back to article EC rejects Microsoft's browser promises

The European Commission seems unimpressed with Microsoft's chest-beating - the company said yesterday it would release versions of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer in order to comply with EC competition law. The Commission has rejected Microsoft's pre-emptive move, announced yesterday, to give computer manufacturers the …

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  1. a person

    The problem isn't IE ...

    The problem is the difficulty in getting a computer without Windows in the first place.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pffft

    Microsoft are never going to win are they. Will these whiners never be happy? I personally WANT Internet Explorer included with my windows installation, saves me having to download it myself.

    I have to test websites in all the major browsers anyway.

    I suppose the only way to make these people happy is to have an option during the installation of which browser(s) to install...But then the question is which ones are included. Also if Microsoft are forced to do this then Apple should be too.

  3. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Down

    Baaaaawwwww

    "The Statement of Objections outlined concerns that Internet Explorer enjoyed "an artificial distribution advantage""

    And when MS offer to nullify that advantage by removing IE from Windows, they still won't stop whining. Twats.

  4. Tom 15

    Good

    Good on the EU...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Yay?

    Serves the EU bloody right. Rather than wasting a gross amount of time and money in a stupid lawsuit they should have channelled their efforts into actually educating consumers; which is really what this is all about.

  6. Jason D
    Gates Halo

    Oh come on...

    The EU were upset that Microsoft shipped Vista with IE included, and now that 7 is coming out without IE, they're upset?

    Personally, I feel that, large as they are and a fairly obvious monopoly with regards to OS etc, Microsoft do not have to bundle 7 with other browsers for more competition. What sane company would do that? "Oh, you've bought a PS3, which as you know has Bluray, don't forget to use the extra HDDVD drive too."

    Before people contrast my above point, I know the EU is mainly upset about the software and not expensive hardware, but it seems like the EU really has gone too far with their vague idea of what should happen, just for Microsoft to get a fine...

    What next, will EU Win7 need to be preinstalled with IE7, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome, ooh, why not the old Netscape, and other Linux flavour browsers? Talk about opening your computer up to vunerabilities from all browsers...

  7. Andy 17
    Thumb Down

    A step too far..

    This is now getting very petty and sounds more like a chest beating exercise by the EU. Just why exactly should MS offer it's competitors products bundled with its own software?

    When I bought my new car I didnt get offered a choice of other manufacturers engines to go in it(although I would also be pretty pissed off to discover that the car didn't actually come with an engine).

    This whole thing is now utter nonsense and a monumental waste of everybody's time, money and resources. Surely the EU have more important things to do besides bollocksing up MS latest offerings.

  8. Chris Harries
    Stop

    Lets call the effing WWAAAAMMBALANCE

    Oh yeah, have it without IE and everyone uses Firefox, with the amount of flaws being released for Firefox Vs IE (Firefox is winning at the minute with more flaws) how much worse it is going to be? Plus once more average users jump on the skins and plugins world, installing code which has ALL kinds of nasty shit in it, everyone will turn on Firefox saying how bad it is.

    It comes down to too many dumb users, all using the same program, one flaw and BOOM HEADSHOT.

    I'm not saying IE is brilliant...LOL not a fucking chance...but this is all BS

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Answer me this

    Why is it so important to the EU that Microsoft offer alternate browsers when no one has any problem downloading their browser of choice?

    Will someone explain it to me with a reason that actually matters considering that any decent browser is free and can easily be downloaded and installed?

    The EU should be more interested in making sure they release a decent product that isn't bloated, buggy, crippled, full of DRM and full of security holes.

    Not this irrelevant bullshit, what a waste of time.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @hmm...

    I'm usually very pro EU, but they seem to have it wrong here - the general thrust of what I have read coming out of the EU recently is break MS, make it easier for others to compete, then as soon as MS make a pre-emptive move to ease competition (surely what is really wanted, I can't imagine they want to take MS to court each time they think that something isn't quite right) they get criticised. Odd.

  11. abigsmurf

    EC have lost it

    So now Microsoft are required to include Internet explorer now? Removing IE puts it on an equal pegging with other browsers. This is incredibly idiotic from the EC and shows up just how stupid this whole investigation is.

    I don't want my PCs bloated up with 10 different browsers, I don't want the installation process for Windows to take 3 times as long because I have to choose between 10 or so different text editors, paint programs, browsers, calculators etc.

  12. The Original Ash

    Without a web browser...

    ... How do you download an alternative web browser?

    Does windows ship with an ftp client?

  13. Matt 110
    Thumb Down

    Idiots

    That is all.

  14. BoldMan

    Previosu commenters are missing the point...

    Its not that EC don't want IE on their windows machine it that they want the CHOICE of browsers to be available on all machines, so the PC comes with IE, FF, Opera and Safari already installed so they are all on an equal footing as far as distribution and public accessibility is concerned.

    NO, MS will NEVER win if they insist on making things more difficult for people and not listening to the decision made by law makers.

  15. Andrew 57
    Stop

    title required

    Cue the "But doesn't mac come with safari?!11!" comments. There's already 2 verging on it.

    People, grow up. The key is in the article - monopoly companies have extra oversight and legal responsibilities, and for a good reason. While the US seems happy to allow a consortium of big businesses to run government policy, we here in the EU have tended to prefer things like consumer protection, fair markets, etc.

