back to article Behind Microsoft's IE-free, Windows-for-Europe ploy

Microsoft's offering what it's called the best solution to shipping Windows 7 in Europe while staying within European regulatory law. The answer? For European Union (EU) member states to get 12 versions of the forthcoming Windows 7, each without the browser. IE will be available to Windows 7 customers "separately and on an …

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  1. suntoucher

    Good on Microsoft

    This whole thing is absolutely absurd. Microsoft should have the right to provide whatever software it likes on it's product. Much as a car producer can use it's own engines and not have to provide a selection of motors from various companys. Where's Apple in all of this? The other major OS producer? Safari and a huge array of software is provided with MacOS, and Firefox is bundled with most distributions of Linux.

    Personally if this goes through and forced to provide a selector for browsers, I want to see Microsoft provide IE-Firefox-Safari-Chrome. That's it. I personally use Firefox and find IE an absolute dog of a browser but I don't see it as a right that it's preinstalled on my Windows Machine because it's produced by someone completely different.

    Or even more entertaining a notion would be MS to say,

    "As of (insert close date), we are pulling out of the EU and will no longer sell Microsoft products. All Microsoft administration buildings are in the process of sale. Any and all Microsoft products from now, sold in the EU, have zero ties with Microsoft." and watch as the EU government and public scramble. Suddenly forced to either spend triple to buy a Mac, or import unsupported, potentially illegal software. On that 90% market share. Most of which Opera's customer base falls.

  2. Si 1
    Gates Horns

    You've got to hand it to Microsoft

    This plan of theirs is almost BOFH-ish in its audacity and evilness, with the best part being people still have to install IE in order to download any other browser! Evil Geniuses.

    Let's guess the next step: if MS are ordered to provide some sort of pop-up to allow users to choose their browser, what's the betting MS decide to put the browsers on the install disc so that by the time the OS launches the versions on the disc will be out of date? Or if they're forced to provide downloads, MS will host old versions on their servers.

  3. Havin_it
    Unhappy

    If my sums are right...

    (3,500,000 / (1 - 0.00005)) - 3,500,000 = 175 (and some change)

    175 copies out of 35 million, says it all really. I don't think anyone can have even mentioned it in marketing anywhere to get figures like that - it's probably just a couple of cheapskate system-builders who sought it out for themselves (and maybe Neelie Kroes) ... god it's dismal, but I'm not surprised.

    I can't help wondering if there's not more that Opera, MozCorp et al. could be doing off their own bat to flog their wares to OEMs. If they could get these guys over their fear of the unknown by touting the benefits and showing them their browsers can be integrated into their install images just as easily as IE (even offering some hand-holding if necessary), then this whole fight might be irrelevant. Have they really tried this approach, or are the OEMs afraid of something more than the unknown? (A high-velocity chair to the head, perhaps?)

  4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    It's not up to MS to suggest the action

    MS can play cute all it wants, but it appears to ignore the fact that it is already under a cloud re. market behaviour. The risk MS is taking is that the EU Commission decides the COMPANY is not curable and goes for much harsher measures.

    As for the current situation, only preloading a number of browsers (decided by market share, for instance) will IMHO cure the issue, with a startup mode giving the user the choice which default they want - plus an option to change that later. I suspect that this will mean a new browser from MS will be called something that starts with "a" so that it comes first in the list..

  5. Lewis Mettler
    Stop

    remember the lie Bill Gates told?

    It is very clear that Microsoft is attempting to defraud consumers.

    Remember Bill Gates?

    He testified under oath in federal court that Microsoft would refuse to distribute IE separately from the OS. The jerkhead also lied when he claimed that he thought illegally commingled code was corrected if a icon might be removable.

    There is no question the Microsoft fully intends to continue to force the sale of IE upon all consumers.

    Just precisely what is it that Microsoft plans not to ship? An icon? A scrip file?

    Clearly Microsoft has not separated out that commingled code, right? You know, the code that the US Court of Appeals found to be illegal?

    And you can bet that Microsoft will use whatever means it can (including illegal ones) to force OEMs to put back IE and continue to force consumers to buy it.

    You think not?

    The truth is that Microsoft planned on forcing the sale of IE technologies even if the consumer could not use it or run it.

    The key is that Microsoft would continue to collect cash for the sale of their technology. Screw the consumer. Any consumer that ops out of running IE deserves to pay for technology that they can not use.

    That is Microsoft's proposal.

    The EU should mandate that Microsoft not only completely remove all IE technologies but also require the OS to be sold for $35 less because of the removal. The EU should further require that if Microsoft ever provides IE to a customer they must pay $35 dollars or not receive the technology.

    In other words, preclude Microsoft from selling IE while lying about it.

    That is called "fraud". Getting your money by using deceit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A step too far?

    I'm actually on Microsoft's side this time - why shouldn't they be allowed to bundle IE in with Windows? A browser is pretty much essential these days after all!

    Is the EU going to stop Apple bundling Safari on the Mac or the iPhone? Or Quicktime?

    So it makes it tougher for Opera, big fat hairy deal. Opera should make a product compelling enough to prompt users to switch!

    Or perhaps the EU should apply this thinking to cars and force the car manufacturers to offer 3rd party body kits, air filters, even car mats as alternatives to the manufacturers own? After all, K&N's air filter market would be so much larger if every car manufacturer was forced to optionally install K&N products on all new cars!

    Hopefully the EU will save us from phorm - I think they're still wrong about IE though.

  7. andrew mulcock

    Microsoft update

    Is this not rather a none chat.

    Until Microsoft do not force you to use IE to run Microsoft update, then IE Will be required.

  8. Chris Miller
    Dead Vulture

    Taxi for Mr Clarke

    "Microsoft must either ship rival browsers with Windows or make them available for download from Automatic Update."

    And how would that work, exactly? Is this every browser that's ever been written (plus all the ones that will be written in the future), or just those favoured by Gavin?

    Newsflash - 99% of users don't give a stuff which browser they use, they just want their PC to work out of the box. For those that feel the need for a browser other than IE, none of them are much more than three clicks away.

    But, I hear you say, evil M$ have buried bits of IE code deep inside Windoze - I want my system to be completely pure, with no taint of that old devil Gates. No problem - get yourself a Linux distro and knock yourself out.

    Sheesh

  9. Rob Elliott 1

    just

    Ship windows with a really basic browser, windows comes with wordpad and notepad which are basic word processors. Users generally replace them with something else. So imho they should do the same with IE install something which will do the absolute basics, IE3 standard, eventually the user will want to do more and go looking for another product. I see no reason why Microsoft should be forced into becomming a distributor of other peoples products.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Okay, what's the deal?

    Why oh why oh why is a browser so important?

    Is it the underlying technology and browser integration that others are after?

    And if so, why don't they say so?

  11. NogginTheNog

    This could backfire

    Actually the article prompted something to occur to me: this could actually backfire on MS! If I were on the EU side, I'd be thinking:

    "Brilliant, a version of Windows that doesn't *need* IE, that's just what we needed to see thank you very much. Now just add in a widget which offers a way to download ANY BROWSER THE USER CHOOSES, and job done."

  12. James 47
    Flame

    Much ado about nothing

    I'm really sick of this. It's just a web browser FFS. Who cares if MS holds the majority of a market that is worth £0? Good on MS for their 'F-U' attitude, I'd do the same.

    Hopefully Notepad will be next in the EU's (short) sights.

  13. Tony Humphreys
    Stop

    Ok, how

    So the new laptop arrives. you turn it on and decide you are going to use firefox, youve been told its the best and all you need to do is download it... how, with what.

    First chink in the armor

  14. Thomas 3 Silver badge

    "Microsoft was fighting against a program it was already offering across The Pond."

    Surely either:

    "Microsoft was fighting against a programme it was already offering across The Pond."

    Or:

    "Microsoft was fighting against a program it was already offering on this side of The Pond."

    ?

    More relevantly, I think Microsoft may have correctly judged the court of public opinion on this one. See the many outraged comments to The Reg's earlier story.

  15. John Bailey
    Paris Hilton

    I know it's a long shot.

    Before the astroturfers and Daily Mail readers get here.. A couple of points for reference.. A waste of time, but what the hell..

    1) Apple, Linux, Microsoft and many others are all competing in the same market. There is no Linux market and there is no Apple market. There is just a desktop computer market. The one Microsoft has a monopoly position in.

    2) Just because alternatives exist, it doesn't stop Microsoft from using unethical and often illegal practices to keep that monopoly influence, and to strong arm other markets. This is for Microsoft's benefit, not yours.

    3) The market share aspect is trivial. The real meat of the issue revolves around the bit that the astroturfers will try to disguise as much as possible.

    Compatibility.

    Why exactly does IE8 only score about 20% on Acid 3 when Firefox and Safari get near or actually reach 100%? Are Microsoft programmers really that incompetent?

    Right. Now ignore all I have said, and get going with a nice Euroskeptic MS fanboy rant. Earn your money for a change and come up with something more original than the usual nonsense. At least try to come up with a reasonably good argument. Do Paris proud.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    No upgrade path to Win 7 Europe version!

    The E version of Win 7 cannot be used to do an in-place upgrade from Vista - users will have to 'upgrade' by doing a clean install!

    This will kill sales of Win 7 upgrades in Europe!

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10262703-56.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=BeyondBinary

  17. iamapizza
    Dead Vulture

    There's no pleasing them

    So for years, they've been screaming and throwing their toys out of the cot to get IE unbundled from Windows.

    Apparently, I've missed a memo somewhere - Now that it's being done, you're not happy (and neither is Opera) - it's being called a *ploy* to top it off! Never you mind that it's done. IE is unbundled.

    Wow, we're not quick to judge, are we? :)

    OK, sarcasm aside - a few things are pretty clear here.

    1) MS haters will not be happy until Windows is unbundled from Windows

    2) The EC will not be happy until they can have MORE money.

    3) Try calling something done by Apple or Google a 'ploy' and look at the reaction you get from the g/iTards.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Warning: Rant approaching.

    If I buy an operating system from a company I expect it to come with an internet browser and only contain applications from that company (or third party components they have licensed and fully verified).

    I do not want third party applications pre-installed, I do not want third party applications (that I don't have installed) appearing in my 'system updates' list. Too many times now when I try to install an application from company x it also wants to install something from company y (google and 'ask' toolbars being frequent targets). How about you just install your product and if I want something from google, mozilla, opera or whoever I'll damn well go and get it myself!

    Opera, Mozilla and the EU commission can go jump off a cliff. Representing the consumer? Not me they aren't.

