Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

    Yes, mine is the one with Ubuntu 8.10 desktop release DVD in the pocket.....

  4. Andy
    Go

    Okay, so does this apply to Apple?

    Safari gets bundled with OS X, as the default browser. So unless we have double standards, that's not cool?

    Or – is this one of the cases where there are different rules to make it harder for the big guy, simply because they're the big guy, and we need no justification because that's just how we roll m*****f*****? (Not that I'm necessarily against that; but "because we say so and we're right" isn't generally a great argument for legislation, even if it's true. Too many people say that when they're wrong!)

    Pseudo-philosophical arguments in a comment on an internet IT journal, complete with crass language and phraseology the author thinks is more hilarious than it really is? Oh yes.

  5. Simon
    Black Helicopters

    wah wah

    wah wah

    my epson printer came with epson print cartridges

    wahhhhhh

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft has included IE with Windows since 1996...

    ...except in the U.S. where it is automatically started for any html-based information that is NOT directly accessed by opening a browser. OOPS!

    Just goes to show how few teeth an anti-trust law has when your company is providing a substantial portion of the positive trade flow for a country...

  7. Daniel Bennett

    What the fuck?

    Apple.. Safari?

    Idiots man.... Need to start looking at the competition rathere than allowing the competition to win...

  8. James Woods

    it needs to go further then this

    Alot of websites require internet exploder as the browser. Others are programmed in a manner that other browsers flat-out won't work in them. Theres gotta be anti-trust aimed at those as well since you know darn well Microsoft had it's dirty finger in those sites.

  9. Jan Hargreaves
    Alert

    how to download

    im a little bit stumped here. if they didnt include IE then how the hell could you download your browser of choice? (yes i now us techies probably have installers on other drives but most people have one drive and one partition with a new install, they are going to have trouble getting online at all).

    if they had to include a selection of browsers to choose from whats to stop the lawyers insisting they include every browser avaiable - now that would be messy.

    do correct me if im wrong here and just totally missed the boat

  10. Mark Randall
    Gates Horns

    So there is still that one question to answer...

    If they don't have a browser installed as standard ...

    ... how exactly are they going to download a new browser to use?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nice.

    so working on that logic, does that not mean that no operating system within the EU should be shipped with a 'default' interent browser? That includes MAC OS, and any flavour of linux.

    thought not.

  12. Graham
    Stop

    Pointless

    I don't understand this, every OS includes a browser, and what are people supposed to do when they install a copy of Windows that doesn't come with a browser? Go and download one!... oh wait.

  13. Chris Beach

    Yet is usage is declining...

    Given that IE usage is declining, doesn't that show that competition is healthy? and ie's bundling isn't anything to waste taxpayers money on? They are making moves to make IE compatabile, surely that's the actual issue?

    This is just pointless MS bashing.

  14. Dave Morfee

    And the other OS?

    So I assume Apple and the linux boys are going to be told not to include a browser as well then?

  15. Neil Daniels
    Gates Halo

    Title is required

    And no-one complains that Safari is included as default with Mac OS? Or are they not important enough?

  16. James Hunter

    Hang on...

    If MS can't include an internet browser with Windows at start-up, how does the EU commission expect people to then go online and download the browser they want out of choice?

    Surely it would be worse for the consumer to have to fart about with a 2nd machine, that already has IE/Firefox/Opera etc, download an installer file, and then copy it across to the new machine?

    Waste of time.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Blantant Euro xenophobia.

    Let's face it, if this were a European operating system, not only would the company not be victimized in this way, they'd be getting all sorts of subsidies, and probably be told to throw in as many euro-apps as possible.

    The hypocracy goes further. Will they be chasing Apple for bundling Safari with Mac, or even for bundling OSX with Macs? Both are as restrictive as Windows with IE. In the latter case, even more so as Apple give you no alternative - if you want OSX legally, you must have a Mac. Are they going to chase Linux distris for bundling hundreds of apps with the OS? No, of course not. The EU is trying to do the usual socialist 'idea' of punish the successful to allow the feeble to flourish - a benefit state for lesser platform developers. I don't mean in solely a technical sense, I refer to being able to provide both a well rounded product and a well managed business. Whether the Linux evangelists like it or not, there's no outfit beyond Apple (in recent years) and MS (who are in decline) who can deliver on both of these.

    The worst thing is, these Eurocrats think they're doing me a favour. Idiots.

    AC - because the Linux jihadists will firebomb my home and Apple fanboyz will flounce around going 'how very dare you'.....

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pathetic

    Have EU bureaucrats really nothing better to waste their time on than this outdated bullshit? Isn't competition law supposed to be applied to commercial competition anyway or does it apply to religious competition also? As far as I know, there aren't any PC Web browsers for sale anywhere, so who's loosing money because of Microsoft IE? Is it realistic to imagine that if MS wasn't including IE with windows that it would open up opportunities for others to sell browsers? I haven't used IE for years now but I also know that if my dad had to go off looking for a browser to install when he bought his PC that he still wouldn't be on the internet.

  19. Daniel Moss

    Pick on something else

    I understand people's complaints with the Microsoft Monopoly thing, but I think people need to pick a different horse to flog than IE. In today's computing world, complaining that they ship their own browser with their OS is rather like complaining that Ford fit their own design of windscreen to their cars. If they ship it without IE, then how are people going to get a copy of Firefox/Opera/Chrome/Insert-browser-name-here to use? Are they going to have to go to the nearest newsagent to buy something with a coverdisk? As far as I'm concerned, IE is a good place to start with Internet browsing, and as awareness of other browsers is steadily growing, then its dominance will fall. Other companies have built better browsers, and now people are flooding to their doors, integrated IE or not.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    MS only

    Apple bundles the iPhone with Safari, and even attempted to block the installation of third party web browsers until recently

    Apple bundles Mac OS with Safari (crap)

    Nokia bundles their S60 with a webkit browser

    Sony bundles the PSP and PS3 with a NetFront browser

    etc.

    etc.

    etc.

    I know everyone hates MS, but Jesus fucking Christ this is getting old.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Interesting

    Frankly this will be interesting as to how this will work. What do I do when I reinstall or buy a new computer with windows. Why I go straight to Internet Explorer and download Firefox. There is nobody insisting that IE is the browser mainly used it is just software included with your Install.

    Frankly I would rather see the EU courts taking down EA and SecuROM than taking small and frankly pointless potshots at Microsoft just because they have some sort of Agenda encouraging other Operating Systems.

  22. Sampler
    Thumb Down

    And Apple

    Will they be required to remove safari? (and not have their iTunes updater install it sureptitously on windows boxes)

    How about linux ditro's not including Firefox then?

    Enf of the day - fair's fair.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    What's the betting we don't see

    a similar case for macs/safari.

  24. Lewis Mettler
    Stop

    in violation since 1996

    Microsoft is in violation of US Laws too.

    And they know it.

    Why do you think Microsoft lawyers told Bill Gates to stop using the b (bundle) word?

  25. Antoinette Lacroix

    Question:

    How many users would be able to obtain a different browser, without IE being pre-installed ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of bull

    Do the EU realise that people have a choice to install another browser? I can't see how it is being anti-competitive, MS are simply including useful utilities/programs so you can use your computer once you have the OS installed. If you wanted better, you always have the options of installing better software (i.e. IE->FF3, WMP->Winamp).

    I don't know what Opera are complaining about. They have a low market share because frankly, their browser is awful (in my experience).

  27. Dino
    Gates Halo

    Confused...

    ok according to this then aren't all current operating systems guilty of this then? Mac os x has safari, ubuntu and most linux distros have firefox or some other browser - aren't they bundling a browser as well?

  28. Nuno trancoso
    Coat

    Bureaucracy at its best (worst?)

    Seriously, don't know what's worse. M$ abusive stance or EU's pedantic bureaucracy. What's next? Adobe sues M$ because of Paint? Or one of the 10000 text editors makers sues on the grounds of bundling Notepad...

    Been using Windoze since before said browser bundling. Have NOT been using IE for that long too.

    Everyone had a choice, back then and now, most opted to using what was there, not because of this or that, but on account of plain laziness. Most were also clueless too...

    Seriously, if the EC wants to do us a favor, sue M$ on the grounds of binding the browser to the OS in a totally unneeded way, and thus irresponsibly exposing users to a lot more problems than they should have.

    Then again, what do i know, just a happy nLite user with a Windows so bare it even resembles just an OS... Coat, candle, prayer for a W7 version of nLite, no matter how squeaky clean M$ tell me it will be...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "committed to conducting its business in full compliance with European law"

    Presumably they've paid in full the fines which the EU have imposed "in full compliance with European law" for anti-trust and similar violations then?