    While Milton Friedman may not like it, Milton Friedman's theories don't work.

    Grow a set and realise that the market needs regulated.

    And then realise that regulations without the teeth to enforce them are pointless, and companies thinking they are the law, or that they can pre-empt the law, are why regulation is needed.

  16. Dave Horn

    But what about...

    If Windows is provided sans-browser, how is one supposed to get onto the internet to download Firefox / IE / Chrome etc in the first place?

    I said years ago, with Vista, that all MS needed to do is offer a choice between browsers at installation. If I pick, say, Firefox, the installer will dash off to get the latest version and seamlessly install it behind the scenes.

  17. aldude
    Flame

    EC = fail

    It's time for the EC to drop this crap - people have a choice of browser, aren't they freely downloadable on the internet (using IE)? If people don't bother to do that, surely that's the fault of the alternative browser makers for not punting their benefits (if any) well enough?

    Offering a choice of browser with Win 7 is daft - a load of out of date browsers sound like a security nightmare, and surely the list will only be a selection of the range of browsers out there, so someone else will soon kick up a fuss.

    Finally, whatever daft behaviour should be imposed on other distributions such as OS X and Linux - one rule for all is only fair.

    IE for Linux FTW!

  18. Allan Rutland
    Unhappy

    So the big question is...

    Where the hell do we buy our OEM Win7 US licenses now? since no way in hell are we going to sell this European crap version.

    The EC is nothing but a bunch of money grabbing wastes of space. Frankly this is going to do nothing but annoy people...but as others have said, why is this solely about MS? I want a Mac with no Quicktime, no Safari, and no iTunes as thats a captive market to Apples own stores...hell its even more captive than anything MS has done but nope, no one bats an eyelid.

  19. Alex T
    Paris Hilton

    @the 'whiner' babies

    @AC "Will these whiners never be happy? " & @Toastan Buttar "they still won't stop whining. Twats."

    -- Any old excuse to bash the EU, eh! :rolleyes:

    The simple facts are that MS *does* have a distribution advantage, and IE is (was?) tightly linked to the OS.

    The way to solve this _isn't_ to remove IE entirely leaving users without a browser (and the suggestion is a huge dick move on MS's part). To solve it fairly they need to:

    a) decouple IE from the OS so it can be removed entirely without side-effects

    b) distribute Windows with a few browser builds, allowing users to select IE / FireFox / Opera, etc. as and when they want.

    Paris, because blonde and dumb

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Either way is fine by me...

    Since Microsoft bulldozed their way into the browser garden and then left it to overgrow, anything that either offers people more choice or else leaves it all up to the user is better than being saddled with IE.

    Finally a way to reduce the huge amount of wasted effort from countless thousands of developers who have to work around the many annoying IE flaws (or at least a way to kick Microsoft up the arse to sort their pish browser out).

    I'd vote to have Lynx and Links, wget and curl installed by default.

  21. Smarty Pants
    Unhappy

    ? Que

    For the love of the flying spaghetti monster (PBHNA)

    fined for putting ie in windows

    so they remove it

    and will get slated for that

    but if they put FF/Chrome/whatever in all the punters of web browsers would bay for blood

    What a bunch of tossers

  22. Thomas 3 Silver badge

    @Anonymous Coward

    This has nothing to do with Apple, as is obvious if you bother to read the article rather than skipping straight to the comments page to post your prejudices. I suggest in particular you read this bit:

    "Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to its operating system broke EC law on abuse of a dominant position - you're allowed to monopolise an industry in the EC, but being in that position brings special responsibilities."

    Do Apple have a dominant position in the operating system market? Is the browser market substantially affected by Apple's decision to bundle Safari with OS X? The same rule applies to all parties: you may not take advantage of a dominant position to distort competition. Apple are subject to that just like Microsoft are, but are not currently distorting competition. And my understanding of general legal principles is that legislators tend not to pursue parties on account of believing they probably would do something illegal if they had the opportunity.

  23. TheAxMan
    Dead Vulture

    The EU Is Dead Wrong Here

    1. There should be a statute of limitation on this nonsense. When the Netscape-IE wars started *15* years ago, they should have said something. Now, with Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari all doing well they decide to take action? Sounds lke a trip to the ATM to me.

    2. It's staggeringly unfair that they can force Microsoft to include an option to install various browsers. If they contend that bundling IE gives it an unfair advantage, then MS removing IE from Windows negates that advantage.

    3. A browser is a *required* feature in a consumer OS. Nobody wants to buy a computer and then have to start with installing a browser. That being the case, the 'browser market' is an aftermarket (like car stereos - your car comes with a stereo -- but you can always put in a different one if you so choose).

    4. Firefox's success on the desktop and Opera's success on mobiles shows that the pie is big enough for everyone to get a slice. If Opera wants a bigger slice, they need to compete harder. I have never seen one single advertisment (on the net, or in print) for Opera. They are relatively absent from conferences. They don't work with OEMs to present a business case for having their browser pre-installed. If you want the market share, you gotta be prepared to take the effort.

    5. Users can always install the browser of their choice and make it the default. Who cares if the trident engine is still on your machine and used to display .chm files? How does that make any difference as long as clicking a link always launches the browser of your choice?