  19. E_Nigma
    Stop

    "Those options..."

    "Microsoft must either ship rival browsers with Windows or make them available for download from Automatic Update."

    Am I the only one that sees this as a rather clear case of protectionism for MS's rivals in the web-browser market? How can a company be forced to peddle software from competing vendors?! Or has common sense completely vanished from all official bodies? I know that MS has played dirty a few times, but this is getting ridiculous. Especially since Firefox is a living proof that, under current conditions, alternative browsers can successfully compete with IE.

    And if EC really wants to intervene here, then make OEMs sell the non-IE version exclusively, with the users choosing what browser they want pre-installed as an obligatory step during the purchase. The retail copies can keep coming with IE, if someone's buying a retail copy, then that one is (99%) surely tech savvy enough to install it, in which case he's also tech savvy enough to know about alternative browser and install it.

  20. John Angelico

    Promoting a fallacy

    "given you'd need a browser to get online in the first place"

    is based on a logical fallacy - getting online requires a TCP/IP stack and applications such as telnet and ftp. It does NOT require a browser unless one wishes to view web pages.

    Downloading a file does not require a browser. It can be done with a dedicated mini-app running anonymous ftp.

    Please do not fall for the MS-promoted half-truth. I say call their bluff, and go without the browser. There should at least be a prohibition on MS to prevent them from forcing IE onto the channel.

    No doubt there are applications where a browser is totally unnecessary. Corporates with a SOE can specify what they want pre-loaded. If IE is in such demand, then I am sure OEMs and channel suppliers of kit can put together a build to customer specifications. The same could apply for SMBs.

    However, since over the counter retail sales are such a small proportion, the retail trade can afford to offer a CD/DVD with an auto-run installer for the browser of choice - the so-called banner page.

    Nobody needs to feed the 800-lb troll.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    FTP

    A small ftp app pre-loaded with the paths for all major browsers would be a lot simpler.

  22. paul clarke
    Paris Hilton

    Updates?

    So are microsoft allowing Win7 users to update their PC's through Firefox? How will they connect to the Internet out of the box?

    I see microsoft still do not get it, this is not about saying we do not want IE, its about the fact we want to CHOOSE if we want IE. Many people would settle for XP SP4, or XP R2, with some of the fancy things from Vista/Win7 as part of the SP.

    Paris? well does she know what win7 is? Lets educate her!!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    For the inevitable flood of Wintards and MS shills...

    Before you all post your ignorant bullshit and paid for bollocks - a quick guide for the uninformed:

    1. Is MS a de facto monopoly in the computer Operating System space as defined in legal terms rather than some misconception that your average Wintard or MS shill will pull out of their arse? Yes.

    2. Has MS been convicted of abusing that monopoly to the detriment of other software developers? An emphatic yes. Many times in many different jurisdictions including the US, EU, Korea, Japan, etc. and for many different reasons.

    3. Is one of those abuses in the browser space? An emphatic yes.

    4. Wasn't a remedy applied by the US early in the 2000s? In legal terms yes, but in reality no. It was a failure in terms of promoting competition and MS continues to abuse its monopoly to this day.

    5. Why is this happening in the EU now? See 4. above. MS is still abusing its monopoly in the browser space to the detriment of the competition and the end-user (if there is a single person who thinks that IE is the best browser out there, they need not only their head examined but a damned good kicking for being such an unmitigated idiot).

    6. Why is this thing with the EU happening? Because this is entering the remedy stage where they are to be punished for the abuses they have already been found guilty of.

    7. Why is it happening now and why didn't it happen sooner? Because MS do absolutely everything in their power to delay, delay, delay. See goings-on during prior US anti-trust case.

    8. Why are people on this forum responding in such a negative way to the EU and Opera in these stories? Three possibilities - they are either complete, fucking morons or they are an MS shill (see prior US anti-trust and look at wikipedia for the definition of shill). It is one of their known dirty tactics in legal cases of this ilk. The other option is that they are idiot Americans who object to the EU having to do their work for them (see 4. above).

    9. Why aren't Apple being forced to do the same with Safari? Because none of 1 to 8 applies. They aren't a monopoly in the computer Operating System space. They do not have a monopoly in browser usage (even on their own OS - Safari is only used by about 60% of Mac owners) to abuse. Their browser can be easily deleted without breaking any functionality of the OS. None of their software relies on Safari being installed.

    10. Ditto Linux and Firefox.

    11. But how will people get onto the internet without a browser? You don't need a browser to go online. An easy-to-use UI to a browser download site using SFTP or any other appropriate protocol would be trivial to create and display to a user as soon as they went online.

    12. But who will choose which browsers I get to download if that is the remedy? The EU, and the OEMs, probably on the basis of which ones are most popular after removing IE's inflated share of the market (which would be the only fair way to do it at this time). In other words, the people themselves.

    13. But won't this impede MSs ability to "innovate"? MS haven't innovated a god-damned thing for over 20 years. There is nothing to impede.

    14. But aren't MS the bestest, evar, cuddliest, nicest, company who saved the World™ with their OS and IE? Are you effing, kidding me?

    End of public service announcement

  24. Robert E A Harvey
    Gates Horns

    window dressing

    I can't see that, once there is a button that will fetch IE - and only IE - the offering is distinguishable from having IE there in the first place. After all most versions of an OS will fetch allsorts of stuff when they first wake up, if only security updates.

    The regulators need to insist that whenever there is a choice that consumers get a choice.

    Next they need to uncover strongarming on hardware vendors to exclude other OSs from the marketing material.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Crazy

    OEMs have had the option to install different browsers since the word go, they have never been tied to IE, but they choose to leave IE as the default browser, Why? Because that’s what the end users are expecting, if they wish to change their mind then go right ahead and install whatever takes your fancy.

    To force Microsoft to provide 3rd party applications as part of the install is mind boggling, If MS did this it would been seen as MS condoning these programs and as such supporting them, which they do not, MS has nothing to do with them, can you imagine firefox providing an update to Windows update which royally screws something else on the OS? That is extreme but possible, and worst of all it would be seen as Microsoft’s fault and you can bet on your kids lives that FF and Opera wont allow MS to provide certification like hardware vendors are forced to do if they want access to windows update, because MS would want changes to be made and since they represent the anti-Microsoft users of the world i cant see them taking that pill.

    Microsoft is being very cleaver, providing an OS without a browser WILL enoy the consumer and OEMS as they will now have to do this, if IE isnt allowed to be provided by windows update how exactly are people going to install alternate browsers, MS cant be made to support them and by association provide them, how many people happen to have IE, FF, Opera kicking about on a disk? not many i bet and finally the first firefox user that shouts FTP should be shot, most users are normal people meaning they have no idea what you are talking about let alone how to do it.

    Nice one Microsoft! and IF the numptys within the EU force this i hope they follow suit with Firefox and Linux, and Safari and OSx both of which are equally unfair ESPECIALLY since IE is losing market share without all this EU crap!.

    I also hope they provide the European users with the choice which OS to buy, otherwise ill be buying it digital via the states and that means no tax revenue for Europe!

  26. oxo 1
    Gates Horns

    I'm baffled

    Why are these other browser suppliers so keen to bash up MS. Their browsers are FREE, so what's the panic to get them installed?

  27. Speeder

    The matter of choice

    Microsoft should do it the way linux does it during install of the OS. That is to give you a choice of what you want to install rather then removing the option of choice. An user should get a choice to do a basic install or an advanced install in which he/she can choose what to install, for example what kind of browser.

  28. surferking

    Windows 7 with Apple or Linux browser packages anyone?

    Why don't OEMs and retailers just market Windows 7 with Apple's Quicktime and Safari pre-installed as an Apple type alternative and with VideoLAN and Firefox or similar as a Linux type alternative? Or is that too bloody obvious for the lazy half-wits! Personally, if I had to have Windows 7, I'd want it pre-installed with all of them to save me the half an hour it would take to do. Its just making disk images and putting stickers on machines, hardly hard work!

    Really though, if people are dumb enough to accept what they are spoon-fed out of the shop and not know there are alternatives then that's their hard luck. Search for browsers, click download, click accept and next a few times, if you can't do that then your computer will probably die from lack of maintenance pretty soon anyway and no doubt the rest of your life is inefficient from lack of appreciation of what choice you have. Who cares about percentages? 80% of my company computers are non-windows and 100% have non-IE browers installed and preferred and no-one really cares what they use until it goes wrong, at which time they make it someone else's problem to fix and wait until they can get on with their job with whatever browser they last remember worked on most things.

    The real problem is lack of education not lack of options. People who punch their IE loaded Windows PC with frustration and don't do anything about it should have it taken away from them and replaced with a Fisher-Price block with coloured shapes and a hammer. Twats. A survey on what percentage of internet users are ham-fisted twats would be much more helpful so the rest of us can avoid them and get on with enjoying our free choice undisturbed.

  29. A B 3

    And another thing

    I was a complete Netscape fanboi. I didn't need a college degree to ask the computer store guy about internet software. Not that it wasn't already explained in various computer mags.

    I can believe people are incredibly lazy. But I cannot believe they are too stupid to acquire a browser as well as the OS.

    "Pah, he's using them fancy words agin."

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP N sales unsurprisingly low

    Given that I've never seen it offered by a royalty OEM, and the system builder OEM prices were always a bit higher than normal XP. Self-fulfilling prophecy?

  31. WinHatter
    Stop

    I hate windows

    mainly because I have to work with.

    But isn't it a bit unfair that Apple is allowed to have Safari, Quicktime, DVD player, iTunes, iLife & iWork shipped in their OS and on their hardware exclusively?

    OK there is a small fee to get the full version of Quicktime (which they call PRO) and iWork ... if that all it takes to avoid legal case for M$ I would say their lawyers are stoopid, and they deserve what is coming at them.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Let's all calm down a bit...

    Yes, if bundling IE is found to be a violation, then Microsoft would be liable for any such violations, e.g. from 1996 to present.

    The Windows 7 decision is for the future, to mitigate future liability. The OEMs aren't idiots -- if they don't put IE on the box, they'll install Firefox or (if they like spending lots of money on tech support) Opera.

    And Microsoft said that they will ship a tool that lets users download any browser without first having a browser installed.

    Sounds sufficient to me.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Morro

    I wonder how the EU and companies like AVG and Symantec are going to react to MS's announcement of Morro which I'm quite sure, like their Malicious software removal tool, will be basically forced onto end users.

  34. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Gates Horns

    Bah! more FUD

    There was a time when to succeed in the PC world you had to be either first or be the best, now the evil empire has reduced this to produce any old crap and bet the first to sue or have the best legal team and then cover any gaps with FUD.