    Oh, apparently not: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/07/microsoft_launches_ec_fine_appeal/

    C'mon El Reg, put a bit of historical context around the press releases before you regurgitate them.

  30. Mr B
    Stop

    Yeah well

    I don't like M$ but I have to use it because customers use it ... but I do not use IE as a browser.

    Next will be the time for M$ to remove their file explorer from the OS because some third party will whine ...

    I think M$ should strip off File Explorer from their OS because frankly I cant tell the difference between IE and Explorer.

  31. Dave McEneaney

    AntiWHAT?

    I never really understood this. What USE would a modern operating system be without a web browser, media player etc. running out of the box?

    I mean, I can imagine it now - you build a new PC, install Windows, then come to do anything, the first thing you have to do is download a web browser. Hmn, I'll choose firefox. Where shall I get it from - ah yes, getfirefox.com - how do I get there? err... um...

    Ok, maybe I can FTP it from somewhere. Oh no, because then the EU may get pissy about the microsoft FTP client being built into Windows.

    I genuinely hate IE as much as anyone (I make standards-compliant websites for a living), but making MS release a version of windows with IE and WMP disabled is just nuts.

  32. John Savard Silver badge

    Be Careful What You Wish For

    It's a good thing that there is the open-source Firefox in existence.

    The result of this sort of thing could be that Microsoft not only couldn't include IE with Windows, but that it couldn't give it away for free either. (How would you download it off their web site without a web browser anyways? Install an FTP client from a magazine coverdisk or shareware collection CD, maybe?)

    So all the other web browsers would cost money too, like back in the days when Netscape was something that was sold.

    It's true that there is a big problem with choice in the computing field. You can't go out and buy modern computers with modern performance that have chips that run the 680x0 instruction set to run your old Macintosh/Atari ST/Amiga software at today's native speed... nor, for that matter, is there a compatible upgrade path that continued without a break to the present day for Apple //GS owners based on a chip compatible with the 65816 but with instructions added to its 16-bit mode for 64-bit addressing, hardware floating-point, MMX- or AltiVec- like vector instructions, and so on and so forth.

    But it is rather late in the day to try and bring these choices back now. The x86 Mac, and Linux on the x86, are today's only alternatives, and they're both far behind Windows in the availability of software and peripherals. Yes, by all means prevent Microsoft from obstructing the emergence of choice, but also think about where choices can come from.

    If there was an international standard for hardware drivers that had to be followed by commercial operating systems vendors, then anyone wanting to compete would just have to support that standard for all the hardware out there to work on his operating system. Write once, run anywhere - but *not* at speeds slower than native hardware execution speed - is the goal that should be investigated; perhaps some universal subset API particularly for installers and hardware support utilities (so that on a Windows machine, a Mac, or Linux, you could use exactly the same binary to change your screen resolution, which would look like it was written for Windows 3.1 or OS/2 or something... although nothing would prevent hardware manufactures from including prettier ones for the more popular operating systems, admittedly).

    While they're at it, they could make a law requiring the x86 architecture to add a feature, like the Itanium has, to switch into big-endian mode.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    OS X & Safari must be next

    But then who cares - it's crap

  34. Philipp Varley
    Stop

    Well, somehow...

    I need to download Opera on my computer to use it lateron. But after I installed Windows, configured it to dial out and so on, how, for christs sake, can I download a bloody browser without having one!? It's great that IE is included, otherwise folks like Opera must send CDs via mail a la AOL to get to their 'customers'.

    "Stop" for bullshit lawsuits

    PV

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOS, DD

    Microsucks has been convicted on three continents for their crimes. As long as it remains profitable to violate law, Microsucks will continue just like Intel. Until these convicted criminals are fined hundreds of BILLIONS of Euros, they will continue to violate law BECAUSE IT IS PROFITABLE !

  36. Wokstation
    Thumb Down

    I'm usually anti-monopoly...

    ...but in this case I have to wonder, how is my next door neighbour (aged 70-ish) supposed to know how to go get a browser? PC World ship 'em a Windows box with no IE, so how exactly do they get to the internet to download a new browser?

  37. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Now, what was that saying ...

    ... the one involving horses and stable doors ...

  38. Bruce
    Stop

    Um.....

    So if MS didn't include IE on windows how would we download a copy of firefox to use as our main web browser, without the use of another computer. and last time I checked Safari came on all Mac boxs and FireFox or that useless Konquer on Linux, so should they be removing their default browsers as well.

    I think the EU are a bunch of twits!

  39. Mark
    Pirate

    Childish but...

    Muhahahahaha suckers...and i'm done

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still relevant?

    Is this even relevant anymore with Firefox, Chrome and Opera? Every system comes bundled with a browser - Firefox on Linux (often), Safari on Mac OS X. Surely if Apple can control hardware and software, IE doesn't really matter anymore.

  41. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    Stupid

    As much as I agree with previous ruling, that one is bollocks. All OSes come with browsers, it just happens that Windows is the biggest one. If they ruled that IE sucks because it doesn't follow the standards then I'd praise them, but hitting for inclusion with Windows? And how the heck people would be able to download other browser? Using FTP? Or maybe directly telnetting to getfirefox.com on port 80? Perspective is sometimes needed. Common sense would be useful also.

    Happy Ubuntu user. Because some things taste better without marketing sugar ;)

  42. Andrew
    Gates Horns

    Errm...

    So its taken them 13 years to finally try and tell microsoft to not do that? How lame.

    They should tell ubuntu not to include Firefox of K-Browser then.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thought

    So they don't want IE with windows at all? How are fresh installs of windows meant to get on the internet to download Firefox etc. if they don't have a browser?

    Wont be happy if I have to go out and buy a £4 PC magazine because it has a free browser on the CD on the front where I could have just spent seconds in google and get it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Best possible windows security upgrade ever

    Untangling that piece of crap that pretends to be a browser from the OS. What stuns me even more is that the EU is actually doing something useful other than giving farmers (especially French) large wads of cash to sit on their derrières.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Alternative?

    I dislike IE as much as the next guy, but what is the alternative really?

    Windows comes with no browser? Most people wouldn't then be able to install a browser (how do the great unwashed download it without a browser to begin with?)

    Windows including all of the available browsers? Nothing else would fit on the disk... IE, Firefox, Opera. Off-by-one, konqueror, etc, etc... there'd always be another browser vendor claiming discrimination.

    What does the opposition do? Apple includes Safari and makes no excuses for doing it. Linux comes with either Firefox or konqueror (or both), but not opera etc.

    I hate microsoft, but I see no better alternative. It's easy enough to install a new browser, and make it the default, so people should get over it. They'd be better off going the the PC manufacturers and getting them to pre-load an alternative - they already load enough crap anyway!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Madness

    So does this mean that Apple can't include Safari in Mac OSX now? Probably not. This whole issue is silly. If Microsoft want to include Internet Explorer in Windows they should be able to. It's not as if there's no possibility of installing another browser if you're not happy with what they provide. In my opinion it's beneficial to the end user to have familiar default software at hand after installation.

    Let's face it - nowadays if your OS doesn't come prepackaged with a web browser it would be terribly limiting.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does anyone really care?

    For christ sake, does anyone really care?

    I mean really, can someone find out exactly how many of these Europe only versions of windows have been sold?

    IE is with windows, if you dont like it then change it but people THINK if you dont have a browser at all how the hell are you supposed to get a different one!

    Oh thats right, you need to buy a magazine or something with it on it, and that my stupid European friends with far to much money then sence because your auditors refuse to balance your accounts because they are so bad, IS unfair.

    Grrr

    Rant over.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Thank you EU!

    You might spend taxpayers money irresponsibly but still thanks for showing M$ that not every country is their bitch!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Firefox

    What about canonical bundling Firefox with Ubuntu? How is this not a violation of that law?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opera is a bunch of whiny little girls

    There IS plenty of healthy competition in the browser market already, we're not in the same situation we were years ago. When you consider the amount of browsing done on mobile (iPhone anyone?) as well as the current stronger competition from firefox, safari, and chrome, I think this whole situation is ridiculous.

    Opera wasted their opportunities to gather market share, so they are trying to litigate instead. Opera fanboys are so "anti-API" but that's one of the things holding Opera back.

    It's just another EU swipe at an American company, just because they can.

  51. Chris C

    Still waiting

    "Under that ruling, Microsoft agreed to separate IE from Windows and allow users to de-select IE as their chosen browser."

    And yet, seven years and three versions of Windows later, and we're STILL waiting for them to separate IE from Windows. Removing an icon is not the same as removing an application (and its security vulnerabilities).