    6. OEMs have always been able to pre-install the browser of their choice (or of the users choice). If they don't do that, it just means that there's no business justification/user demand. Users might not be demanding it because most of them simply don't care and those that do can and will just install the browser of their choice anyway.

    The EU commission is simply dead wrong. 100% dead wrong. I've not read any statements from them that indicate that they are taking these actions on behalf of consumers -- and that's who antitrust law (or competition law as I believe it's called in Europe) is supposed to look out for! Never mind the fact that economists themselves don't necessarily agree that antitrust law is required for free markets to function. For example, consider this article by Milton Friedman: http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v21n2/friedman.html

    Peace out.

  24. N2 Silver badge

    Typical EU duffers

    I dont have a problem with IE being bundled with Windows, even if there are better alternatives out there. The real issue (to me) is the fact that IE & Explorer are bound at the waist, or is Windows in for some major surgery here?

    By the same ruling OSx be devoid of Safari? or any other OS shipped minus a browser?

    How daft.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A Person

    That's as easy as...well...building it yourself...Numnuts.

    This argument is just ridiculous. They moan that MS have IE included, which is totally fair as it's their OS that they sell. So they remove it, and they still moan claiming that MS should offer a choice of competing companies browsers. What a load of horseshit, I personally want a Ferrari, costing the price of a Daewoo, with a lambo engine, jaguar ride quality and honda reliability...But the fuckers at Vauxhall have refused to do this for me...Why the hell not? Oh that's right, because a corporate organisation has the right to sell their own product without a government body coming along and forcing them to sell products made by smaller, less successful and failing companies without the marketing budget or common sense to make their product successful on their own.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    wont be happy until windows is distributed without windows

    The EC wont be happy until Microsoft release a copy of Windows that comes with the option of installing another OS as part of the installer!

    The new installer...

    STEP 1:

    "I know you have just bought a copy of Win7 limited F**k all European edition, but would you like it to install linux, osx or bobs home brew OS in its place?

    STEP 2:

    "Here is a direcory the size of the yellow pages now please choose which browser, calculator and notepad software you would like"

    STEP 3:

    "Click here to print out the entire codebase of Windows to your local printer for your review"

    Even after that the EC would realise the cash has stopped flowing in so it would be time to after them for something else

    "EC vs. MS - monoply of the use of the colour blue in the company logo"

    "until MS comply please send 1 billion euros to the EC"

    Tossers...

    penguin: because he has a rounded head for easy insertion into the EC commisioners ar5e!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    MS can't win...

    ...the whole thing was about it being bundled. The unbundled and they are moaning saying they want it bundled, but with extra stuff as well...

    F**king farce.....

    I think they are just short of cash, so when MS release 7 they can go "aaahhh but you should bundle a browser, that'll be another €50billion please....Kerrrching...

  28. Chris Dickens
    Thumb Down

    How?

    If there is no browser included with the OS how are we supposed to download the one we want?

    And are the idiots involved in this "ruling" doing something of use to consumers, really. With everything else that's going on I'm sure they could waste their time in more productive ways.

    For example, my car comes with an exhaust - there are plenty of after-market ones I *could* buy but don't because the one it comes with does the job. Should Peugeot give me the option of telling them which company I want to supply various parts when I bought the car? How is this any different?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Remove calculator as well

    The next step is to force Microsoft to remove the calculator application from Window, this is obviously suppressing the market for calculator applications and preventing users from choosing their own calculator. The same goes for textpad, and while they are at it why should we be forced to use the windows file system, it would be perfectly possible to allow users to choose from the file systems of different vendors.

  30. Tzael

    *chuckles*

    This really will be to Microsoft's advantage - afterall the EU can't have it both ways. If they say that Microsoft's bundling of IE with Windows was anti-competitive then Microsoft's willingness to sell Windows without IE should suffice. On the other hand if the EU are saying "no no, we didn't mean that we don't want you to bundle IE with Windows" then Microsoft can point out that being fined for bundling software with Windows is wrong.

    As far as I'm concerned the bundling of applications with an operating system is of benefit to the consumer. If it's fine for makers of Linux distros to choose which third-party apps they bundle, if it's fine for Apple to bundle their own brand apps with OS X, then surely it's fine for Microsoft to bundle their choice of supported apps with their operating system? That's a rhetorical question for those considering a response...

  31. marc 9
    Thumb Down

    Another EU power trip

    Firefox has demonstrated that there is competition in the browser market. Google, a search engine used by the vast majority of internet users, prominently displays a chrome icon on its home page. There isn't much different to Microsoft prominently displaying an IE icon on their Windows desktop.

    As for opera, there's a reason why no one uses that browser, it's crap!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bulsh*t EU Court People

    Of course they are not happy. If they concede this point they can no longer waste tax payers money on a pointless law suit that is biased against microsoft. Since they are not holding apple to the same standard this bulls**t case should be dismissed immediately. It's not like any of the money they fine microsoft makes it back to the tax payer.

    If I where Microsoft I would simply cease distribution of all the next versions MS software in Europe. if business want to "CHOOSE" to buy it they can import it from the US where they will get better pricing and the bloody EU can keep there sticky waste of space fingers out of it.

    I am sure once they cannot harrass MS they will just find someone else..... Mozzilla perhaps, they are trying to dominate the market so why don't they stop them before it happens as opposed to suing them after

  33. slack
    Paris Hilton

    Huh?