    There was a time when I viewed any MicoShit as a welcome and genuine improvement on previous products, possibly with the exception of the code view debugger, the Borland debugger was much nicer to use.

    Then they became a shower of greedy bastards, why build a better mousetrap when you can force your mousetrap on everyone by default and make it impossible for people to remove your mousetrap, even people didn’t want it or wanted to use somebody else’s slightly better mousetrap.

    After all what is the point of being a monopoly unless you are going to abuse that position, why innovate or fix buggy software when you can simply prevent your competitors from accessing the market.

    Why build secure software when it is more efficient financially to build a big homogenous mess what will make it difficult for true innovators to compete with MS and where a bug in JPEG picture rendering software will expose your email address book to hackers.

    Windoze firewall anyone, blocks all unauthorised traffic except traffic with the evil empire?

    And then when you do release a flawed product (or 18 versions of it) fill the market with FUD and then wash your hands a la Pontius Pilate, saying “oooh, its nothing to do with us, it’s the public (the OEMs in our pocket) that want this!!!”

    So I am delighted the EU have seen through this cheap trick, and I for one will continue to block all access to the evil empire in my third party firewall and install non M$ products whenever I can. Yeah, I know I’m still stuck with Microshit office and project ‘cos that’s what I have to use in work, however in these economically challenging time it may be time to push the move to some open source products.

    I used to work in one big iron company that insisted on buying/leasing Amdahl hardware, not because it was any better than big blues offerings, just that it was a reminder to big blue that there were alternatives.

    I've just shutdown LookOut, and watched in task manager as bugger all memory was released, maybe its time to look at the way all MicroShit products are bundled and part of the OS.

  35. Grease Monkey

    Fooled?

    Is anybody fooled into thinking MS are being compliant?

    How would it be possible to install another browser without installing IE first in order to be able download the competing browser? So IOW we're in exactly the same situation as before, the only difference being that IE is not part of the default installation.

  36. Roger Jenkins

    The choice

    The obvious way of implementing this browserless package is to offer a choice when a user first starts the operating system and requests internet access, something like, 'which browser would you like to use?', you make a choice and the browser of choice is installed for you. In this scenario the majority of users will choose IE anyway because they just don't know the others.

    Microsoft, if forced, will offer the choice via Auto. Updates, here they will be able to highlight IE and downplay the alternatives. Well that's what I would do if I were Microsoft.

  37. Mike OReilly
    Thumb Down

    Oh shut up you anti-MS shill

    I also live in the Bay area and I see so many "techies" who hates MS with passion because they or their company lost to Microsoft in the past. What a bunch of whining losers. Yeah, that also includes Opera, EC and others. OS is a built-in monopoly business like Ebay. MS won. Get over it, losers. If you want your browser shipped with OS, build your own OS, damn it. Why should MS advertise your browser on their product? If you can't build your own OS, then spend your own money for ad campaign or create a really unique product that users can't afford to ignore. The fact is all browsers are about the same. That's why people just go with IE. These losers (especially the Apple and Linux camp) have created sort of a "it's hip to hate MS" meme and now you see novice techies in US or EU repeating the same BS not realizing that they are just being tools for the Apples, Googles and Operas of the world.

  38. holycow

    Comment on ‘Behind Microsoft's IE-free, Windows-for-Europe ploy’

    In a free capitalist society, no company should be force to include competitor's product on it's own product. If Microsoft were illegal in including IE in Windows, then the fair and logical remedy to all is to remove IE from Windows. Let everyone compete on it's own merit, not trying to piggyback on somebody else product, without having to lift it's own finger. Hear that Opera.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    EU - a sour bunch of grapes for EU - worthless article

    What more does the EU want - MS has levelled the field.

    Next on the same vein will they ask Google to allow IE to be downloaded from their site and present a selection to pick IE, Chrome, Safari etc from Google.

    Also ask Opera the problem child of europe to provide a dropdown to pick IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera from their web site. This is the height of ridiculousness.

    Is the EU idiotic - a pathetic attempt by a bunch of lazy beaureacrats to dictate what the customer wants. The real people behind these are a bunch of losers such as Google, IBM, Sun who failed miserably in the USA and got kicked out in the courts and now trying to do backhand deals with the EU in Europe. What a sore bunch of losers.

    And for the EU they are peeved that US companies dominate the industry and their lazy and worthless companies cant face the competition and trying to prop them up. What a shameful and anti-competitive practice indeed.

  40. Wolf 1
    Flame

    Nice Spin. Too bad it's completely wrong

    Man, even when MS throws in the towel some people have got to whine.

    MS has *surrendered* Utterly. They removed IE *completely*. Opera won. You wanted a level playing field, *well here it is*. MS is FORCING everyone in the EU to choose a browser--you aren't allowed *not* to!

    Will this make Neelie and her henchfolk look like the slimy money-gougers they are? Of course it will. And there *will* be much rejoicing in Redmond. Seems like MS finally grew a pair--it's only taken 10 years...

    Oh, and that part about Windows N? *THAT WAS THE COMMISSION'S OWN REMEDY! Egg on face all 'round. A dozen Roc eggs. :)

    Past time MS told the EU to put up or shut up--and that's what they've done. Here's Windows 7. Here's an IE disk *if you want it*, if not you can go without a browser at all or Mozilla and company can pull an AOL and shower all and sundry with CDs.

    Or the OEMS can load every single *free* browser on the planet on every machine they build. (Funny how all this noise and fury is about something that costs *nothing*, isn't it?)

    CHOICE. You wanted it, and by God MS is going to make absolutely sure you *make* it.

    Where's the rejoicing, hmm? Surely every Firefox fan, Safari zealot and Opera afficianado will be beating down peoples' doors to install the browser they champion? Surely FOSS will hold parades down the streets of every European capitol? MS has lost!

    There have been loudmouths who opined that MS should simply abandon the EU altogether. Obviously MS wants your money too badly to do that. But here's a small taste of what it would be like if they did.

    Here's the chance for the ABM crowd to show their mettle. They've always boasted their stuff is better, now *prove* it!

    Surely OEMs can whip up a simple ballot screen? What about the FOSS folks? Now's your time, here's the clarion call for the downfall of MS!

    Go for it.

    Instead of whining like spoiled 3 year olds...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell

    I want to go to the Dell site, configure my PC, on the Software I to select Firefox. Why should I not be able to choose software, yet I can choose all details of my hardware. Why should the choice there be 'Windows with IE' 'Windows without IE'?

    Microsoft that's why. There has been zero progress. It is not business of Microsofts what is sold by the PC makers in terms of software.

    They should also investigate the netbook market to see why XP and Linux are not available on the same hardware configurations. I think they continue to lean on manufacturers to require their anti competitive conditions.

  42. A B 3
    Boffin

    Step 2

    "Step 2 select your browser"

    A bit of a fizzer on the bogeyman scale.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft and the Court of Public Opinion vs. EU

    Microsoft are barking up the wrong tree. If the EU Commission gave a shit about public opinion then more of us would have been able to vote on the EU Treaty (formerly known as "Constitution") - and the Irish wouldn't have to vote again until they vote the right way.

    Microsoft may have also misinterpreted public opinion - whilst many IT folk may care about this, most users just want to be able to create and print documents, browse the web and send emails - they don't care whether it is or is not a Microsoft product.

  44. Mathew White
    Thumb Down

    no different...

    How is pre installing the browser different to pre installing the installer for the browser; and not providing any way for people to access other web browsers without first installing IE?

    Do they expect us to have a second computer that doesn't run windows to download the non M$ browser (as a pc would initially required you to use internet exploiter) .

    ... because otherwise... there aint much difference to just installing IE by default.

  45. Defiant
    Stop

    Enough of the anti Microsoft rubbish, the register!

    Ploy? So I'm guessing it's okay for Apple and the Linux distro's to have FF & Safari included however the nasty Windows operating system which millions have decided to buy can't.

    Do you guys have a car ?, well I hope you don't have stereos inside them because they should come without them!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not Just A Browser

    IE is not just a browser, now is it.

    It is part of Microsoft's game, wherein every facet of the IT industry is to be owned and controlled by a company that specialises, not in programming, technology or innovation, but in litigation, marketing, and other forms of mendacious and specious bullshittery. It starts with the browser, moves to proprietary client-side technologies, and ends up with proprietary server-side technologies.

    The medium? Idiotards who regurgitate all the non-arguments you can find above.

    Now, perhaps you idiotards feel that the industry you work in is best served by one mega-marketing autocracy. That's fine, but please fuck off and find another industry to work in. I actually care about computing.

    Paris, because you can all just fuck off.

  47. Dyason
    Gates Halo

    Why does it matter?

    None of them actually charge for the browser? It's free!

    On the point of giving users a choice, the ones that choose a browser different to IE would install it anyway. The others would just go with IE surely since they've bought a Microsoft operating system?

    And as has been mentioned Apple are just as bad. I've recently moved to OS X and while I do enjoy it I also can't believe they get away with tying in the need for Safari. For those that say you can delete it, unfortunately some of the settings for OS X rely upon what you set in Safari. That makes it even worse than IE surely?

    It's just all fanboyism at the end of the day!

    From an Opera fan. I even bought it back when you had to pay for it.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Revenue

    The profit is in search, that is how Firefox generates revenue. Microsoft has Bing which is what IE will default to I'm sure.

    Microsoft are just winding the EU up, as has been pointed out OEMs will install IE because that is what 99% of the general public want. If you want Firefox et al then just install them.

    You do need IE for some sites, they don't work with Firefox and I know this from my default browser being Firefox

  49. Mark 29
    Linux

    Its very strange

    I always thought that the original action was about the fact that Microsoft browsers and Media Players were part of the Windows Operating system, and the problem was that there were so many hooks (some undocumented) between them that putting a new browser or media player in was incredibly difficult (or damn near impossible).

    Even as a fan of Linux and Firefox, I am finding removing IE entirely a little extreme. I believe that Microsoft should be free to release any software it wishes with its operating system all interfaces required to replace that software with alternative defaults are fully documented, in advance. I believe the EU insisted that IBM document its release interfaces 6 months prior to release in another settlement, and that would seem to be a good option here.

  50. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Flame

    Meh!! Spinning the spin

    @Wolf 1 and others

    It's funny/strange how I, an IT professional, never heard of XP N before I read this article, did anyone else see a "I'm a PC without explorer" ad anywhere?

    Has anyone gone into the likes of PC world and been offered XP N.

    NO!!!