  52. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    In some things

    EU = great big yawn

    With apologies for overseas cousins for EU's inordinate dullness and lack of wit and foresight.

  53. Phil Edwards
    Coat

    Get a grip lads!!!

    "other browsers are prevented from competing with IE because Windows includes Microsoft's own browser"

    This is just plain nuts! If they feel that way then surely:

    "other text editors are prevented from competing with Notepad because Windows includes Microsoft's own text editor"

    "other graphics programs are prevented from competing with MSPaint because Windows includes Microsoft's own graphics program"

    "other pointless computer-based card games are prevented from competing with Solitaire because Windows includes Microsoft's own pointless computer-based card game"

    It's almost like there's a whole un-elected, not accountable to anyone bunch of people out there calling themselves politicians and trying to justify their expense accounts. Oh, hang on a minute...

    Mines the one *without* a copy of Office 2007 in the pocket.

  54. aL
    Thumb Down

    so..

    let say windows has no browser included.. how would you get ff or opera? snail-mail them for a cd?

    ALL os:es include browsers by default! microsoft has done a lot of bad thing but this is just stupid..

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good job EU!

    Hang 'em up by the balls like the US never had the guts to do!

  56. Suburban Inmate
    Heart

    An odd idea just floated through my skull

    Why didn't the court order MS to include a windows update that displays a popup to the tune of:

    "Internet Explorer iz t3h suXx0R!!11!!11!1!!!!eleventy You are free to try one of the alternative internet browsers. Why not google the opinions of actual IT pros regarding browser choice?"

    I think it is high time that the world had a separate, independent, IQ-screened set of judges to rule on IT related issues. Oh, hang on, that might cause democracy and privacy and freedom and all those horrible things.

    Heart icon? I dunno! I'm drunk and I don't really use it often....

  57. Haku
    Thumb Up

    Buh-bye IE

    My first 'real' browser was some Mozilla derevative on the Amiga (it's been so long I forgot the proper name), on dialup, 13 odd years ago, on my Demon account I still have, then went onto using iBrowse (really liked that browser). I tried AWeb and Voyager but I prefered iBrowse.

    Eventually (reluctantly at the time) moved onto a PC because the Amiga's power/performance/price just wasn't increasing like it should have done IMHO, when I moved onto Windows the main browser I used was Netscape because pages/scrolling just worked quicker than IE (who uses 'smooth scrolling' on IE? it's atrocious!).

    Had to ditch Netscape in favour of (well, forced) IE when too many website layouts just wouldn't display properly and vital functions were inacessable, but when I got my Eee's they came with FireFox, so I gave it a try and really liked it - it had a Netscape feel to it, in that things just worked, quickly, without fuss.

    I've been using IE6 on this W2k machine for a long time and it's been ok except for the occasionaly crash, well it crashed on me for the last time today, hello FF3! and fuck off IE! you slow, bloated, bug-ridden, malware-friendly, monopolistic piece of corporate trash - you won't be missed!

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    IE Bleaters

    It's tied in far too much with the OS making it much more difficult to sandbox. I certainly hope the EU does force MS to decouple IE from the OS, MS should have done this themselves a long time ago.

    And for those Muppets who keep bleating that you need a browser, OK here is the solution that MS need to supply

    Control panel > Add remove programs> Remove IE

    For the MCSE's out there REMEMBER to do this AFTER you have installed your other browser of choice

  59. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    heh amazing

    Even if you "uninstall" IE, in XP it still magicly appears if you check your email, or do a windows update. grrr. Good on the EU

  60. Lewis Mettler
    Stop

    needing a browser does not mean you have no choice

    Needing a browser does not mean you should be required to buy a particular brand.

    If you are hungry does it mean you must buy a Big Mac?

    If you want to wear a shirt, must it be a Polo brand?

    Needing a product NEVER means you are denied your choice as a consumer. Unless it is done illegally.

    If you think everyone should be required to buy a browser with their OS then they should have the choice of which browser not forced to buy IE. Unbundle it from the OS or give consumers the choice.

    Just like a burger or shirt for your back. If you must wear one, at least give the consumer the choice over which one they buy. Being free does not change that.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Other option ....

    Why does everyone assume that anti-competition means to remove IE ?

    Think positive, just install a couple of browser by default, there is already a raft of other junk you have to remove so why not a browser ?

    Linux will offer a bundle (from real install disks, admittedly not so much Live)...

  62. John Phellis
    Thumb Up

    MS harms the web

    Microsoft has been hindering progress on the web for years by refusing to support standards correctly. It's about time someone took them on for this. The US gov dropped their case after George W Bush came to power. Luckily, the EU commission don't have to rely on campaign contributions.

    Go EU!

  63. SkateNY

    This is growing tiresome

    Microsoft deserves what they've gotten and what they get. They should know better by now.

    In a way, Microsoft has become one of the biggest corporate law firms in the world by their own doing.

  64. John Phellis
    Thumb Up

    Apple vs MS

    Apple isn't considered a monopoly and their bundling of Safari is therefore not problematic wrt. competition law. Microsoft, however, IS a mopoly and therefore has to abide by other rules. They've been abusing their Windows monopoly for too long -- I'm happy to see them roped in this time.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple Solution

    Vendors of operating systems should be obliged to distribute two browsers, in addition to their own, with the OS.

    The user should be given the choice of which one to install, and should be asked to confirm that choice every month for three months, and quarterly thereafter.

  66. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: So there is still that one question to answer...

    Same way they got IE before they preinstalled IE.

    1) Installation by OEM (they don't preinstall MS's AV software, they use Norton or something)

    2) CD installation (Verizon include a CD to "install" internet connection still)

    3) FTP

    and many, many more.

    And they can use FTP to handle downloads through a bespoke FTP client, rather than DEMAND IE be used.

    And here's a message you won't find from any of these fanbois slurping up Gates product:

    IE for Apple Mac OS X was ended. The reason? MS said they couldn't compete with a browser that was built in to the Operating System.

    Oddly missed by Simon and all the usual faces of pro-MS shilling, despite the fact that this would bolster their claims that Safari should be unbundled too.

  67. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Apple / Safari

    Strange how the people how bleat on about how MS has 95% of the market and Apple are lucky if they have 4% are now going on about how a ban of a monopoly product (OSs) being bundled with another product (Web browser) should apply to Apple.

    Are Apple a monopoly player or not?

    Most of the time you say it isn't by a looooooong shot.

    But here you say they are.

    Dumb fucks.

  68. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Chris Beach

    Nope, use of IE is declining but the userbase isn't because you CAN'T UNINSTALL THE FRIGGING THING.

    Very much more pertinent today, where in the past MS used the "People WANT to use IE, that's why it's used by so many people". Well, it isn't now, so why make it deeply embedded in the OS and keep it there?

  69. matt
    Gates Halo

    for all retards bitching about mac and linux

    To start off... anti trust types laws only come into effect if you control a market in the way MS do. So you won't see mac and ubuntu hit by rulings like this unless they get to control 90% + of the market!

    You can't control a market by forcing less than 10% of users to do something, stop being so stupid!

    Second: Ubuntu doesn't just bundle Firefox, you have a choice of lots of browsers through the package manager, or you can just install kubuntu (also a canonical product) which uses Konquerer as the default browser.

    You can also completely remove whatever browser you don't like, show me the option in XP or Vista to do that. OK the option may be there but it doesn't do anything.

    As for that "Ford windscreen" comment, LOL, a better analogy would be that if you buy a Ford it will only work properly on Ford roads, while cars from all other makes work on normal roads.

    Halo Bill? because it will probably slip and strangle him!

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sick and tired...

    Of the EU wasting my tax-euro's with this cr*p. I'm seriously considering filing an official complaint against the EU for misappropriation of taxes and wasting resources, while ignoring serious matters vital to the constituants of the EU.

  71. Allan Rutland
    Stop

    Here we go again...

    Like the EU forced MS to ship a version of XP without Media Player, and MS did as required....guess how many licenses were sold over the 18 months period they started shipping them? 15 !!!!

    This is nothing more than yet another brainless EU motion. And there is nothing to stop any OEM in shipping there machines with Opera or Firefox or anything else on it. Some have, most don't. But they can. The consumer does have some choice here, find a manufacture who will ship you the machine with Firefox preinstalled (and yes, they do exist). Now, where's a Jesus phone without Safari? I want to use Opera on that and not this crap Safari thing...oh yeah, no option at all there!

    If they do it for MS, they need to act exactly the same across all platforms. No browsers on any machine, and no media playing abilities on anything....and guess what, they'll kill the market quiet quickly!