    My company has been Microsoft free for a couple of years, I reject their business practices as much as the next guy but I can't see the point in forcing them to offer browser options.

    If they want to bundle (and waste money developing) IE let them have at it. It was a shiatty browser last time I looked, I don't presume it has improved since then.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    N choices vs 2 choices

    So Microsoft doesn't want you to have a choice of browser, it wants the choice to be between 2 things:

    An OS without browser.

    or

    An OS with Internet Explorer as it's browser.

    The ISV's and PC makers, don't get to sell a PC with OS+Firefox for example, or OS+Safari, or OS+Choice of Firefox or IE.... and you aren't allowed to make the choice either. Because if you opted for the browserless OS, how would you get to the website of the alternate browsers?

    So really they are offering only ONE choice, get IE and they're doing it in a scamming slimy misleading way to make it appear like a free choice. No doubt their turfers will be along shortly to mislead further.

  35. Jason Pugh
    Thumb Down

    Oh, FFS!

    Well the one thing the EU seem to be a doing a good job of winning here is the honour of being regarded in greater contempt than MS - Way to Go. I don't normally resort to bad language in comment posts, but it's hard to better Toastan Buttar's eloquent comment above: Twats.

  36. TheAxMan
    Alert

    Grr..

    *apologies for ranting again*

    The thing that really annoys me is the the way these regulators sit on their high-horse handing down decisions that can actually add so much cost and complexity to the process (for selling computers) -- and ultimately these costs get passed on to the consumer. They are totally not being consumer advocates here.

    For example, who will decide what browsers get offered in the ballot screen option?

    What criteria will be used for this decision?

    What criteria will be used to maintain eligibility for this ballot screen? This is important because, for example, suppose today browser XYZ is eligible/selected - they might do a terrible job of keeping their browser current or maybe they do a great job of that, but are insecure as hell -- does microsoft still have to offer that browser as an option?

    Who does the testing of this eligibility criteria?

    What wil be the updating mechanism for these browsers? Will they integrate with Windows Update or will they each do their own ad-hoc thing? (which would mean that Safari, for example will eventually install Quicktime on your machine.. other browsers might try similar stuff)

    Will these other browsers respect the default search engine, etc. that the user selects? If I set my search engine to bing, will Chrome try to reset it to Google every time it updates itself?

    Will these browsers even give me a choice of search engines, or will they all just have Google as their default (thus using the Windows OS monopoly to perpetuate Google's search monopoly)?

    None of this makes any sense at all. Removing IE from windows is bad enough. Forcing MS to add multiple browser choices is consumer-hostile at best.

  37. Justabloke 1
    Thumb Down

    Marquis

    I have to say I'm with MS on this one.. they never seem to be able to win regardless of what they do.

    The fact is that whether IE is included or not people have always had a choice and the other *really* important point in all this is (it seems to me anyway) that the vast majoirty of people don't give a stuff about which browser they use, they just wanna surf the net and download stuff. The ones that do give a stuff are running an alternative... again it seems to me that this is a ruling looking for a problem to solve.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IE for my iPhone?

    Where can I download IE for my iPhone? It only come with Safari, i've got no choice there...

    I wish these EU cock suckers would piss off. I like the fact that windows has everything, if I want something else I'll go download it.

    I also like the fact that my iPhone has a browser that works quite happily, but if we are going to be anal about it then the iPhone interface is way worse that windows. Why doesn't the iPhone support Flash or Silverlight? Maybe that would be because you could write apps that bypass the app store...

    Why do people who don't have a clue have to keep sticking their noese in?

  39. Pooka
    Paris Hilton

    Errrr....

    Ok... so the computer comes preinstalled with IE, which I run once to download Firefox (except for this work laptop 'cus they won't let me install a better browser.). I buy a new Windows 7 box and it doesn't come with IE, so I can't get to the website to download IE, or for that matter, Firefox.

    I guess I better remember to download it before I do a reinstall....

    Paris - because she's as baffled as I am.....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    A cunning plan....

    ....so you provide an OS without a web browser, how do you get the browser then? Oh yeah, download it...wait a minute!

  41. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    If they do not like the fines, they could obey the law

    Microsoft broke the law and caused a lot of damage. If they get fined for their activities, either tax payers will not have to contribute so much to the EU, or the EU will have a bigger budget. Either way, most people do not end up ahead because of all the problems caused by Microsoft's defective browser.

    If Microsoft wanted to make me happy, they would have to start obeying the laws that apply to near monopolies (Laws intended to prevent businesses from being able to compete with governments). I cannot see it happening. If Microsoft tried to compete on meritt, they would be a very small company within five years.

  42. Dan 10
    Thumb Down

    @Pffft

    If MS remove the browser entirely, HOW does Joe user download it? USB stick in a different machine at a friends house? Command line FTP from the new machine? Don't make me laugh! I accept that YOU could find a way quite easily, but that's not the market Windows machines are aimed at. The only solution is to allow a choice of browser at installation or configuration, rather than none at all.

    Oh, and how should Apple be forced to do the same? With their still-niche laptops and desktops, or with their phones that play in a VERY competitive market?