    This is an evil empire smokescreen, they don't tell people it exists, they will make sure that the non-IE versions for Europe (pop. 732M) are non-standard builds from the 'merkin (pop. 337M) standard build and will therefore cost more to install.

    "MS has *surrendered* Utterly." - No they havent, they just want to give the impression that they are inside the tent pissing out, in reality they are still pissing on everyone.

    "they removed IE *completely*" Did they? Did they remove all the IE code from all the DDL's so that you can delete IE without buggering up the system? Will all EU-compliant versions of windoze have all the IE related code in its own set of DDL?

    "Opera won" Eh!! there more than alternative to internet exploder.

    "Or the OEMS can load every single *free* browser on the planet on every machine they build. (Funny how all this noise and fury is about something that costs *nothing*, isn't it?)"

    installtard, that's the whole trick, M$ will say we offered it, but the public (the OEMs we made it more expensive for / in our pocket) don't want it.

    "CHOICE. You wanted it, and by God MS is going to make absolutely sure you *make* it."

    I'm rejoicing......... :-)

  51. Grease Monkey

    Just a thought...

    MS tried to defend their tactics for years by saying that IE was such an integral part of Windows that it would be impossible to produce windows without IE.

    So either they are admitting that they were lying then or they are lying now. If the former is the case then there is surely a sound argument to fine them for contempt of court. I suspect however that the latter is the case. It's my guess that most of IE will still be included in the default distribution, it's just that you won't be able to simply click an icon and bring up the UI. I think the court need to look carefully at the proposed distribution for traces of IE. If there is much of IE in there then again MS should be prosecuted to try to mislead the court.

  52. Charles King
    Thumb Down

    Opera can go...

    If they want their browser to gain market share, they can go do the hard work (marketing and distributing it) themselves. MS isn't stopping them from going and making deals with OEMs to preinstall their software. But no, they seem to think they should get a free ride and have MS do the donkey work for them. Well, screw Opera, I'm with MS on this.

    MS are no saints, sure, but their monopoly doesn't oblige them to market competitors' products for them.

  53. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Feck me the MS Shills are swarming tonight

    The point you guys are trying to obfuscate is this. While having a monopoly is not illegal, using that monopoly to kill off your competition is.

    Microsoft does this. It has been found guilty of it in more than one jurisdiction. It has been blatant.

    stifling competition is bad, look at the problems the IE monoculture gave us until Firefox made Microsoft put some effort into imporiving IE past version 6.

    The EU is primariliy a trade body. It is interested, in theory, in fostering a reasonably fair market.

    Microsoft, if they are opposign this aim, should be and deserve to be slapped down.

  54. Maty

    okay then ...

    If the market on browsers is free fair and unfettered, why do something like 80% of computers run IE? Is it because users appreciate the extra security that IE provides? The privacy (hint: look at index.dat), or is is because IE is so slim, mean and fast?

    Or is it because MS use their monopoly to push their browser on to the general public? As a further clue, note that only a small minority of skilled computer users have IE as their browser of choice.

    So IE is an inferior browser foisted on the public by the Microsoft windows monopoly. Despite all the ranting by some posters here, that is a fact.

  55. Aaron Guilmette
    Coat

    Absolutely ridiculous

    When was the last time Ford was asked to inquire if their customerers wanted GM seatbelts with their cars ?

    This constant "leveling the playing field" crap is insane. MAke a product, be succesful with it, and then the competition goes crying to the government to make the winner include the loser's product to give them a chance. If your product were so radically different or so much better, wouldn't the customer get it anyway?

    MAybe the sad fact is that IE is good enough for most people.

    If you went down to your local pub and ordered a double Bombay Sapphire gin and bartender told you that he had to give you one shot of Bombay and another of Gordon's because no one was ordering Gordon's crappy Gin, wouldn't you think that strange? You'd think, "if I'd wanted Gordn's, I would have ordered it." Perhaps people use IE because they like it and don't have a need or desire for anything else.

    Mine's the Burberry with the Member's Only collar.

  56. P. Lee
    Flame

    Quick comments in support of MS

    See, now we know MS edits wikipedia to give itself favourable comments, I don't really give any pro-MS comments on these pages any credence either.

    Oh, the issue isn't about which browser should be available in windows, its about punishing MS for past abuses of monopoly power. It isn't about individual user's choice of browser. Its about the possibility of Apple doing better in the past if MS hadn't behaved as it had. It isn't about a browser, its about MS's business practises which just happen to involve a browser. In this light, adding another "repository" to windows-update seems reasonable enough.

    Convict Apple or Redhat or Novell of abusing a monopoly position and I'll support the inclusion of an IE repository for OSX and Linux too.

  57. John Freeman
    Unhappy

    Common Sense Really

    If you have a product, do you think its fair to be forced to advertise other products within yours? I think MS made the best choice to please all parties involved, but the EU whiners won't have any of it until MS provides Google and Opera banners during the start-up sequence. Next thing EU regulators will want - you will see an autorun sequence when you first insert the disk. "Choose the OS you wish to install", it will ask. When you choose Linux or something else it will have a link to direct you to the competitors website...unless the EU wants MS to include the other systems, in which case it will be copyright infringement, which will bring in the **AA mafia software equivalent. Sad face, because at the heart of it all regulation of free markets is pitiful.

  58. Mark 65

    Wow

    I don't think I've ever seen so many people miss the point as with the stories about MS and the EU. My feeling is that there are a lot of Americans posting with their fanboy, MS-shill, pro-unrestrained capitalism rants. Why don't you take a step back, look at the depth of the financial shit the world is in right now and have another think about how unrestrained capitalism works for the benefit of the common man? MS follows the model of dominate then abuse whilst brushing aside "attempts" at regulation.

    MS have to do whatever the remedy turns out to be because they are being punished. Understand that concept? They have fucked over the consumer effectively for over 10 years and it's all coming home to roost. Suck it up and get over it. They are arseholes and deserve whatever they get.

    @AC 13th June 2009 07:02 GMT

    Bingo, we have a winner. You get it. At last there is someone out there.

  59. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Call yourself techies?

    I'm really shocked and surprised that so many people on a supposedly tech-site think that the internet == the web

  60. Dustin 1
    Flame

    Or better yet

    Why not have them remove TCP/IP so that they OS is further degraded. If the EU cares so much about choice, then why cant I order a Mac Pro with Windows ONLY pre installed, no bootcamp shite, or an iPhone with Windows mobile. And for the UNINFORMED yet so opinionated MS haters, Windows 7 has an option to uninstall IE. The current windows installer is basically dumping an image to your drive, no customization at install, so without changing that method you have to wait.

  61. Rick Damiani
    Thumb Up

    IE not required for WinUpdate

    "Until Microsoft do not force you to use IE to run Microsoft update, then IE Will be required."

    In Vista, Windows Update is a control panel applet. If you go to the Windows Update web page on a system running Vista, you get a page telling you how to find it in the control panel. I presume Windows 7 will work the same way. Not only is a browser not required, it's not supported or (as far as I can tell) possible.

    I wonder if any of the people complaining about Microsoft's decision have ever dealt with large deployments of software, or have been involved in shipping anything. It's a lot more complex than just slapping a few stickers on it and changing a script.

    And don't forget that Microsoft is at or very close to RTM on this product. Removing features is lots simpler than adding them, especially if Microsoft has been removing dependencies on IE - a likely goal of the Vista and Windows 7 development process, given the legal problems including it has already created.

  62. A B 3
    Thumb Down

    @A step too far

    You mean to say that car companies don't rebadge 3rd party products and sell them at inflated prices? Or that 3rd party altenatives are no doubt of dubious quality and best kept away from Joe/Jane Driver?

    Do some research before you make an analogy.

  63. Trokair 1
    Flame

    So don't sell it.

    The majority of users want IE. They are familiar with it and don't see a reason to change. Removing IE looks like a fine compromise to me.

    Personally, I'd do this though. Stop automatic updates and security patches to the EU for a year or 5. I don't like the monopoly anymore than anyone else howerver, including services in your OS is not manipulation, its added value. If you want something else you are free to install whatever you like. MS hasn't locked your computer out to different browsers/media players, its just that the competition doesn't have anything to offer that is worth switching to.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @Suntoucher

    > Firefox is bundled with most distributions of Linux.

    Yes but also bundled are Lynx, Konqueror and likely others too. Konqueror is often the default on KDE systems. If IE was available on Linux maybe it would be bundled. The fact is that there is no "corporate bias" on the Linux side.

  65. duncan campbell
    Joke

    Windows without a browser?

    You can get a _good_ space-heater for about the same price as the Windose

    license, never mind the hardware.

    I guess Microsoft has concluded from studying preskoolers that bopping NPCs

    is real neat so long as u never get a taste of the real thingl ;-)

    ~D

  66. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    "None of them actually charge for the browser? It's free!"

    ...and more retarded comments from the economically clueless.

    Sometimes I fear that I understand people who grab UZIs and go postal.

    Anyways, the actual issue is about "standards" here - seems that this somehow was distilled into the browser/mediaplayer brouhaha, covering up the real problem.

    As long as Microsoft is not forced to open up its protocol its file format descriptions FREE OF CHARGE AND WITH NO PATENT OR COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS WHATSOVER TO ANYONE in a well-documented fashion, allows independent implementation of the same by third parties and refrains from abusing its market position by subverting standardization commitees (see the MS ODF farce) and by extending and embracing or maybe just "interpreting" existing protocols ("this page optimized for IE") -- we are not getting anywhere.

    Once that happens, MS should be able to ship anything it wants with its OS as competition will again be about performance and feature set and not warped due to legal lock-out by an arbitrary monopoly. "Play nice or not at all" has been an accusation leveled at MS since at least 1998.

    And "opening up" does not mean being able to see MS source code under an NDA so that one has to reverse-engineer whatever Redmond pumps out only to find that an implementation is covered by some MS patent as it actually involves a kludgy mapping from XML to an MS-extended version of ASN.1 or something.

  67. Michael Nielsen

    None of them actually charge for the browser? It's free!

    Are you sure. I'm not

    From the installer to IE8

    "Microsoft Corporation (or based on where you live, one of its affiliates) licenses this supplement to you. If you are licensed to use Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 software (for which this supplement is applicable) (the “software”), you may use this supplement. You may not use it if you do not have a license for the software. You may use this supplement with each validly licensed copy of the software."

    or

    from http://www.microsoft.com/msdownload/ieplatform/ie/license.txt

    "NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A VALID EULA FOR ANY "OS PRODUCT" (MICROSOFT WINDOWS 95, MICROSOFT WINDOWS 98, MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0, MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT SERVER 4.0, MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT SERVER, ENTERPRISE EDITION 4.0 OR MICROSOFT WINDOWS NT SERVER 4.0, TERMINAL SERVER EDITION), YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO INSTALL, COPY, OR OTHERWISE USE THE OS COMPONENTS AND YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS UNDER THIS SUPPLEMENTAL EULA."