    This is nothing but EU looking for yet more cash from MS and generally trying to make themselves look useful. They need to bugger off and go straighten some more banana's. MS provided a choice, and its up to the choice is with the consumer, and the OEM to make it. If they do so, is up to them.

  72. Astarte

    Can't see the wood for the trees?

    I applaud the EU for its repeated refusals to be bullied by MS. Most commentators in this thread seem to ask the same question - how do I download an alternative browser if I can't get online in the first place? (it also implies that a lot of comments are made without even a cursory reading of earlier comments in the thread). It's ok for a default browser to be shipped with an OS but as part of the initial system set-up users should be given a choice (and a means of implementing their choice).

    This isn't a big issue for me but if EU precedents are to be set perhaps they should address all the unnecessary and junk applications that so many system suppliers choose to install with their offerings.

    Options to accept/deny/uninstall such stuff should be a mandatory requirement and this should apply to all products. I suppose I'm really thinking of Dell here where the undesired bloatware can only be removed without some level of research or help from a third-party IT person. Not all users are IT specialists and the vast majority of PC buyers suffer because they assume that ‘Caveat Emptor’ will protect them.

    Products should be labelled rather like foodstuffs and include a list of ingredients as a warning to users. Unlike foodstuffs however the option to remove or not install components should be made too.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Hands up those who think bundling was the problem!

    Yes I see you in the comments above.

    Bundling isn't a problem for a monopoly unless you do something like, oh, maybe deliberately break the standards to tie users to your own platform. You can be a monopoly as in Europe as long as you don't harm the consumer. With IE, MS used its monopoly and harmed the consumer quite a lot.

    Like it or not, major incumbents have more responsibilities to play nice than the smaller players. So yes, it *is* one rule for MS and another for Apple & Linux.

    If Office was bundled with Windows I'm sure the competition agencies would have more to say. A browser may be standard fare now, but when MS obliterated Netscape it certainly wasn't.

    Remember, governments are "for the people", not, "for companies," so any country which decides to confiscate all MS's assets an ban the use of Windows, they are entirely within their rights to do so.

  74. Waderider
    Linux

    Another dimension?

    Does Windows not update through IE, and only IE due to their shoddy standards?!

    Another reason this is stupid then, millions more unpatched PC's ripe for infection if MS did unbundle IE.

    But of course they won't, everything shall carry on as normal, which is why this is nearly a non story.......

  75. Havin_it
    Stop

    Easily solved?

    IE is the browser UI of a component that's widely used throughout the OS, so it's not going anywhere. Hell, if they removed it, Maxthon and AvantBrowser (who punt browsers based on the IE component) would be the next people complaining to the EC.

    The browser UI can easily enough be put out of sight and out of mind, though: an OEM could do this, as can any computer user with thumbs and an IQ over 12. Anyone saying otherwise possibly does not belong in either of these groups, or has a very low opinion of their fellow hu-mans.

    It would be a doddle to make a popup appear on first run of a new Windows install, offering a choice of browsers and explaining in idiot-proof terms why this choice is being foisted on^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H granted to you. Browser "vendors" would submit their offering to a vetting process (to ensure their "browser" is not a trojan or other naughty thing), then if they win inclusion, the popup will include an entry for their browser and a button that will download and install it (using a disguised instance of the IE component, I shouldn't wonder). Look at the Firefox "Get new add-ons" applet and you can see how this might work.

    However... who exactly oversees this registry? I guess it can't be Microsoft, nor any other group that has a browser to punt (so the W3C are out, thanks to Amaya/W3M). I know, how about ... Another public-funded EC committee? And of course the legion of technical advisers, chauffeurs, staple-removers and toenail-polishers these august mandarins will require in order to best serve the Glorious European Consumer.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I'm no fan of Microsoft...

    But I think this could get silly. It depends whether you see the browser as an essential part of the computer IMHO.

    For example, when you buy a car, you expect it to come with seats - and you're not usually too bothered if the seats are produced by the same company that made the rest of the car. No-one worries that this puts pressure on the after-market in replacement car seats.

    I'd say the situation with browsers isn't too different. Perhaps the real issue is that a bundled IE is also used as a channel to sell Microsoft content services and, indeed, to lock unwary customers into those services. But then your car probably also comes with a warranty that requires you to use an authorised dealer for parts and service.

    I don't really like what Microsoft do, but how is it different from loads of other sharp selling practices?

    I think the real problem isn't the browser, it's the monopoly. Oh and being american, of course, can also be seen as a problem in some parts of the EU.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Ignorance

    There seem to be a lot of historically ignorant presumably-teenage MS fanbois/MS employees (same thing?) posting more garbage than usual here. For them, here is a very short lesson.

    1) MS got where they are today by illegal abuse of monopoly. Apple, Sony, etc haven't been found guilty of monoply abuse so they don't have to worry so much about anti-trust rules.

    2) Before the days of torrentz, you got your free non-IE browser on a CD, maybe free with a PC comic, or at the cash desk at PC World, pre-installed (or on a CD) with the PC, or via a mate. Those would still work fine in a world where Windows comes without IE bundled.

    Or more inline with MS's ultimate long term goal where you "rent" Windows, they could ship IE installed and working initially (as with XP) but require paid-for "activation" after seven days (long enough to download a proper browser).

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS should simply drop out of the EU market

    To many problems for MS here and it appears the EU will never be happy. So why not simply drop out of the EU market? Simply let those in power know that operations and support will cease in the near future. Basically, tell the EU to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

  79. Dale Morgan

    Another excuse for the EU to milk Microsoft

    This is complete crap, and I think the EU are acting like criminal mob bosses, they don't like Microsoft, they want to make some easy money so their looking for some excuse to scrounge some cash out of Microsoft.

    If windows was sold with no browser at all that would do nothing but hinder people, how does the EU expect the average user to get on the internet and download a browser when they have no browser to start with?

    Microsofts lawyers will rip the EU to shreds over this, where apple's lawsuit for bundling safarii with its OS?

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    My three cents...

    1. What some of you don't know is that Firefox is not "bundled" with Linux distros.

    Cannonical / Redhat do not have a vested interest in Mozilla. In order for an application to be distributed, it has to be FOSS software.

    2. You all have to realize that a lot of regular users think that IE *IS* the internet.

    3. MS should include other browsers in their install.

    (Oops I forgot the $ in MS)

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dearie dearie me

    Having ploughed through all the comments above I see that once again the vast majorit ar along the lines of 'well how would you get a different browser then?'. This is not the issue here children, the issue is that even if you do choose a new browser at present, you cannot remove IE because MS will not let you and it is automatically used by lazy 3rd parties to save them having to work out what browser you have set when you ask their product to check for updates.

    I say hoorah for the EU in this matter as without them kicking MS, there will never be a need for MS to put out something which works in a reliable manner and to defined standards (NO Bill, not the one's you made up after too many hours staring at your bank balance). Without a real product from MS there is no incentive for the Mac and Linux boys to put any polish on their products and so everyone actually loses.

    So perversely, a well-regulated and well-behaved MS makes everyone else work harder to produce better products......wierd

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fascinating

    A while ago virtually the same thing happened in the US, and this was seen as "a good thing™".

    Now the EU decides to do the same and it's "a bad thing™".

    Make up your minds people!

  83. null
    Boffin

    Make the browser a component

    I don't see anything wrong with MS bundling IE with Windows. The real problem is that IE is so entangled with Windows that you can't get rid of it , which is complete bullshit. Ironically, they did this to thwart anti-trust litigation. MS needs to untangle the browser from the OS so that we can uninstall it when we upgrade our browsers. Everybody should stop coding around IE with their little HTTP_USER_AGENT tricks and just put a blanket statement on their site that it wont work under IE and they need to upgrade their browser. If enough big sites did this, like YouTube, IE would be history.

  84. raving angry loony

    Safari vs IE

    Ah yes, the old "but Apple provides Safari" straw man defence of the indefensible.

    Folks, Apple provides Safari, yes. BUT I CAN REMOVE IT if I don't want it. It's just another program. Microsoft provides IE, but it has deliberately and maliciously made it impossible to remove it from the system in favour of something else. That's the illegal bit. They're forcing you to use their product when there are others available. They bankrupted Netscape with that strategy (and weren't punished nearly enough for it).

    That's what is called a "tied product", and in countries with decent consumer protection (so, nowhere in North America), you can't do that.

    So, to clarify. What Apple is doing is legal. What Microsoft is doing is illegal. Capisce?

  85. me
    Paris Hilton

    A little history,

    OK, first am not a fanboy, I use Windows and Firefox on an IBM PC clone.