  43. Equilar
    Gates Horns

    M$

    If IE isnt included in winblows then alot of sites will not be able to be accessed, including product activation and updates. Windows explorer is build on the same code as IE so what will happen when you navigate to a URL within explorer? Im guessing it will be BSOD as that seems to be the answer for any problem that comes up for M$.

    Also with the monopoly that IE has, so many websites will only work through IE. Yet IE is the most hacked browser!

    Id love to see a law suit win against M$, one big enough to change how they do buisness.

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they can't give a choice of browser

    because they are not responsible for maintaining them. Would providing an installer for netscape with windows be acceptable, after all that's what started all of this? (or firefox 3.5 when the latest version is firefox 6)

    The only browser that Microsoft can supply and keep up to date is their own, even an online installer has to assume that the paths it has won't change. The other alternative is to host the other browsers themselves or maintain up to date links, which would mean spending money to directly promote competitors.

    This wouldn't have been much of an issue if they were just providing the other browsers as a coutesy, but now it's all about satisfying lawyers, they aren't going to take any chances.

  46. Adam Salisbury
    Alert

    I guess I'll be the first...

    I guess I'll be the first to say WHO THE FCUK CARES!?!?! No-one makes money from developing web browsers or media players, or at least I've never had to part pennies for one so who cares if they've got a monoploy? It's a monopoly on a non-revenue generating market.

    All this ruling's going to acheive is adding far more bloatware to an already massive piece of bloatware!! 10 out of 10 for the clever, albeit dodgy, way Europe's going to get out the downturn using fines levied against MS.

    Does anyone, in any government, have the foggiest idea what IT even is??

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Who services the additional browsers?

    So let's say we have a choice of browsers and these browsers are on the installation media. What happens when there are security vulnerabilities in those browsers? Do Microsoft update them before giving the user the choice? And how do you get to be on the list? Think of all the malware / badware browsers that could suddenly want to be on the list.

    And how do ISVs even begun to deal with this? The cost of additional validation testing required will far exceed the revenues of Opera.

  48. Stephen Channell
    Coat

    Where’s the choice.. when you can’t get to a download site

    nice try by Microsoft.. Windows without a browser would have difficulty downloading FireFox (ftp is really not practical).. but this Windows version would be great for locked-down military environment.. but most of us do not use our PCs to run battleships.

    Nobody expects Microsoft to ship Opera/FireFox/Chrome, but vendors should open to bundle a different browser if the want to, safe in the knowledge that some service pack is not going to break the machines.. because MS will do reasonable testing. Time was when you could get Netscape bundles with Win95.. now you can’t even get a Scandinavian Windows with Opera.

  49. Ian 11

    Microsoft is in the right.

    Sorry but the EC are a bunch of fucking idiots on this.

    They ask for more browsers to be bundled with Windows but how do you choose which? If you keep it to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, IE there's still alot of smaller browsers left out. If you don't include those then they will simply lose all hope of gaining ground on the "big" browsers who are then placed in a position of having an unfair advantage.

    Then what about the fact Mac OSX, Linux and UNIX flavours don't supply browser choice? Why is it only anti-competitive if Microsoft forces their browser on someone but not Apple?

    Why do we even care about this when IE is losing ground anyway even though it's bundled and competition is rife?

    If the EC wants perfect fairness then removing browsers altogether from Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix is the only way to do it, but now that Microsoft is doing this they've realised it's a pretty stupid idea.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    No to OEM

    Put an end to OEM hell with a ban on bundling of generic software and hardware products.

  51. John70

    @The Orginal Ash

    "... How do you download an alternative web browser?

    Does windows ship with an ftp client"

    It does....

    Open a Command Prompt and type FTP. There is no clicky pointy stuff. All manual typing.

  52. John70

    Here is a question?

    How many computers/servers in the EC offices run some version of Windows?

    How many of these computers/servers running Windows have alternative browsers installed?

    What would happen if Microsoft decided to say "Windows is no longer available to buy in the European Union. People from the EU must now buy Windows direct from Redmond"?

  53. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Linux

    Why should they comply?!

    Why should MS be forced to strip IE out, it's MS's product, they not demanding Firefox be shipped with IE plugins. All this cack might have been relevant when it was obvious they killed NutScrape, but not anymore. Leave them alone for flips sake!

    ( Oh and I hardly ever use Windows these days, devout Mac user with a Penguin fetish on the side to spice it up! )

  54. Jason D
    Boffin

    Ah, I get it now...

    After reading all the comments after my own, I actually forgot that without IE pre-installed, you wouldn't be able to get onto the internet at all...

    A way around this would be for a customer to click on the IE icon on the desktop and for a small window opening up to show links to the latest full download of various browsers, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, et al, and the customer can simply click one to download and install it.

    That way, there's no bias, as long as they do it in alphabetical order, because the EU would complain that 'they placed Internet Explorer at the top of the list'.

    Can't be that hard to code in, but again, Microsoft don't have to advertise other competitors products, you don't see Apple advertising alternate OS for Macs, do you?

    Do Apple Macs automatically come installed with Safari, can someone help on this?

    Although Apple isn't as large as Microsoft in regards to the OS market, surely they may fall under the same 'artificial distribution advantage' for all Macs sold.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EC wants in Microsoft's back pocket

    By removing IE from the Windows7 bundle this allows computer builders to install any browser they wish to install on the Windows 7 systems they build. The EC got exactly what they requested, an OS without specific ties to any browser. They didn't expect this to happen. They thought MS would be forced to offer a variety of browsers on the installation discs or face a stiff fine. The EC is trying to protect European browser company Opera from the IE wolf. Opera was looking for a cheap way to distribute their browser.