    Unless I'm completely wrong - hate legal speech, then ithis would mean that you are not allowed to use IE, unless you have paid for an operating system product.

    Sort of streaches the "free" bit doesn't it ?

  68. Dex
    Alert

    Really....

    .....why should people care? It's not like you can't UNINSTALL thier blasted IE is it? erm no

    :-)

  69. Allan Rutland
    Flame

    Opera's problems caused by Opera not MS!

    This entire situation was caused by Opera's whining to the EC...and the EC being the bunch of self-righteous idiots they are, went off and sided with the European company.

    Opera's problems though were never MS, but themselves. They continued to charge for a browser when everyone else’s browsers were free. That was there choice; it was not forced on them by MS. When after 6 years of charging they decided to finally let it go free, they have less than 1% market share. It was nothing but their own stupid decisions.

    The big issue on this is once the EC gets away with it once, it will occur again. Where else would Opera like to go? iPhone users should get it on first boot shouldn't they? Apple will be next in sight once the precedents been set. However, what is next after that? Google under fire as it is better than the stupid EC funded anti-American search engine I cannot even name these days.

    Personally, I do like how the beta for 7 handled things. Yes we have IE8 pre-installed, but what you do then is run off, download your chosen browser, then disable IE. Done and dusted. The EC is doing nothing for the consumer, which they claim they are, they are doing this for themselves once more, and yet again looking for a way to extract money from the US, and through money grabbing court cases try to inflate a European product over the place it should be.

    I am not saying Opera is bad, just that no one caused the position that are in other than themselves, and whining to the EC about it quite frankly is wrong.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Should let people select which *OS*, not which Browser

    For competition reasons I'd pass a law saying that all PCs have to start by offering the user a choice of *OS* - describe Windows and Linux, say, their relative strengths and weaknesses (including, er, the "loads of free apps" issue, and cost too: you get a £20 rebate if you choose Linux).

    Sure, you might choose the Microsoft option as it's described as "probably a bit more like what you know previously". Your choice.

    And you can choose to have just the one, or both (a boot-time choice).

    Hard disks are big enough for space to be a non-issue.

    Capitalism is supposed to be regulated to produce consumer choice. There's zero choice right now, on the shelves, for normal consumers (except to buy a more expensive Mac). Regulating *browser* choice is a tiny distraction.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Euro MP

    If you feel strongly about it one way or the other then you can contact your Euro MP although trying to find out how to contact one's Euro MP (great start for democracy there then innit?) seems almost as difficult as finding their expense claims.

    see

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/1579344/Criminal-abuse-of-expenses-by-Euro-MPs.html

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WHY are we doing this?

    Microsoft's monopoly position in the "consumer" and "mainstream" OS market has held back computing for best part of 15 years. Yes, there have been advances that may not have come about without the "marketing muscle" of Wintel but were have they really taken computing and, more importantly society? The answer to both, in the long term is "nowhere". That being said, they've kept a lot of people in work and helped open up new businesses.... ?? Doh...?

    Browsers are currently an essential link to the www for all but the techies of this world and as such those who control them are immensely powerful - hence the interest in were we go to get ou browsers. The vested interests (inc MS & other governments - EU , China & USA) will impede alteration to the ways of access to the www or other mass communication until such time as they can control & master them - they've learned! The politicians, btw, play a very small part time part here...

    I'd like MS to get a pasting, but from the EU - I'm not so sure... That being said, no other government seems interested or capable so "Cry Havoc & let loose the dogs of software..."

  73. Fatman Silver badge
    Flame

    M$ Tries an end run around EC!

    I have to give the marketing weasels and the in-house shysters at M$ some serious credit. The EC wants to have IE unbundled from Windoze, and guess what, M$ decides to do exactly that! I profess absolutely NO LOVE for M$, and it would provide me a lot of pleasure seeing them busted up; but that will not happen. Too much money, too much influence. You know the score - Money Talks, Bull$#!t Walks!!

    There two aspects of this debacle that people SHOULD be focusing on; and they are being led astray by a 'strawman' argument.

    First aspect is the tight integration of IE into the OS core. The HTML rendering engine (Trident) is a core part of the OS. It is also used to generate the Windows Explorer UI, and other UIs. This is due in part to a desirable aspect of writing code - it is called 'code reuse'. For the tech fearful, the best analogy amounts to 'not re-inventing the wheel' each time you need something that requires tires. Therefore to rip Trident out of Windoze will cause some of its functionality to be diminished. Too many have bitched about WINDOZE BLOAT, and code re-use is one way to reduce that bloat. Imagine if Windows Exploder had to have a separate rendering engine separate and apart from Internet Exploder. Imagine if Outlook had its own, separate engine; do the same for Word, Excel, and many other M$ software. If you think Windoze is bloated NOW, then a little imagination is all that one needs to perceive the bloat factor when you figure in all of those different rendering engines. This is where other browsers differ, each one has its own rendering engine. In the case of Chrome and Safari, its WebKit. Firefox uses Gecko, I am not aware of the rendering engine used by Opera.

    Unfortunately, this code re-use has a drawback; if you can exploit the browser, and compromise the rendering engine, you have a shot at the OS. Even though I do not use IE, those core components of IE are still present, and their presence is a security hole. I would love it if NO part of Internet Exploder were on my system. But, barring a directive to totally strip Internet Exploder, and all of its core code from Windoze, it just is not going to happen.

    The second issue that many do not seem to recognize is the way OEM "partners" have their arms 'twisted' behind their back. That 'arm twisting' is done by the pricing mechanism. How much says the Windoze XP N and Vista N versions cost the OEM MORE than the 'complete' versions?? I would not put it past M$ to try something like that. It would be in their best interest to make the decision as painful as possible for an OEM to leave out Internet Exploder.

    I think the best way to 'solve' this problem is to insure that the pricing for the Internet Exploder free versions of Windoze are LESS expensive that the ones that include Internet Exploder. If the end customer wants to pay this M$ TAX, then it is the customer's choice. If the end customer does not want to pay the M$ TAX, then there are free browsers available; and all the OEM has to do is provide a simple FTP client to point to the download location. The OEM, can, should they choose, provide a CD with the set up files for the major browsers. Perhaps these other browser makers could agree to co-operate on the production of a CD which OEM's could include Chrome, Safari, Opera and (my personal favorite) Firefox.

    I think the real reson why this will not happen is because the major OEMs are just plain LAZY. M$ provides all they need, and they do not have to lift a finger; and that is EXACTLY what M$ wants.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dyason

    Good lord if you are going to troll at least make it believable. Quote "I also can't believe they get away with tying in the need for Safari. For those that say you can delete it, unfortunately some of the settings for OS X rely upon what you set in Safari." There isn't a goddamned thing in Safari's settings that the rest of the system relies upon. Spread your FUD elsewhere.

  75. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    @Maty

    If the market on browsers is free fair and unfettered, why do something like 80% of computers run IE? Is it because users appreciate

    "the extra security that IE provides" You are taking the piss, aren't you?

    "The privacy (hint: look at index.dat), or is is because IE is so slim, mean and fast?"

    Which index.dat, I've got 31 of them..... :-) Of course IE seems slim and fast, most of its code is already loaded in DLLs that have nothing to do with IE,

    Most of the people I work with use Firefox at home, but use IE in work, that's because the PC support people can't face the prospect of rolling out a new browser to 100,000+ PCs worldwide, oh, and that's IE 6 as well. Much easier to use the one bundled with OS.

    You see, people do want to use the browser bundled with the OS (now I'm taking the piss)

  76. Neoc

    Not satisfied...

    ...until I can *completely* remove IE and WMP from my machine. And that's *remove*, folks, as in "gone without a trace left". Not "remove" as in "we'll just hide the icons" that MS is currently using.

    I don't want IE and WMP - I use FF and MPC. *I* prefer to use these programs, but I can't get rid of MS's software no matter how hard I try.

    So no, I don't care about other browsers (not) being included, I don''t care whether MS should be forced to provide Windows without IE and WMP. I think they should be forced to make *every* product in Windows *fully* replaceable: don't like Outlook / IE / WMP / WindowsFirewall, rip it out and replace it with your product of choice to operate via APIs - and no residual functionality remains to be used "behind the scene" because MS was too lazy to do proper API calls (or, depending on your paranoia levels, was too anti-trust to follow its own rules and tied its own components together so they can gloat about how fast MS products run compared to the competition).

    Really, that's it. I want to be able to choose, *really* choose, and replace whatever components I want.

  77. Adam White

    RE: Enough of the anti Microsoft rubbish, the register!

    I agree. The whole bundling of non-removable car sound systems thing is a massive ripoff. If you want better sound you used to be able to get the system of your choice from the local shop and plug it in, nowdays you need to purchase a whole new model car and you're still limited to the two or three different sound systems the manufacturer offers. Bastards.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Fair play

    It seems fair that Microsoft would offer this version and this one only. The court has not shown itself to be pro-competition, more anti-Microsoft. Their points about daily fines and a lack of surety about the eventual outcome of this case seem genuine. The first page I visit, on every install, is getfirefox.com, yet I don't feel that Microsoft is unfairly inhibiting competition by not including Firefox with their OS. Similarly, I don't feel there is inhibition of competition when I need custom motor mounts to put an engine in a car from a different manufacturer - it's essential to the car, and these days a browser is *almost* essential to a computer.

    The kangaroo court gets its wish, an OS stripped of essential functionality in the spirit of "fair play" and every browser developer gets to feel like their own special flower. Isn't that nice?

  79. J 3
    IT Angle

    Browser not important?

    Some are asking why all the fuss over the browser, specially when it is given for free...

    Good question, which just proves you have no clue (neither do I, but that's the point). If the free browser does not matter, why then has MS been so desperate to keep control of that market (market that, by the way, they've been steadily losing EVEN given their OS position of power to ship it by default), for so many years? Do they like to waste money? Do they want to give a browser to the masses just out of the goodness of their hearts? (whomever believes that must also believe Apple users "think different" [sic?]) And why are the other browser makers trying to get the market? Bragging rights?

  80. Charles Manning

    Just like working to rule

    In the 80's British Rail was brought to its knees by workers working to rule.