    1, Lets look at purposes, Internet exploder was purchased and integrated into Windows 95 with the intention of killing Netscape. Microsoft saw the browser as a potential platform capable of running applications which may have hurt it's cash cow Office and other Microsoft programs.

    2, Microsoft used its position with it's dominant browser in its usual manner, embrace, extend and corrupt... standards got ignored.

    3, If you don't have a default browser installed.... its simple, to all of you too young to remember FTP, a simple script and a call to the relevant FTP site (implemented to be easy for the user) will bring you IE, FF, Opera, Safari, Chrome or whatever you wish to use. No need to have a browser loaded by default on installation.

    4, To those bleating on about Apple Macs being closed, the pc was closed initially even thought the hardware could be bought off the shelf. The BIOS was wholly proprietary to IBM.

    Microsoft had the genius to arrange for a license to produce DOS for its own purposes.

    Compaq (I think) worked to reverse engineer the bios code, and marketed a CLONE pc.

    Because of the Microsoft DOS license an OS could be legally procured. Had that license not been in place the IBM PC XT/AT would STILL have been closed.

    Apple have retained control of their hardware and OS. No external licence, no third parties able to independently make Mac clone PCs. OSX is their program, Apple can do with it as they wish, there is a strict limit on the hardware that the OSX license approves. Apple hardware ONLY. Bleaters, get over it.

  86. Remy Redert

    The real problem

    And the so called elephant in the room is what everyone is overlooking here.

    I wouldn't care if they bundled internet explorer and I could uninstall it straight away, but they have integrated it into the OS to the point where it is impossible to remove, impossible to get updates without it.

    In that regard, look at linux which has a repository browser which will allow you to install any linux browser supported by that distro. And uninstall any browser you want, including the one that was bundled with the distro (generally firefox).

    So what Microsoft needs to do is set up a repository browser (ala the various linux variants) which will query a (microsoft) server, which will in turn link that browser to the appropriate programs. In this case, that repo-browser would need to give you the option to install a couple of the more popular browsers. Obviously Microsoft can't include every browser in such a list, but they should make an effort to include as many as possible.

    More importantly, they would need to completely unlink IE from the OS, allowing any browser to take over any functions that they can't do without a browser. They can keep explorer (and probably have to expand it a bit) for local files, though they should do the same thing there and seperate it from the kernel so that it can be easily replaced (through the repo-browser at the minimum) by the end user.

  87. Shane Sturrock
    Gates Horns

    This isn't about IE, rather Windows

    Look, IE was bundled to protect Windows. This has nothing to do with including a browser per se so it doesn't mean that Apple has to remove Safari or Linux can't be shipped with Firefox. Microsoft didn't just include IE, they forced it to be part of the OS that could never be removed. To compound the problem, they also made sure that IE wasn't standards compliant and that their web page design tools wouldn't work on anything else. Finally, after IE was established they killed the versions for UNIX and later MacOS and make IE Windows only.

    IE was all about a land grab. MS was late to the internet party and Netscape was talking up the idea of using the browser as an app delivery platform. If successful, the Windows monopoly would have been broken and MS just couldn't risk that. By making IE a forced part of Windows, preventing OEMs from including other browsers and by making IE non-standard so that other browsers couldn't render pages designed for IE they made Windows the only viable way to work on the internet (or that is what they planned anyway).

    In the end, the internet has reacted to MS and prevented them from achieving their aims. Firefox is a product of their aggressive move which effectively killed Netscape and forced the company to open source the browser. Sitting on IE6 for 5 years meant that developers really felt the pain. If you can remember the time when 95% of users were on IE and how tough it was to browse using anything other than IE you will remember how close to winning MS got.

    This ruling is about their illegal use of their monopoly to grab control of the internet and their continued attempts to prevent other browsers from being shipped by default on Windows by OEMs. Technically, there is nothing to stop an OEM from shipping Windows with Firefox as the default, except they still can't remove IE and MS will also still react badly to such an OEM.

    As for Safari on the Mac? I can remove it from the OS and it is gone entirely. Also, you may think Safari is crap but it is at least standards compliant thanks to KHTML/Webkit.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good Job.

    To all the people who say you can simply download a new browser, yes you are right (from an avid Firefox user) but IE is so integrated into Windows you cant get rid of it. THIS as a developer is irritating to say the least.

    Microsoft could simply create an OS and include all the other so called useful programs (IE is NOT) on the installation DVD and if people want to install them, they can. But do not force a browser smack bang in the middle of an OS.

    To those who whine about linux having a browser like ubuntu, ermm its free?

  89. Phil
    Thumb Down

    What about the Wii

    Opera have a monopoly on the Wii as that's all that is legally available. So presumably Nintendo will also be forced to offer alternatives to Opera? I cant wait!

  90. Charles Manning

    @y Phil Edwards and others

    IE was chosen as the posterboy for this because just about everyone understands web browsers and most PC users will use it daily. Very few will use editors, compilers and other things on a daily basis (though MS slaughtered those too).

    It would be very easy to implement this: First time the user hits the web icon they'd be given a choice of three (or more) browsers to install.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ the "nobody pays for browsers anyway" crowd

    That's BECAUSE Microsoft flooded the market with a free product.

    Dime bar? Diiiiiiiiiiiime barrrr?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I didn't get it

    I mean, MS don’t lock the users into IE (see IPhone/Itunes), they don’t make things difficult if you want to change browsers and putting personal preferences aside IE is a great browser for the average user. Where’s the beef? My car came with a Toyota stereo installed, I need special tool to remove it, then a wiring adapter and THEN I’ve still got to take my car to Toyota to get them to re-config the ECU to allow my new stereo work.

    @ all the "you can’t download a browser without browser" commentards *cough* the FTP function built-in to Windows Explorer *cough* …oh no here comes another EU ruling…

  93. Neoc

    Linux/Firefox Vs Windows/IE

    Someone pointed out that OSX came with Safari pre-installed and Linux came with Firefox. Perfectly true. My problem is not that IE comes pre-installed with Windows - my problem is that I can't get rid of it.

    With Linux, when I un-install Firefox, it is *gone*. When I "uniinstall" IE under Windows, all that happens is that a few desktop links are removed. IE is *still* there, and rears its ugly head on a regular basis (try doing a Windows Update without IE and see how far you get). Add the fact that some of MS's own software seems to have IE-calls hard-coded, so that even if you tag Opera or FF as the default browser IE turns up... Yeah, I have a problem with MS and IE.

    As I do not run OSX or Vista (XP and Linux only), I cannot speak as to their respective handling of the above.

  94. Grant
    Stop

    Think about it

    For all the "what about Safari on Macs' comments, Microsoft after a long court case, were found guilty of abusing their monopoly position to destroy competition. Apple have not. Potentially MS could have forced a situation with IE and IIS that no other web-browser or OS would work properly on the net; so innovation in Firefox and Opera etc would have ground to a halt - and almost did so. As it is, people have to give away browsers to compete. Apple don't have a monopoly on OS's, nor does Linux distro's so they have to play by different rules. And Apple have to play nice with others on there near monopoly on online music distribution (iTunes) and Google with search, or they will get slapped as well.

    For the 'how will we download without a browser', the web is not the internet; iTunes, bit-torrents, windows updates, instant messaging could all run without a browser. Nothing stopping the Windows update service offering a range of browsers when you first go online. That said, I am happy to use IE to download FF - the first thing I do on an fresh install, but it bugs me that I have to do a couple of extra steps to move IE start page and default search from Live.

    Nobody has a problem with Notepad or Paint etc being bundled; these things are not used to kill competition (though a Photoshop clone might damage Adobe I guess) and they use open standards like ASCII/Unicode text and PNG/JPG. It is not wrong for MS to bundle stuff with Windows; just if they use this to try and stop competition.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @Confused...

    One of the problems is that IE is the ONLY browser bundled with Windows and it is written (I use the term loosely) by the the vendor. With a typical Linux install Firefox, Konqueror, Opera, Epiphany and Lynx are included for you to install/use as required without having to perform another download. Hence the CHOICE within Linux as opposed to the lack thereof in Windows. There would not be a problem if the Windows install discs included multiple competing browsers in the same way that the Linux ones do.

  96. Mark
    Stop

    Missing the point

    I think a lot of complainers are missing the point. IE is still firmly embedded in the OS and is the default source for opening xml files, ftp sessions etc. I think what they may be after is windows without IE on it in any way shape or form, then MS can bundle a disk with it on. That way it's up to the user whether they install the shit. It's splitting hairs but it makes sure there is a choice in the matter. I wouldn't rule out them being vindictive over unpaid fines though.