    By removing any browser from future EU operating system offerings, over time the dominance of IE will shrink. As older Windows systems are replaced, the market share in browsers will shrink. Further protectionist moves by EC in this browser battle could be viewed as simply looking to fine MS into submissiveness. It appears that the EC wants to dictate how MS is to be run.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fiscal Crisis? Sue MS?

    A proprietary browser on a proprietary OS seems reasonable to me.

    But I suppose in these harsh economic times any income stream is a good one hence sue MS?

  57. CorpusCani

    Uhm...

    Personally I can't see a problem with what MS were offering to do anyway... Win7 without the IE GUI (not getting into what goes on under the bonnet) - saying "We'll not put IE on" is FINE.

    MS don't sell computers it should be up to the OEMs to decide which browsers they want to pre-install - you'll still get a computer with a browser, just that it might not be IE (Google could pay PC World a wodge to install Chrome for instance).

    The only people who'd be affected by the unbundling of IE would be PC self-builders (like me) who might have to download a browser from another PC (work, library, whatever) or get one on a disk; not exactly a huge hardship.

    ----

    Then what about the fact Mac OSX, Linux and UNIX flavours don't supply browser choice? Why is it only anti-competitive if Microsoft forces their browser on someone but not Apple?

    ----

    And for the 10,000,000th time to everyone who's posted something like the above:

    MICROSOFT ARE A DOMINANT MONOPOLY - DIFFERENT RULES APPLY

    Now write that on the blackboard 1000 times until you get it

  58. Chris Miller

    In reality

    What will happen is that the OEMs (be it HP, Dell or the corner shop) will provide a box with the 'browserless' version of Windows plus a browser they've chosen to install. The folks in the corner shop may be happy to offer you a choice, but I can't see the big boys wanting to maintain umpteen different builds.

  59. Lewis Mettler 1
    Go

    Microsoft insists on screwing the consumer

    Clearly Microsoft wants to screw consumers. Remember that Microsoft suggests:

    Force everyone to buy IE.

    Or, two, no brower at all.

    The EU is not suggesting either. That is from Microsoft.

    The best solution will be a group of download scrips that permit individual consumers to download a browser of their choice ( or all of them ) either from free or a reasonable fee. Of course Microsoft would never suggest that because it would permit the consumer to decide. And Microsoft is dead against that.

    Just look at all the comments saying "I want this or that". Fine, but Microsoft never suggested that you can get what you want. It is only suggesting that you get nothing at all or are forced to buy IE.

    As it turns out, the EU Commission is the only party here that is trying to give the consumer a choice. Microsoft clearly hates that idea. Microsoft insists upon screwing the consumer. The EU wants to give the consumer a choice.

    A choice can be provided. Not buy bundling them all but by including download scrips for each of the common browsers. All ten of them if necessary. Some are free. Some with a reasonable payment. Then the individual consumer can choose. Not the OEM manipulated by Microsoft. The consumer. And only the consumer.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want Windows with Firefox

    So I want Windows with Firefox as my browser, does the Microsoft option allow that?

    No.

    It lets me have either Windows with FireFox with Internet Explorer, or Windows, no browser. They don't let the computer maker add Firefox in place of Internet Explorer, they don't even let them offer a choice of Internet Explorer or Firefox. Without a browser I can't get to the Firefox download site so the browserless version is worthless.

    So this is a scam, a game from Microsoft design to grab headlines and look like an offer when it is the same old games from the same old company.

  61. Chika
    Gates Horns

    Can't get a PC without Windows?

    Odd, that.

    So I build them myself. That way I don't have to worry about paying MS Tax. Plenty of folks out there that will do it for you too, if you don't have the savvy to do it.

  62. The BigYin

    @Andy 17

    Wrong analogy. No one car manufacturer has 96% of the world market and so that comparison bansed on abuse of a monopolistic position really can't be done. But if you did try, it would go something like this:

    No car manufacturer insists that you use its parts (you can get pattern part) or its petrol (do Ford make petrol? No) or that its cars can only run on roads that it has built (unlike MS products, all cars are "standards compliant" in that they call conform to the same sets of rules and pass the same safety tests).

    Oh, and car manufacturers often do use competitors engines/chassis/etc as it make economic sense to do so.

  63. Mike Gravgaard

    Microsoft's problem

    Afternoon,

    The problem here isn't Microsoft removing their browser (i.e deleteing the file but still being available to install). It's that you don't get a choice - you need to install a browser to get a browser and IE is always available in the background and never triely removed.

    What Microsoft should do is play ball? i.e work with the EU and just have a main alternative browsers available on installation - they could work with the other browser makers and make a download system (like wget or apt) which allow downloading from a Microsoft site?? - they could also make the update service (the Windows Update service) fetch the browsers' install files from their website.

    The truth is, Microsoft don't want to include other browsers and this is why the EU is angry about it - after all Microsoft has a monopoly and aren't really playing ball (hitting a ball sometimes isn't playing ball all the time).