    Same deal here. MS delivers exactly what EU asks for, but doesn't deliver what they want.

  81. Christian Berger Silver badge

    If they actually would want to do something for competition

    they would disallow bundling software with PCs, or they would make it mandatory that I can get my PC in a store without any OS pre-installed cheaper than with one already installed.

  82. Michael 28
    Happy

    @Revenue

    So if Windows 7 tanks, they can blame the EU????

    Nice pre-emptive strike by the lawyers.

    This might be a pyrrhic victory if everyone starts switching to ARM processors in 2010 or sooner.

    Customer is king.

    A lot will be sticking with XP . There may be architecture changes that may cause them to switch to.. something else, but I think MS is really painting itself into a corner.Obama's pissed at 'em for not paying taxes, EU for being anticompetitive...

    @ Linux fanbois : Yes, I agree with the fact that you don't (currently) have a choice in paying the MS tax. So do something about it. Lobby your MP for tax breaks for barebones pc's ,make sure every company scheme (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Computer_Initiative) includes a wide choice of O.S(ses) and hardware. Gradually the likes of dell et al will see the light .

    Import directly if you have to... maybe even set up a charity if your company recycles its computers abroad.(outside the EU).

    I like choice.

    Which is why MS shouldn't be allowed th shoot themselves in BOTH feet.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leave 'em alone!

    I cannot see the problem, confirmed Linux/Apple fanboi and I thnk this reeks! MS should be allowed to ship what they like! If people really want a broken, half-baked O/S with absolutley no future, retro-fitted with the most awful backwards compatability API botches known to developer kind, then let 'em buy it! Seriously though, what is the fuss about, the average user will use it to get to Hotmail, Google Mail, Youtube,MySpace and Facebook. Occasionally they may visit Amazon or look up the travel news on the BBC, so do they really need all the choice to do such simple things? IE, busted and awful as it is, should suffice for 90% of the averages users out there.

    @surferking - Not necessarily that people are too stupid, but they don't have time to find alterntives. I know bucketloads about IT, but tell me to go out and buy a lawnmover or a some other form of power tool and I will spend 20 mins on the B&Q site and then buy the 2nd cheapest one! Not because I am stupid, but becuase it is not a priority to find the best thing for the job and I simply have better things to do with my time, like finding a better browser! LOL!

  84. Ben Bradley
    Jobs Horns

    Read this!

    How come the Democratic Peoples Republic Of Apple aren't forced to remove safari and itunes?

    The only reason Safari has like a 3% browser share is because it's bundled with OS X. Noone would actually choose to download it.

    Just install Firefox, everyone knows it's the best.

  85. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    The EU is fighting the wrong war

    They need to stop MS from forcing OEMs to bundle Windows in the first place.

    All PC's should ship with a pre-installed trial of Windows which needs to be activated via a credit card charge within 30 days. Users are already used to having to activate so it wont be any more of an inconvenience than they have now.

    Smart oems would also pre-install Ubuntu or Suse and give people the option of choosing that with a choice of either supported (please enter credit card details here . . ) or free modes.

    I've no doubt that Microsoft would still get the majority of activations, but at least users would be getting a choice as to what to install, and a fair indication of what they are actually paying for.

    The fact that this does not happen is the main basis for all the MS hate out there. If myself and others were not forced to purchase windows then we most likely wouldn't give a toss about the latest craptacular output coming from Redmond and the MS folk would be the target of FAR LESS hatred from computer folk

  86. Neil Greatorex
    Stop

    I think I've seen it all now

    The shills are out this weekend.

    Count the number of posts above that use a car analogy.

    Count the number of posts above that use Apple + Safari.

    Count the number of posts above that use Opera = European.

    Moderatrix on a weekend off?

  87. Fred 24

    Ubuntu offered as alternative

    Since windows is proving so much hassle, the manufacturers should simply either install Firefox as they slip the machines into the boxes before dispatch or install Ubuntu.

    The solution is an utter no-brainer.

    There are hardly any windows users left that I know off, so all this drum banging is attention seeking of a business in disgrace.

  88. Sasquatch
    Dead Vulture

    Still waiting for someone....

    ...to tell me why the hell any company should be forced to distribute a competitors product. Anyone? Maybe the author? I assume you hit your word count before you got to that bit.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so many stupid people

    MS's non browser OS is not a realistic option you twits.

    Its an excuse for MS to get away with what they have been doing and to keep doing it.

    And I like IE, and really hate the others.

  90. Simon Painter

    When?

    When will everyone in the IT industry realise that people just don't give a flying fuck what browser they use?

    They also don't really care what OS they use. They buy a computer and to them it's a package of hardware and software that does a bunch of stuff. Arguing which OS or browser is best is like telling Joe Sixpack he should buy one DVD player over the other because it has a certain chip in it that is better than the other one, so long as it plays DVDs he won't give a toss. Technically superior means nothing to most people so long as it does what it says on the can.

  91. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    Pointless

    People who don't use alternative browsers don't need alternative browsers.

    People who do use alternative browsers know that IE is a dog.

    Telling people about alternatives is part of what I call "Job Security" and I'm thankful of it.

  92. Trevor Watt

    @ suntoucher

    "Microsoft should have the right to provide whatever software it likes on it's product. Much as a car producer can use it's own engines and not have to provide a selection of motors from various companys."

    Actually it would be like buying a car and being told it comes with Microsoft software running the ECU, and you have no choice about this as they have the monopoly. But then you also have to have a Microsoft radio, dashboard, etc., because Microsoft won't sell the ECU software without including all the other bits.

    The reality is of course there is not really a real-world comparison with cars or anything else for that matter because Microsoft's monopoly is so complete. The only thing I can think of is if you had to buy your electrical appliances from the power supply company you use, and even that comparison is not good.

  93. alain williams Silver badge

    @Should let people select which *OS*, not which Browser

    Exactly: the operating system should be unbundled from the hardware. When they buy a machine people should have the choice of what OS to buy and pay the appropriate extra. No OS should be a valid/allowable choice.

    Then MS/xxx should be allowed to supply whatever browser (or anything else) that it wants as part of its OS.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet Explorer is NOT FREE

    Internet Explorer is NOT free, it costs money to develop and maintain

    So ask your self, are you paying for IE within the cost of the OS or are MS giving it away free which is anti competitive.

    IF your paying for IE then I prefer to pay LESS for Windows 7 minus IE 8 and choose my own Web Browser

    IF its free, then this is clearly Anti Competitive and taking advantage of Microsofts Monopoly.

    Why cant we just get a damn OS that has NOTHING but the core with which to run the Actual program we want and own?

  95. Sooty

    @Rick Damiani

    I think you are mixing up Microsoft Update and Windows update.

    In Vista & winsdows 7 windows update runs as a control panel applet, however to enable Microsoft update, which keeps office etc up to date as well, you must go to the microsoft update website, in internet explorer. It updates the control panel using activex, for some reason this isn't incorporated into the applet.

    the main problem with IE, and media player, is that they aren't really stand alone applications, they are shells that simply a shell that access a lot of the internal windows components, i believe the issue originally was that third partys didn't have access to these components and so needed to recreate them from scratch to compete.

    getting rid of IE doesn't really do anything anymore, as all of the library functions are part of the API now and need to be left in place. for example steam uses a lot of IE fuctionality, and i can't imagine that Valve would be happy if it had to be re-written just to work on windows 7 (although i would be, i hate that it uses IE forcing me to install activex controls that i don't need)

  96. Adam West
    Dead Vulture

    Still waiting

    Like others, Im still waiting for someone to explain to me why any company should be forced to offer its competitors products.

    I notice a lot of the people who have already posted seem to think Microsoft bashing makes them incredibly clever. Maybe one of them could explain, but I doubt it.

    Microsoft doesnt prevent installation of other browsers. If it did, that would be anti-competitive, fair enough. If these other browsers want market share, they need to advertise and be noticeably better(noticeable to the layman, not the tech-savvy) than IE.

    I dislike Microsoft, but I dislike the whining of Opera et al even more.

  97. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Coat

    FFS

    EU : Don't bundle IE with Windows

    MS : Okay, we won't

    What's the problem ?

    Okay, reality is that anyone then buying a PC is rather stuffed if they need to use a browser to get the browser they prefer, but that's not really MS's problem is it ?

    Seems MS are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    As to Fred24's "There are hardly any windows users left that I know off"; that may be true in your world, but I suggest it's just a limited, local view. If it's true then no one has anything to worry about and the whole EU anti-trust anti-MS thing is a pointless waste of time anyway.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sasquatch and others

    It's not about forcing MS to distribute other people's browsers. It's about forcing MS to allow OEMs to deliver systems with other browsers and without IE if they wish.

    o If you buy your legal copy of Windows via retail you'll get IE and no other.

    o If you buy an OEM copy via retail (illegally but common) you may get nothing if that's the way things go.

    o If you buy an OEM copy as part of a preloaded system you'll get what the manufacturer offers and you choose.

    o If you buy your legal copy of Windows by corporate bulk purchase you'll get whatever you negociate with MS, presumably with the option of no browser.

    And, by the way, Apple retail their own systems and get to choose which browser they install. They are in a similar position as Dell or HP and are not forcing the browser choice on another business and don't claim it's integrated into the OS. As far as I know, Apple solution resellers are free to delete or add browsers as they wish.

  99. John Fielder
    Thumb Down

    Win 7

    correct me if I am but both Linux and OSX come with browsers already installed in the setup.

    MS have already (in Vista) removed update from IE.

    Are the EU going to start on Apple and the variety of Linux distrubutions next, or is this another pick on MS and ignore everyone else who behaves just as badly?

  100. Aaron 6

    Oh I can see it now

    Just wait for the support call's to customers ISP's they have a new pc and a new router wanting to get online, the router is configured by a web interface only (netgear for example). PC has no web browser and the customer doesn't know this. So the poor support guy end up struggling with a Newbie angry shouting customer saying the kits all new why should he have to go elsewhere to use the internet to get a download file or borrow another persons computer etc.

    Oh what about web configured devices for offline environments or home plug's/wireless access points/NAS devices I can list more and more.

    While I dont use IE out of preference myself having a browser you know for almost certain is on a pc when talking to a newbie customer who struggles using a mouse and keyboard is a godsend at times.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My 2 cents

    I want MS forced to release all OEMs from their "You *must* ship MS as the OS" contracts. Why can't I buy the Dell/Mesh/HP/Whatever that I like without an OS? Why should OEMs be forced into a position where they have to offer alternatives on worse hardware, limit their numbers, not promote them AND STILL pay for a Windows license? (e.g. Dell and it's Ubuntu experiment)

    I want IE gone from my OS, and that includes all sub-systems. AutoUpdate and what-have-you should comply to an open standard and allow any browser/widget to (a bit like repositories do in the Linux world).