    As for other OSes, Apple would be in breach at present whereas I don't think Linux would. Both MS and Apple have the problem of forced bundling of OS with hardware (MS with OEM deals) which gets you a different rulebook. Linux doesn't have a problem as you can do what you want with it.

    As for the OS having no browser, if it had something handy like wget or apt-get etc then there wouldn't be the issue. It's a thorny issue but I do believe it's the level at which the browser has been intertwined with the OS and other apps that is the real issue.

  97. André
    Alert

    The real pain in the @$$...

    ... is that once you've installed your browser of choice (in my case, firefox), set it as default, and gone through all the motions to banish IE from your windoze box...

    Guess what happens when you click on an URL in HTML Help?

  98. Andy Worth

    Hahahahaha!

    "Under that ruling, Microsoft agreed to separate IE from Windows"

    Which will be why half the updates for IE require me to perform a system reboot because it's not at all tied into integral system components......

    Realistically they need to ask upon OS install which browser you want installed - which is the only way this could possibly work for the majority of users. That said, they have to use the same rule for everyone and would have to offer the same choices on EVERY OS and not just pick on MS.

    To be honest, it sounds like the Opera people are just getting pissy because despite their efforts, they still have one of the least popular browsers, at least among those whose names are relatively well known. MS's monopoly doesn't seem to have affected the take-up of Firefox, which continues to gain ground on IE.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The thing is...

    ...all they be getting rid of is IE frontend. The rendering engine, etc is part of the Operating System, your desktop, Explorer and other Microsoft apps like Outlook.

    If they were ordered to remove the rendering part as well since it's part of IE, Microsoft would have to rewrite Windows.

    And like what other previous posts said... If there is no web browser, how can the average person download an alternative?

    I don't know what the EU Commision is on (about), there is nothing stopping people from installing alternative browsers.

    The Commision will also need to force web sites that are IE only to change their design.

  100. Neil
    Thumb Up

    I'm for it

    The sooner companies are forced to strip the crap out of their OS's the better.

    I want my OS to be small, functional and fast. I don't want it to include applications, only system tools. I'll choose the applications thank you.

    But is a browser now an essential system tool, or an application?

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err..

    "I've been using IE6 on this W2k machine for a long time and it's been ok except for the occasionaly crash, well it crashed on me for the last time today, hello FF3! and fuck off IE! you slow, bloated, bug-ridden, malware-friendly, monopolistic piece of corporate trash - you won't be missed!"

    Yeah great use firefox, your still using windows 2k, which is now very out of date, and has its own set of issues, well done there.

  102. Daniel Palmer

    Impossible?

    I would have thought removing totally removing IE from Windows would be impossible now.

    I'm not sure how it works in the most recent versions of Windows (I've never been a windows user) but I'm pretty sure it's a fairly integrated part of the graphical shell now. So the best they can do to "unbundle" it is just delete the icon and associations to web-stuffage (tm).

  103. Gulfie
    Stop

    Stable Door, Horse

    Its a waste of time doing this now, the battle on the desktop, where it mattered at the time, has been and gone - as has Netscape. We could do with a more level playing field though.

    My suggestion is that OS Vendors should provide the top three (substitute a number of your own choice) browsers available for the platform provided that the licencing terms of the browser allow it.

    I bet you that the majority of non-tech people will continue to use IE on Windows even if this happened, because they feel 'safer' using the software provided by the OS Vendor.

  104. Sooty

    i never thought...

    that IE being bundled with windows was the problem, i thought it was that it was so deeply embedded into the OS that caused the issues.

    If you type a web address into the file explorer it displayes the web page, in IE, even if Firefox is your default web browser. It's not a seperate application like firefox/opera/safari/etc it's actually embedded into windows as a fairly core component.

  105. Tim
    Gates Horns

    Perfectly Possible.

    Firstly, the ruling is about stopping Microsoft including IE with windows. If Dell want to put in on afterwards for their customers that's fine. But Dell chooses. NOT MICROSOFT.

    Secondly the point of monopoly legislation is to deal with people who control most or all of a market. Apple and Linux don't have enough market share to dominate the market so they can do what they like. It's the same way that BT have lots of regulations about what they can sell and for how much that people like Talk Talk don't.

    Anti-monopoly legislation is good for all of us and it still matters because otherwise the Microsofts of the world will keep paying lawyers until everyone says 'it doesn't matter any more'.

  106. Andus McCoatover

    Wasn't the *real* issue..

    ..that Microsoft stated under oath that deleting the IE browser (after installing another, e.g., Netscape) caused the OS to cease to function? I thought that was the real beef. I'm sure I _could_ delete Firefox, Konqueror, et al from Ubuntu without a functional death, but Christ-in-shitty-nappies, why would I? Just add whatever you want.

    Average numpty would be seriously nadgered with wget, ftp, etc...Plus, without a browser, they'd have no fuc*king idea where to write to for free install Opera disks...

    This doesn't make sense at all. Daft judgement, IMO.

    Or, did I miss something? (Probbly - like an 'a')

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    God some of you people are idiots

    The option to uninstall the browser or to select from a list would solve all your whines.

    This is probably a big stick to force MS to pay their fine and behave or the EC will punish them for every little issue.

  108. Mister Cheese
    Pirate

    Why not Macs and Linux?

    ...cos at the moment, the vast majority of PCs run Windows.

    As for bundling IE with the OS - why not include a choice of 3 or 4 browsers for the end-user to decide on first login, with the listed order and default radio-button selected at 'random'? Maybe the EU should start banning the sale of Windows until MS pull their finger out.

  109. Cris Wilson
    Boffin

    @Mark Randall

    "If they don't have a browser installed as standard ...

    ... how exactly are they going to download a new browser to use?"

    It's obvious isn't it? You download one with the bundled ftp command line client.

  110. TeeCee Gold badge

    My, some of us are out of date.

    At least you now *can* remove IE from Windows and leave Explorer in place for wandering around the machine as they are two entirely different sets of executables these days.

    However, I don't seem to be able to remove the browser functions of Konqueror while still preserving its other functions. Very Windows 95, yet for some reason it doesn't bother me at all (but then neither did the IE integration - maybe it's just me).

    I suppose there are two lessons here. First, we should all be *really* bloody careful what we wish for. Secondly, politicians are indistiguishable from horseshit.

    Maybe, instead of banging this tired old drum, Opera should try to work out why it is that when anybody *does* dump IE, like as not they move to using, er, FireFox..........

    Next week: EU fines Ford for only offering a range of Ford engines with their cars following an antitrust complaint by Renault.

  111. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: My three cents...

    I'm not accepting comments with 'M$' in them now as far as pos. It's stupid and annoying. Ta!

  112. mittfh
    Boffin

    Re: Linux

    Mandriva gives you FireFox, Epiphany and Konqueror on its distro CDs/DVDs. I think FF is default, but choosing a custom install, or a few post-install clicks in RPMdrake or a single urpmi command in a terminal window, allow you to quickly install one of the others.

    As for choice, how about MS offer one browser for each of the four main engines - Trident (IE), Gecko (FF), Webkit (Safari) and Presto (Opera)? Obviously those choosing a default install would get IE, but if you clicked Custom Install, you'd get a choice.

    They could even potentially do something similar for media players (the other issue that's had the EU heated up in the past) - although the other big boys in the industry would probably gang up to prevent them including something genuinely useful like MPlayer (which can handle practically any format you chuck at it - including WMP / QT / Real).

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Hmm

    Ubuntu (to name one) comes pre-installed with FireFox. This disadvantages Opera, Chrome etc.

    Ubuntu also comes pre-installed with OpenOffice. Can you image the outrage it MS bundle Office in with the OS? Yet Canonical get away with it.

    What is sauce for the goose and all... ...time the open source freetards faced censure for their anti-competitive practices. Oh, wait, everything MS does is bad by the prejudiced definition of the frothing-freetardeers. I forgot that.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re why not macs.

    This isn't difficult. Safari can be completely removed from OS X. IE cannot be completely removed from Windows. What the fuck does this have to do with Apple anyway? I could have sworn the article is about Opera, Microsoft and the EC. Besides, "but they do it..." is hardly relavent. Opera have complained about Microsoft. Are all you Windows apologists a little hard of thinking?

  115. Mark

    @Sarah Bee

    Could you get on to the rest of the Reg team and get them to quash the *tard meme and so on?

  116. Mark

    "You download one with the bundled ftp command line client."

    Why not have a GUI one?

  117. Mark

    re: The thing is...

    Aye, it's only part of the problem with IE.