    ... and all thoose people talking about cars without stereos or engines - if when you bought the car, the sales man would have to give you a list of options. The truth is Microsoft is a monopoly (Royal Mail have the same type of system with British post where they have to help sort other postal systems post).

    Hope this makes sense.

  64. Tone
    Coat

    Doh.. How would I download a browser..

    The OEM would supply a browser on their PC.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Microsoft insists on screwing the consumer Lewis Mettler 1

    The customer already has that choice, they can install any browser they want. And no one is forced to "buy" IE, it is free, as are most other browsers.

    All this might have been relevent quite some years back when the browser market was developing but now it has developed and browsers are something you get with the operating system, if you don't want it you use a different one, for free, because they are all free.

    The rest of the world has moved on, Microsoft shouldn't be run into the ground because of this, if you want a reason to have a go at microsoft, then choose one from the pile, but this particular reason is outdated and no longer relevant.

  66. Red Bren
    Joke

    @John70

    "There is no clicky pointy stuff. All manual typing."

    Manual typing?!! Oh the humanity!!!

  67. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    @ dudeskinn (and all the other whiners)

    I've never read such a pile of "hey, I've completely lost the plot" postings. Does no-one actually read anything ?

    To those that want to use IE - fine, use it. That's not what the case is about.

    To those saying no-one has lost money by not giving away their browser for free - that's irrelevant.

    But just think back a bit. Most people now are used to things like ... ohh lets see ... tabbed browsing. Notice how keen Microsoft was to add this to IE when they had 90+% market share ? No ? Perhaps that's because they didn't.

    What Microsoft DID do was to bully OEMs along the lines of "Don't install any other browsers, don't remove the IE icon, or we'll switch off your PC business". The results is that virtually every PC shipped with IE which had several effects :

    1) Non-techy users buy PC, "internet" is an icon on the desktop, and they have no idea that any other option exists. Thus zero opportunity for other vendors to compete.

    2) By having this "IE on every desktop" situation, it meant that MS could introduce their own standards - ie MS HTML is NOT the same as HTML from anyone else.

    3) This is done deliberately to make life "difficult" (to a greater or lesser extent) for anyone using a server or client that isn't from MS.

    4) Because of this, alternative browsers with better technology struggle to get accepted. IE had an easy ride and MS can sit back for a decade and do f***-all development on it safe in the knowledge that no matter how bad it is, people will still be using it.

    The EU have two things to consider.

    First, how to punish Microsoft for their past criminal activity. That's what the fine is for.

    Second is how to fix the current situation. The main things is to prevent any continuing advantage from such practices as having IE and ONLY IE on almost all new PCs. If Granny gets her new PC and find a choice - she can ask grandson/nephew/whoever she looks to for support for advice, or she can try them and see which she prefers. If she prefers IE then that's fine, she's had the choice and the other browsers have had the opportunity to compete.

    The aim of course is to have a competitive environment where a product does well because it's a good product rather than because there isn't any other option. In that environment, things advance because people will come out with new ideas - and if they are good then they'll get adopted.

    The other factor is that without a near complete monopoly, any single vendor can't dictate the standards. If IE only had a 50% market share then we wouldn't have discussions about "web site <x> doesn't work with <non-IE browser>" - the discussions would be along the lines of "IE doesn't work with website <y>" and Microsoft would be forced to work properly with common standards.

    It's a bit like ... when out driving you can pull into any petrol station and buy fuel. You don't have to find "Ford compatible" or "Peugeot compatible" or "Volkswagon compatible" fuel - you can buy any "standard" diesel and your diesel car will run on it. You should be able to browse using any choice of standards compliant browser (just like you can choose any 'standard' make of car) and access any properly built web site (just like using 'standard' fuel).

    And for the numpties that STILL ask "why not Apple & Safari" - well Apple don't have a dominant market position. If Apple try to change the global standard for HTML - then the rest of the world say "**** Off ! Microsoft did it, and the rest of the world ... didn't notice* and let them do it.

    * Apart from those tasks with fixing what it broke.

  68. Bertybassett
    Unhappy

    Anti-competitive

    Folks,

    For the people who keep saying its MS`s OS they can do what they like. No they cant. They are a monopoly. Monoplies are not allowed to do what they like, they are restricted by law to protect the consumer. i.e. you. And for those who keep mentioning Mac and linux. Dont apple and linux do not have a monopoly on computers. Joe bloggs goes to PCworld and buys a Winbox the world over. Generally they might be aware of apple but wont touch it when they see the price and find out the latest and greatest game doesnt run on it (easily), they would not ever know what Redhat,debian etc are.

    SO the question is what damage does MS do by supplying IE by default. That depends on your feelings towards IE. IF you know what your talking about your using an alternative which is less then 20% of the market. So MS owns 70% consertatively, which your probably agree is quite a lot. So average joe has a winbox with IE by default and may have AV protection, but possibly not. Start discussing malware with them and they are straight into nursery status. SO basically you have a sched load of vunerable pcs which go wrong, then the tech savvy get a call form there parents siblings etc. Hey my pcs stopped working/doing funny things. You go round and see how the latest and greatest IE vuln and trashed there box.

    Is that a problem? yes, it is. As MS with its dominance let the browser marker go wild so did the end users problems go up. Competition makes companies improve things as with have seen with MS`s latest work following firefoxs abrupt intrusion. Anything that forces the (illegal) market leader to improve there software is a good thing in my book.