    I want MS forced by law to ensure that is fully implements and supports open standards. I further want it forced forced by law to now extend and destroy said standards. Such sanctions are only needed because MS has shown itself to be incapable to engaging with standards.

    I want the (probably MS paid) morons who go "Why isn't Apple...", "Why isn't Linux...." lined up against a wall and pelted with eggs by pissed off customers until they see sense. Go look up the word M-O-N-O-P-O-L-Y you eejits.

    And those that incorrectly try to use a car analogy should have Hummer parked on their genitalia until the realise that an OS is not a car (and that Linux is not an OS either).

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Divorce application from function

    Why not include a set of icons/menu options for certain functions (browser, email) then when first selected get a set of applications to choose from, this is then installed and set as default. Subsequent use of icon/menu will launch application. Could also have "direct" launching to allow specific application but now the user simply launches a browser/email/news reader without needing to worry too much about which application.

    This does have downsides but many users really don't care, they want to just do something and don't care how it's done.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other option

    The option for those wanting a machine without an OS included...Just build it yourself and stop moaning. Companies such as Dell are selling a package to their customers that will come in a box ready to be plugged in, registered and used.

    If you really don't want to be forced into buying an OS, build the machine yourself and then you aren't restricted to the Hardware manufacturers that Dell etc use either.

    It's a fact that the layman would rather just have Windows installed. They are used to this and it is what they expect. No matter what you may say Linux is NOT better for the layman. The best Operating Systems for the non-tech users are OS X and Windows XP/Vista/7 because they are both simple to use, and widely supported. Also they are very similar in terms of how you use them (from the point of the non-tech people I am referring to).

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - 11:18

    "If you really don't want to be forced into buying an OS, build the machine yourself and then you aren't restricted to the Hardware manufacturers that Dell etc use either."

    Err...not really an option at all. Where does one get warranty support in the event of a failure? One doesn't get much/any if one DIYs.

    I'd rather buy a "hardware package" and fiddle with the software myself. A bit like I can buy a DVD play and play any DVD I choose (EMI, Universal etc, I am not forced into one film-house). But all OEMs are forced to sell only MS as the OS, or have nothing from MS. That is, IMHO, anti-competitive (and if it's not illegal, it should be).

    If I don't like Dell's hardware, I can go to HP, Alien, whomever. But I am still FORCED to buy MS or forgo any hardware support. That's just STUPID.

    "It's a fact that the layman would rather just have Windows installed."

    They layman does not give two shits, only techies care. The layman just wants to read their mails, watch their vids. End of. They don't care what the OS is as they probably doesn't even know what an OS *is*!

    "No matter what you may say Linux is NOT better for the layman. The best Operating Systems.."

    And neither do you it seems. Linux is ***NOT*** an OS.

  105. Simon B
    Stop

    Windows C and Windows N

    Windows C comes without calculator and Windows N comes with out notepad, just to help more people with dummys on the move!

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12:06

    That's a little pedantic, you know what I meant by the use of the word Linux. Perhaps I should have mentioned a specific such as Ubuntu (Which is the only one i've used and find it great for when I need quick access to the net/emails on the move for my laptop).

    When I say they would rather have windows, I mean they would rather that because it is what they are used to and it gets the job done in a familiar way. Not because Windows is "better"

    In the same way most people are also used to MS Office and it's file extensions.

    A lot of people don't understand the different between ODF .Doc etc, but due to their past experiences they just expect .doc (or .docx) to be the standard and most of them expect MS Office to be available to them.

    I agree with your point about being able to go to a range of companies for hardware, very valid.

    If OEMS are forced to sell their machines with a MS OS then yes that is wrong, but not all companies seem to be forced into this as Dell do offter Ubuntu at the moment with quite a few of their systems.

    I think this is a very good thing, but it should be explained to them what will and won't work under each OS. That includes being told that OpenOffice will do everything that MS Office does, but they should also be aware of the different file extensions.

    I've told people I know to use OpenOffice instead of paying for MS Office and they find it great, the rest just obtain MS Office via other avenues. But they must remember to save with the correct file extension if they want to open their files at work.

    I do seem to remember reading about some way of claiming back some money if you do not want to use the Windows License that comes with your machine, but i'm not sure how it works or in which countries.

    I personally have a Dell Laptop (XPS M1530) and run Windows Vista and Ubuntu. Vista as my main OS when doing work and Ubuntu when I want to quickly boot up and check emails or get online when out and about, because Vista takes so much longer.

    The Ubuntu install went without a hiccup but required some fiddling to get the Intel WiFi card working.

  107. Neil Greatorex
    Thumb Up

    @ AC 15th June 2009 12:06

    "But I am still FORCED to buy MS or forgo any hardware support. That's just STUPID."

    Not so, try Novatech. I've been buying what Microsoft, laughably, calls "Naked PCs" for years.

  108. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    @ Darren Tuffs

    >>> OEMs have had the option to install different browsers since the word go, they have never been tied to IE, but they choose to leave IE as the default browser, Why? Because that’s what the end users are expecting, if they wish to change their mind then go right ahead and install whatever takes your fancy.

    Err, no. They do that because Microsoft tells them, in no uncertain terms, that Windows goes on their PCs with IE, the whole IE, and nothing but IE. Part of this current bunfight is to fix that - and give alternatives a chance to compete on a fair basis.

    And to all the clueless f***wits saying that the EU asked for Windows without IE - actually no they didn't. What they have said is that they want MS to stop their practice of actively keeping competition out of the market. It may be that having a browserless OS is an option (but wouldn't work if all the OEMs then install IE and nothing else), or it may be that Windows has to ship with an easy way of installing alternatives, we'll see before long what gets decided.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - 12:30

    "A lot of people don't understand the different between ODF .Doc etc, but due to their past experiences they just expect .doc (or .docx) to be the standard and most of them expect MS Office to be available to them."

    And with apps that follow open stanards, they still don't need to. Double-click and it opens. Job done. In fact, on most end-user Windows system they won't even know there is a file extension as it is hidden.

    "not all companies seem to be forced into this as Dell do offter Ubuntu at the moment with quite a few of their systems."

    Only lower-end system, not marketed, restricted to a certain volume, you are still forced to pay MS tax on these too. Thus it is still anti-competitive IMHO.

    "But they must remember to save with the correct file extension if they want to open their files at work."

    If everyone followed open standards, this would be a non-issue. Apps will generally save back in the format they were opened, so if you edit a .doc in OO it remains a .doc.

    "I do seem to remember reading about some way of claiming back some money if you do not want to use the Windows License that comes with your machine, but i'm not sure how it works or in which countries."

    Urban legend. Well, it might be there in writing but very, very few people have managed to claim it as MS put up as many barriers as possible.

    @Neil - Novatech. Thanks!

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Double the amount of the previous fine, then asset it on an hourly basis.

    Oh, and make it retroactive to the time at which MS informed the OEMs of their plans. This isn't a reasonable interpretation of the intended outcome of the courts, and is a high handed slap at the law as well. Smackdown time has come.

    I like free markets, MS isn't playing in one.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @SImon

    There already is an easy way of installing alternatives by going to the appropriate website and downloading any browser you wish. I really don't see why MS need to make it any simpler than that?

    Personally I don't care what browser people use, I would just prefer that it is one that supports transparencies on PNG files ;-)

    i.e Any modern browser, not IE6 or FF2

    That is currently one of the biggest problems for website designers. People sticking to ancient browsers because they prefer the button layout in IE6 to IE7/8. For people I know who still use IE6 for the button layout I point them towards Firefox.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @For the inevitable flood of Wintards and MS shills...

    Oh dear. That was a very biased post and most points there are moot.

    Microsoft make the OS, therefore they should have the right to include *whatever* the f*** they want on their own OS. If we, the customers, didn't like what was on it then we would choose something else. Unfortunately the 'competition' is lacking here but that is not Microsoft's fault. Not at all.

    However, I would soon kick up a fuss if Windows STOPPED me from installing Opera/Firefox/etc. Clearly this isn't the case.

  113. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    since no-one will read down this far...

    I'd just like to wave and say "Hello Mum!"

  114. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    I would love to see a Poll on this

    I'm only half-way done reading the comments ... many very good points on both sides of this issue.

    This would make for a great poll with reasonable choices (such as, but not limited to):

    1. Should MS offer only minimal initial internet connectivity and let users fend for themselves to find a browser

    2. Should MS offer "Step 2, select a browser"

    3. Should MS offer IE as the default browser w/ 'advice' as to how to select a different one ?

    etc.

    I would be very interested in which ways this forum were leaning in a quantifiable way.

    Paris: My trouser of choice.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Convicted Monopolist

    I know that we have hundreds of legal experts reading these forums, because they keep reminding us that Microsoft is a Convicted Monopolist, but I have a few questions about that that I've never seen answered.

    Presumably there was a day when Microsoft didn't have a monopoly? On what date did it change from not a monopoly to a monopoly? If you don't know the exact date, then the month, or even the year would do. According to the hundreds of legal experts posting here, some of Microsofts behaviours were only illegal after that date, so it's kind of weird that the actual date isn't more widely known, especially by all the legal experts that post on theses forums.

    Secondly, who was responsible for notifying Microsoft that certain actions would no longer be legal after a particular date, and when did they actually deliver that notification? Ex post facto laws are generally frowned on in Western Democracies, as I'm sure all these legal experts know, so punishment for behaviour that wasn't illegal when the behaviour occurred is problematic, to say the least.

    Actually, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that these hundreds of legal experts are nearly as ignorant about the law as they are about computers. They apparently don't know that Windows Update on Windows Visa or Windows 7 doesn't require Internet Explorer, or that you don't need a browser to download a browser - there's a command line FTP client in Windows.

    But this is really an excellent example of the willingness of supposedly technical people to allow their emotions to make up their minds for them - their blind hatred of Microsoft is clearly the only justification they need to support ANY action against that company. The simple fact is that 99% of all copies Windows sold in the EU will be sold by OEMs, who can install any browser they like, or through corporate licenses. OEMs are likely to make that choice based on the expected cost of supporting that choice. Corporates choose IE because it's the only browser that supports "out of the box" transparent single sign-on and support for Group Policies. (Apparently, Microsoft talks to it's customers, and they consider that kind of thing important).

    If the EU wants to change the browsing behaviour of private citizens, it should be dealing with the OEMs, not with Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't sell PCs, and very few end users by Operating Systems - they buy fully configured PCs.