    Problem one is that IE is IE compatible, not W3C compatible. Ensures that there's a desire or need to keep the internet fragmented. This is sorted by not having the IE application front-end available.

    Problem two is that the IE renderer is a buggy POS that is spread far and wide deep into the OS (to ensure "we can't remove IE or the OS breaks") so that when it has a bug, it is a SERIOUS bug. Removing the back end is needed for that.

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    et tu, Reg?

    Has el Reg gone the way of other good tech sites of the past and been finally overwhelmed by the great unwashed? This whole comment page is almost all ignorant opinion.

    1) "M$" is a perfectly valid meme. Blocking comments using is pointless censorship. Doing this would set a very bad precedent in the Reg comment system. Best to back down from that stance ASAP.

    2) MS are in trouble because the did illegally abuse their monopoly to push IE. How long ago that was has no bearing on the fact they broke the law, continue to break the law and have gone out of their way to try to make it look like they have no option but to break the law by making IE increasingly integrated into the OS. They don't need to do this, they could allow any rendering engine of your choice to plug in do this but they intentionally don't.

    3) How do you get a browser without a browser? Many, man ways. Do so few people know that a browser has two major components? One that talks HTTP to download the content and one that renders the HTML that comes back into pretty layout. HTTP is just a text over TCP protocol and a totally trivial binary could download files over HTTP without the need for an FTP client, bundled CDs, OEM browsers, etc. Wget for windows is only 400KB and does way more than just download http content. A simple dialogue in the internet wizard could allow you to choose from a half dozen major browsers and pick the one you want to automatically download as part of the setup.

  119. Mark

    "MS don’t lock the users into IE"

    Yes they do.

    Updating your OS? Need IE.

    Is there a security issue with IE? Doesn't matter if you're running FF, you need that update. YOU STILL HAVE IT.

    Reading help files? Using IE.

    etc.

  120. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: What about the Wii

    The Wii isn't an abusive monopoly.

    Therefore abusive monopoly rules don't apply.

  121. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: MS should simply drop out of the EU market

    And the copyright can be taken under eminent domain by the EU.

    And even if not, then

    a) a bigger market than the US is lost

    b) a bigger market than the US is using something not microsoft

    a kills profits now. b kills profits in the future.

    Please, MS, show how bad closed source software is by killing the EU market.

    Dare ya.

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    They are really taking the piss here.

    So MS have been told to basically "unbundle" IE from Windows?

    I assume that they'll be targetting linux builds to remove firefox and Apple MAC OS builds to unbundle safari? yeah right.

    They seem to miss the fact that if a user wants to use a different browser they can simply download it and use it as a default.

    For the love of god I don't see why MS doesn't tell them to go bollocks!

  123. marc

    Opera are just green with envy

    Microsoft INVENTED Ajax with IE. More innovation that Opera, who if it wasn't for Microsoft, would still be ripping of users with their extortionate fees. The US should take action again the EU for the unfair treatment of it's companies.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Missing the point.

    Everyone who is going on about Linux distros and 'bundled browsers or Apple and Safari, those who use these OS's have a choice. Safari is no more a part of OSX than MS Office. You can use it first run to download the browser of your choice and then remove it.

    IE is integrated into Windows, The vast majority of users (I would say that is around 98%) don't realise that there are other browsers out there.

    The whole IE edifice needs to be stripped out of the operating system. But that will cost MS millions of $ if not billions.

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    "Stupid and annoying"

    "I'm not accepting comments with 'M$' in them now as far as pos. "

    Lots of things are stupid and irritating but you let them through, presumably because they don't irritate one of El Reg's higher value advertisers, right?

    And while we're on the subject of El Reg's moderation, wtf can't we have threads moderated a bit closer to realtime than once or twice in 24 hours at a weekend? If no ones' moderating, maybe you should just prevent posting? This thread would probably be a quarter of the length but contain just as much info, without the many duplicates caused because posts are invisible till they get modded.

  126. robert
    Coat

    RE: Mark Randall et al.

    "... how exactly are they going to download a new browser to use?"

    There could be some sort of software repository for things like that, so when you install windows you are asked which software you would like, then it goes to the repository and downloads and installs it for you.

    You could then extend this to have a package manager to avoid going to the net at all to install (free) software, then you would know that everything you install is safe. Advanced users would be able to access this package manager at the command line with something like "apt-get install firefox" if they wanted to install another browser or anything else in the repository.

    while they're at it they could implement some sort of permissions system so that you're not a root user by default then have some sort of passwording system to overide it.

    mines the one with the copy of Ubuntu in the pocket.

  127. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Sarah Bee

    Nah. The 'tards are here to stay, I'm afraid, with proper usage of course. It's just too deliciously upsetting. Maybe reverse psychology will work. Or maybe it won't. It's not request-day at the Reg or anything.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't Capitalsim Great?

    You form a company, it does ok. You become a publicly traded company and your focus HAS to be on continued growth to please the shareholders. You get larger and acquire more shareholders who also focus on the growth of the company. They have no problem whether you use fair means or foul to continue that growth but you MUST continue to grow year on year or else your shareholders get nervous and sell your shares. This continues until you have become so large that any competitors are in effect no longer a threat and suddenly the same people shout MONOPOLY - this company has grown too large and is anti-competitive and we must do something about it, despite the fact that that is what is going to happen to any business that grows each year, and manages to do better than its competitors no matter what industry it is in.

    Note: I am not defending some of the practices MS have used, but the fact is that is what the shareholders and analysts wanted and so MS had to deliver.

    @All the I can't get rid of internet explorer - when was the last time you checked. Explorer.exe now has the functions that iexplore.exe used to have when the integration was an issue. It is now quite easy to get rid of internet explorer. Don't think that because something renders the same way it is using the same program to do it. Help centre etc are now completely run by explorer.exe

    As for the 'you can only update via internet explorer'

    Funny that, I have been happily updating via firefox for over a year as microsoft created a plugin that allows it to do so as part of the anti-trust case. Even if they hadn't done that, what exactly is the problem? Why should any company be forced to allow competitors products to perform maintenance functions? I wouldn't expect Nintendo to be forced to allow a sony program onto the Wii OS to allow firmware updates. Samsung don't provide seagate access to update dvd firmware etc.

  129. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: et tu, Reg?

    That's your opinion, but a) moderation is not censorship, and if you think it is then I'd suggest you've got your priorities a bit mangled, and b) who says it's a precedent bad or otherwise? I nix other comments on the basis of their content as you should know by now (see - Hilarious Prison Rape Quips).

    Your first sentence there might make the opposite point to the one you intended - it shows how much we actually let through, no? The moderation here is really very liberal.

  130. Wayne
    Thumb Down

    Monopoly law

    Most of the comments here seem to be completely ignorant of anti-monopoly laws. As such, all your whinging about Safari on OS X and Firefox on Linux is irrelevant.

    Firstly, monopolies are not illegal. However, the law states that you must not use a monopoly in one area to gain dominance in another. This is what MS did with IE - they used their Windows monopoly to dominate the browser space. We still suffer from this harm today - worms, viruses, etc.

    None of the above applies to Safari on OS X as Apple do not have an operating system with OS X, so they cannot abuse this to make Safari the default. On the iPhone, it may have been a different matter.

    As for the people asking how you would get a browser without a browser, most computers arrive with software pre-installed from the vendor. In a world without default IE, people like Opera, Firefox and others would be able to pay these vendors to distribute their browser. This would still ensure a range of browsers in the market and also allow users to download their browser of choice when their machine arrives.

    Are people really this unable to think these things through any more ?

  131. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "Stupid and annoying"

    Ohhhh, dear. Rod, meet back.

    It's nothing to do with advertising, I can assure you. The MS hate runs wild and free all over these threads, doesn't it? If I did nix everything I found stupid or irritating then imagine how long the threads would be. Doesn't mean I'm going to let everything through - why should it?

    As for weekend moderating, yes, there's going to be a build-up, but I suspect if we switched off at the weekend I'd spend Monday moderating 1000 comments whining about the lack of comment ability for the previous two days. Besides, we'd have to switch off each thread individually which would be laborious, and then remember to switch them all back on lest people start complaining in other threads about being gagged and laying out conspiracy theories and... well, it's just not likely, I'm afraid.

    This is a hard job, this is.

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @ SB: I'm not accepting comments with 'M$'

    How about 'M0x24'?

    If not, can we quit 'freetard' and 'hackintosh' too?