  116. James Butler

    Let 'em ...

    Microsoft already knows that a browser-less OS will sell squat.

    Microsoft, knowing this full well, offers to slice its own throat by attempting to sell a browser-less OS in the EU.

    I say, let 'em.

    The sooner we can transition away from a Microsoft-centric computing realm the better.

    What the EC should actually do is this:

    1) Take Microsoft's offer and accept no other. No alternatives. Just N and E versions. And Microsoft doesn't get to withdraw the offer, later. They said that's what they wanted ... give it to 'em.

    2) Provide $100M (or whatever the Euro equivalent is) for promoting the next top 4 browsers and media players by market share, including lots of push to tell folks exactly how to use MSIE to download those apps. The EC could get reimbursed in part from the browser/player manufacturers by allowing the manufacturers to use their advertising dollars for the purpose.

    3) Provide another $100M (ibid.) for promoting the next top 4 operating systems by market share, including lots of push to tell folks exactly which retailers offer OEM installations of the non-Windows OSs. The EC could get reimbursed in part from the OEMs who offer alternatives to Windows by allowing them to use their advertising budgets for the purpose.

    4) See where the chips fall.

    If Microsoft goes out of business, well then that's just what most of us expect to happen once they lose their iron fist position over the OEMs. If the E and N versions of Microsoft don't cut it, at least newbies will know how and where to find alternatives, having been over-saturated with the advertisements. Non-MSIE browser manufacturers and OEMs who do not want to offer Microsoft products will benefit from the promotional push, and all of us will get closer to discovering how the public REALLY feels about Microsoft products.

    Win-win-win: Consumers get choice; non-Microsoft companies get a push; and Microsoft gets the result they should expect ... to look like complete fools who would cut off their nose to spite their face.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Hello gullible posters

    I cannot believe so many have fallen for the confidence trick.

    The fear part of FUD.

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    More concerns and a bit to AC @ 17:25

    Those of us of an age might remember a time when every branded computer had its own OS and files and these did not talk very nicely to each other.

    MS DOS tended to be way out on a limb at higher end of price range with lots of other computers doing similar stuff at much lower prices. Why, when and how MS became the OS to have I don't really know but I think in populist terms it was when Windows 3 went to Windows 95 with OS/2 almost knocking Windows 95 off the shelf - but it didn't.

    The more worrying aspects are Euro MPs, accountability and motivation.

    I along with some others voted for a gaggle of prospective Euro MPs.

    Out of that gaggle that each voted for some might have or might not have been selected and the final gaggle of elected Euro MPs was based on proportion of votes that political parties received.

    1 - I conclude that accountability of elected Euro MPs is direct to party that they represent BUT! they are supposed to represent us (that is the voter) by regional sense. Euro MPs do not represent parties, they do represent geographical regions. Nomination by a party is not a guarantee of Euro MP placement. Euro MP placement is determined by proportion of votes cast.

    2 - who is my Euro MP? (I don't know)

    3 - how do i contact my Euro MP (I don't know)

    4 - is my Euro MP or are my Euro MPs accountable to the electorate or accountable to political party that funded their nomination (it looks as if primary and only accountability is to party)

    5 - what did your Euro MP vote for?

    6 - what did your Euro MP vote against? (My answers to 5 and 6 = I don't know and I don't know how to find out)

    Interim conclusion:

    There ain't no public accountability associated with Euro MPs.

    7 - what are the motivating factors by Euro MPs on the browser theme (I am inclined to conclude that they will vote where there is the greatest financial return for them as individuals as public accountability is minimal, party accountability is not declared and party management seems to be: hey dood! take the muni while you can - this gravy train is not going to last forever so grab the cash quickly before audit terms are brought into the public arena)

    8 - what are your Euro MPs expenses (they do not want to tell us and voted against public accountability)

    I'd guess that our cousins over the pond can only wonder at our European upper class excesses with lack of scrutiny and public accountability. Hey ho - that is Europe for you.

    Conclude:

    It really is better for MS to whistle innocently while faced with such ridiculous upfrontery.

    Challengers to MS IE seem to effect change by lobbying Euro MPs (the public seems to have voted with its hard earned cash and to our (harrumph) elected (?) members that is just not good enough as everyone knows Euro MPs know best?

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC Re Convicted Monopolist

    Hello fellow AC

    It is NOT having a Monopoly that is the crime, it is ABUSING that Monopoly to leverage the market favour itself and destroy all competition.

    the main US case establishing this kicked off in 1998, and included faked video testimony to the court, where Microsoft provided tape that purported to show Windows suffering without IE, and it turned out that "Junior Staff got it wrong"

    The list of offences is quite large, putting code in to stop competitor's products, having better APIs for internal use compared to what they provided "partners", buying out rather than innovate and breaching patents,

    .

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @ AC Posted Monday 15th June 2009 17:25 GMT

    Read this, it'll get you up to speed.

    http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes the right question needs to be asked...

    Has any government agency went to MS and said: Hello can you do anything to uphold your monopoly that makes it easy to avoid abusing such a monopoly?

    Part of me wonders if the term "monopoly" is not misleading as there are quite a few OSs out there but people (as in consumers) exert preference in a way that monopolises one OS?

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    BTW: cabal of Euro MPs?

    The more I dwell upon it the more I am concerned about a cabal of Euro MPs doing stuff.

    They seem to act without regard to the electorate?

  123. glenn 3

    FFS

    It's a bloody rediculous scenario TBH. If people are not happy with Windows shipping with IE and WMP then go and fucking install an alternative - there are enough about, most alternatives give you a a blindingly obvious "SET AS DEFAULT......." option at time of install so MS isn't preventing the user making a choice.

    At the end of the day if you don't like Windows or want feature x, y and z excluding why don't you piss off and find an alternative, and leave the millions of content users to just get on with using their pc in peace.

    I don't give 2 flyings fucks about Linux, Unix, OS X etc etc, I don't use them and will not use them for the foreseeable future, I use Winows through choice - it does for what I need a pc to do, and out of the box (till the bloody EU rear their ugly heads) provides a suitably complete feature set to get a new pc up and running.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 15/06/09 17:25

    Your assertion that at one point in it's history Microsoft did not have a monopoly is absolutely correct. In answer to the next part of your question, Friday 5th November 1999 is when Microsoft were convicted by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the case The United States v. Microsoft. The charge, brought against Microsoft by the USDOJ and 20 other States, was that they did wilfully abuse a monopoly position on Intel-based personal computers in its handling of operating system sales and web browser sales. Although they appealed the decision, they were only partially successful as the appeal court ruled that the terms of the conviction still stood, however the punishment was to be less severe.

    As for your second point. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they behave within the confines of law. The same applies to businesses. Ultimately, the responsibility was with Microsoft's counsel. There is no "expo facto" law making going on here. Microsoft were judged to be abusing a monopoly as defined by law in its actions prior to judgement. This is a very basic principle of law and is quite a simple fundament of living as part of a society, and it's quite worrying that you don't understand this notion.

    You could have answered your own questions by using a search engine, like Google or Bing. http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm is the official findings of the court.

    Microsoft claimed in the DOJ case that Internet Explorer was an integral part of the OS (in this case 98 to XP) and was needed to deliver security updates, but you know that, don't you? The question is, other than to leverage dominance on the browser market, why tie the update delivery system to a web browser? No other OS delivers updates in this manner. I'm sure that most posting here are well aware of the modification of the update system in Windows - those misfortunate enough to have Vista foisted on them are all too aware. The question is if MSIE is no longer required for updates, then why can I not completely remove MSIE from Windows (using the Programs and Features function merely reverts to MSIE 6)?

    Personally, this is nothing to do with "hatred", and frankly I find your accusation as childish as Microsoft proposed actions. Grow up. It is about a company that continually ride rough-shod over competitors, irrespective of size, to maintain a market dominance and stifle competition. The end result? The consumer get a raw deal. As for corporates - if Microsoft made MSIE more standards compliant and more secure, then the need for Group Policy. As for "transparent single sign-on", since that is handled largely by the back-end, your point is irrelevant, and corporates are not Microsoft only customers - you'd do well to remember that.

  125. Schroeder Washere

    Wow, four days and the MS Astroturfers are still deperately trying to flood this with misinformation

    I see they've slipped back to AC too, though I think I can guess the 'identity' of pair of them.

    Such nicely written posts too. Surely if you have the brains to write so clearly and know the law around Monopolies so much better than the rest of The Register's readership, then you must surely be aware of the increasing number of anti-trust suits Microsoft keep loosing. Especially the one started by Department Of Justice and a number of American States. You know, the one that was going to see them split into separate OS and Applications companies, to kill off this problem once and for all? Took a change of government for them to wriggle out of that one, didn't it?

    For those who really don't know, I suggest you visit the excellent groklaw.org, and have a look in their archives for the material from that case that ended up being released as part of the later Comes v Microsoft Trial. It really does lay to bed any idea that Microsoft would ever entertain a level playing field in anything they dip their claws into. The video of Bill Gates testimony is well worth a watch if you can get hold of it.

    So Microsoft allows OEMs to install any browser they like? Oh really? Just like they've allowed netbook manufacturers to install any OS they like? If it was genuine zealot blindness on part of those posters, it might be funny, but as its paid astrotufing, it really is a sad indication of the mess we currently find ourselves in.

    As for that particular poster that bangs on about 'group policies' and 'transparent single sign-on' - perhaps you can answer this? Is it simply because Microsoft extended an open standard to ensure no-one else could be compatible or because they won't publish the complete Windows API for others to work with? But then you probably have the same irrational hate of SAMBA as you do for Opera and the EU.

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets dump the USA OS and use a Euro/Global one

    Lets dump the USA OS and use a European/Global one.

    MS are performing misdirection in their trick, or following the letter, but not the spirit of the punishment/remedial action given to them.

    Lets cut the chains of being enslaved by a closed unreliable OS, and use a free open one.

    As someone pointed out, the population of the USA is only 307M, in Europe 731M, in China 1300M

    Until GNU/Linux gets more popular, it is at several disadvantages (often unnecessary):

    some hardware manufacturers do not provide drivers or information to write them;

    although games use hardly any of the operating system (directly), games are not provided in OpenGL format and compiled for Linux;

    the chances of (free) technical support (from friends, neighbours, and colleagues) are less...

    What is the best market leveller? For everything sold in the EU: To insist that hardware either comes with a driver, or documentation to write one. To insist that user data is saved in an open standard or properly documented format, so it has a long life and the best tool can be used on it.

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