  133. RW
    Boffin

    Keep your focus, folks

    The real issue isn't that IE is bundled with Windows; it's that IE doesn't conform to web standards. It's a very clever strategy to help maintain the Windows monopoly, and it works this way:

    1. IE bundled with Windows, unavailable for other platforms

    2. IE doesn't follow standards

    3. Web sites implement for IE, not according to standards

    4. Plethora of non-standard IE-centric websites force use of IE

    5. Hence use of Windows is enforced.

    Since most El Reg readers seem to be young whipper-snappers, a bit of history might also be in order. In ancient days of Big Iron, IBM fought a long drawn out court case over their own bundling practices. Every installation of OS/360 and its descendants included a suite of compilers: Fortran, Cobol, Algol (yes, Algol), PL/I. Just like IE and its idiosyncratic disregard of Web standards, these compilers played free and loose with the language standards, mostly by including "extensions". Much the same scenario played out as outlined above.

    Footnote: in point of fact, compilers were very poorly standardized. Every manufacturer of Big Iron bundled compilers with their OS, and every one of those compilers supported a clutch of "extensions". Incompatibility ruled the day.

  134. André
    Flame

    How do you get a browser etc...

    A total noob should not have access to a windows box with a browser installed by default, especially if that browser happens to be IE: the box will likely be part of a botnet within half an hour after its first boot.

    If you're not a total noob you'll most likely have an USB drive around with a reasonably recent copy of Firefox. Otherwise, you get hold of someone who is not a total noob and have him install firefox for you (and while (s)he's at it, see to it that the box is fully patched and fix a few other annoying windows default issues).

  135. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "The MS hate runs wild and free"

    Maybe, then, just maybe, the hate is justified.

    I mean, who likes Hedgehog flavoured crisps? Does that mean they are lovely?

  136. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: Isn't Capitalsim Great?

    Yeah, isn't it great. You make a product and then the big coproration dump product for free, paid for by other profit areas and "out innovate" you until your company is no more.

    And then they stop working on it because they've killed your company.

    And some think it a great thing.

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsucks should be held accountable

    The EU is the only authority with any integrity to hold Microsucks accountable for their crimes against consumers. The EU should incarcerate Bill Gates for 20 years and fine Microsucks 500 Billion Euro for their violations of anti-trust laws.

  138. William Old
    Gates Horns

    Paranoia rules...

    Hey, El Reg... has anyone checked the originating IP addresses of the suspiciously-high number of AC comments bleating pro-MS propaganda? Almost without exception they obfuscate the hard issues: failure of IE to comply with open standards, MS continuing (illegally)to abuse its (legal) monopoly by continuing with its embrace/extend/extinguish strategy, MS deliberately failing to comply with Court of First Instance determinations or to pay the mega-millions of Euros fines for its unlawful practices, etc.

    Thanks Wayne, André, RW et al for concise, clear posts... and Sarah Bee, stay in there, we love you - don't let the MStards grind you down... ;-)

  139. Piezor
    Coat

    May be missing something but......

    I managed to get to the mozilla homepage and download the install file for firefox through explorer.exe whilst keeping an eye on the processes being launched in task manager at work and not once did iexplore.exe launch.

    explorer.exe. url in the address bar. click download (ok, it launched IE's download dialog automatically but i cancelled it as if i had no IE it wouldn't have appeared surely), then at the part it sayd "click here if your download didn't start automatically" i right clicked and selected save target as, downloaded the install file. No iexplore.exe process. So presumeably, yes, if Microsoft didn't bundle IE we could all still download our favourite browsers. Granted it's a fanny on.

    I personally can't see why MS bundling IE with windows is a problem tbh. I used a crude comparison yesterday when discussing it at work. Imagine Audi making a car and people complaining that they'd given you an Audi accelerator pedal so you could get out into the world.

    Made sense to me anyway. leave em be.

    Mine's the one with the keys to the Audi with a Crysler accelerator pedal in the pocket.

  140. Mark
    Boffin

    @Plezor

    1) That ability to use IE's functionality when you aren't apparently running IE is how IE manages to be such a magnet for viruses and worms. It is also why "removing IE" doesn't work, since that just removes iexplore.exe and leaves all the broken DLLs buried in the OS to be exploited.

    2) Bundling IE with windows is bad in these (and more) ways

    a) IE being 8 years out of date in standards means webpages are 8 years out of date. Ironic since the reason why MS continue to use ActiveX is because the vanilla internet eXPerience isn't "rich enough".

    b) IE exploits elevate to OS exploits because IE is built so deep into the OS

    c) Each time MS come out with an OS it is more expensive. The counter to this complaint is that you get more with it, such as a new IE, WMP, etc. So they can't be free, because if they weren't in the OS, the OS would be cheaper.

    d) OEMs are required to use IE whether they feel their users want it or not. OEMs should be allowed to put what applications they feel are needed (like they do with AV programs)

    your post makes sense if you forget inconvenient issues.

  141. Tom Lake
    Thumb Up

    W7

    Although IE is still integrated with Windows 7, Windows 7 does seem a lot more willing to respect default browser choice. Help and Support centre and Windows live messenger both use firefox if it's set as default. IIRC they were the two worst offenders in XP as far as defaults were concerned.

  142. Gis Bun
    Gates Halo

    Stick it EU where the sun doesn't shine....

    Over 12 years later, and the EU has finally decided that IE shouldn't be part of Windows [granted the first part of this mess was in 2002].

    Do the ordinary people REALLY care that IE is bundled? Nope. If you like Firefox, you can download it [a wopping 9MB]. If you want Safari or Opera [hah!] then something is wrong with you.

    Microsoft has unbundled the Window Live stuff [messenger won't be built into Windows 7] and it is to their advantage to do so. Until next year, they are still supporting IE 5 for Windows 2000 [although I'm sure most are using IE 6, the last supported Win2K browser].

    I think the EU's commission is made up of 60 year old farts who don't know how to use a computer mouse and still use typewriters.

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Oi!

    Wot's rong wiv a 60 year ol' fart?

    Soundz like kwite a releef to me :)

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Commentors keep talking about...

    ordinary people.

    Well, I would guess that those commenting on this site know very well that ordinary people don't read anything as technical as this site let alone security warnings. Windows and IE get lots of those and MSs so generous monthly security updates. Come on OSS can fix troubles far faster and their FREE.

    The fact that IE ships with Windows is PROBABLY not the issue, but that is it deeply embedded in the OS (but still offers no performance advantage, in fact the opposite of other browsers), for no reason other than to claim to be an essential part of the OS, which it should not be. If it was even a decent browser, and with its deep integration and the money Microsoft ( there Sarah Bee, I typed it out for you) has it should be the best around, but it's not even close.

    The idea behind this, of course, was not to be good to the customer but to crush Netscape. So Microsoft and its shills commenting here have no legs to stand on and Microsoft (again Sarah, it's becoming tedious). So having accomplished that task they have managed quite well at keeping all competition at bay. Until quite recently.

    Here's a wish for Microsoft, "May you live in interesting times."

    The ISP in Redmond, Washington got a workout over this article.

    Good one El Reg!

  145. Mark

    "ordinary people"

    Gis Bun, that was decided 12 years ago. The US department of justice (ha!) dropped it. MS said they'd change their ways and didn't.

    If EU had acted within 6 months, you'd complain that there was no way a company could change that quick. If they'd acted within 2 years, you'd complain that there's not been enough time to see the change that is happening. Within 5 years you'd complain that they were just going to wait until the next OS to redesign. Within 10 years, you'd complain that they had to change processes and the problems with Vista meant that they couldn't take the time then to do it right.

  146. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many people seem to be missing the point.

    IE is an integral part of the windows operating system, and although it is simple to install and use an alternate browser, it's not possible to uninstall IE - not to mention that you cannot use Windows Update with any browser other than IE.

  147. Hans Silver badge
    Boffin

    One minute folks

    MacOS, linux, iphone, nokia, [name it] do not have 90+% market share.

    Who thinks the computer manufacturers will not bundle several browsers to choose from?

    btw, even windows allows you to get a browser off the web without a browser, ever heard of ftp? And windows even comes with a command-line ftp client, named ... guess what? ftp

    That's how I get firefox on freshly installed computers ... ie? ROFL The silly wizard that 99% of the people don't need upsets me so much! I have to uncheck a box on almost every screen, IIRC!

    @AC/Many people seem to be missing the point.

    Who are you? come on! Ha, have never of heard XPLite?? really?? Please, when you have no clue .... just before you ask, there wasa 98Lite as well and no sane person wants ie integrated into the OS - Windows update works fine with my firefox, but I use automatic updates ... who uses a browser to get patches these days?

    IE and OWA need to comply with web standards, and OWA must present the same functionality to mozilla and wekbkit-based browsers as it does to ie

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