    IE should be treated like Opera, Firefox.. You have to download/bundle it to run it. Perhaps a cut down browser(or crippled) could be included like Mosaic which allows you to view a browser list hosted by a third party, which includes a list of all popular browsers only. E.g. a new browser would need to achieve 5% of market share before it went on the popular list, so as to not confuse consumers too much. so a list may have, IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc. each would have a short list of features and merits including independant security ratings. You could download all of them if you chose. IE should be completely independant of Windows and vice versa, as FF,Opera etc are.

    my 50 pence...

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Andrew 57

    'Cue the "But doesn't mac come with safari?!11!" comments. There's already 2 verging on it.'

    Are you trying to suggest that Apple are not a monopoly? Let's see what choice of OS do I get on a new mac, What choice of browser do I get on an iPhone, what software can I install on my iPhone without Apples approval, what software is sold via apples store without their approval?

    Stop being a dick and realise that with MS you at least have the options (if not always the mental capacity) to install or uninstall any browser (or other software) that you like. It's YOUR decision what you install or uninstall - if you wanted to be locked to proprietry crap then sure go ahead and buy a mac and be forced to run only the software that you are deemed worthy of running.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Choice?

    wtf, you MS bashers want MS to either bundle all the browsers with the OS or pre-install scripts to be able to download the browser. So then what? Win 7 releases, millions of DVD's get cut and then the day after I release my own browser and demand that MS recall Windows 7 and bundle mine. Get a f*cking grip. If I wanted my life to be taken up with installing all the piss arsey apps neccessary for me do do my job and go get a linux distro and then spen the next 6 weeks trying to find anythign useful.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't care as long as EU doesn't screw up my US version

    Since the EU is so smart, I guess there next step is to take over Microsoft since they want to control everything. Only an idiot would force a company to provide another companies product. Also, all you folks out there concerned about no browser, they said the OEMs would provide it, and if you buy a boxed version you can get one with or without a browser.

    I say don't sell Windows in EU countries and give the EC the finger, it might save them money and at least then they can provide the US versions with alot more in the OS for free which is what I want. I want my OS to include everything. Better yet have a EU company create a better OS (you guys have LINUX) if it was better/more userfriendly people would use it.

  72. mariushm
    Thumb Down

    Not enough

    Microsoft should be forced to sell in Europe ONLY the version without Media Player and Internet Explorer.

    If they're not forced, it will happen just like the previous version without Media Player, which in theory exists but they were virtually nowhere to be found in shops.

    The MS choice to ship without a browser is the option that fits them best. They know that most people who will buy this version will try to install it, see that they don't have any browser, go back to the store and pay extra for another version, because they're too lazy.

    It's not that hard to implement something if they really want to, and you don't really need a web browser to download something.

    For example, small application can be built to read a RSS feed or a XML file from a Microsoft server containing the most popular 5-10 web browsers at that time and two 2-3 HTTP or FTP download links for each entry.

    You don't need a whole web browser to download a web browser, because the application giving you the choices to download the browser doesn't have to use a rendering engine to display a selection of browsers or to transfer a file through FTP.

    If for some reason MS will get their way to ship without any browser, open source can fight by shipping free CDs to manufacturers and to anyone that wants to, just like Ubuntu did.

    CDs are cheap nowadays, it probably costs more to ship them than manufacturing them.

  73. Rich Harding
    Thumb Up

    @Simon Hobson

    Great post, Simon.

    The majority of the rest of the contributors are either economically illiterate or doing a very good job of pretending to be.

  74. Anthony 13
    Thumb Down

    Re: N choices vs 2 choices

    OEMs CAN choose to bundle any combination of other software products they wish. Dell customers frequently find a bunch of pre-installed crud. So if an OEM wants to goes out and reach a distribution agreement with Mozilla they can. IF MS acted in a way that stopped an OEM from bundling a browser (e.g. price penalties), the EU would actually have a reasonable case.

    And for these people wanting MS to bundle every browser; Monopoly or not, there is no way any company should ever have to pay for the distribution of a competitor's product. If anyone can think of an example of a time this has ever happened (in any industry) I would be very curious to hear it!

  75. Psymon
    Gates Halo

    Would I buy an IE-free version of windows for my corporate network?

    Not a chance.

    Opera/Firefox/Safari et al may be fine for the consumer market, but they are less than useless and completely insecure when it comes to a corporate network environment.

    I'm sure most of those who are overjoyed to hear this news are the same as the idiot users I have to bitch-slap when they ask if they can have firefox on one of my machines.

    The IE various engines (connectivity, shell and HTML rendering) aren't just closely tied into the OS of the desktop your morosely dribble in front of for 8 hours a day, they are tightly integrated most parts of the network environment.

    From Group policy Management, alongside every other aspect of the windows environment I can specify the behaviour of every element of IE. Homepage, favourites and proxy are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Allowed/disallowed add-ins, security restrictions on what the user can change, and dozens of other settings can be configured on a per user, per machine, or even internet zone basis directly from the administrative console on the server or my own workstation.

    With the security settings correctly configured, it makes FF look like a trojan.

    And let's not even get into the integrated Kerberos authentication, of which MS has the most advanced (Sorry Unix guys, but it's true - MS are the only ones who have successfully integrated ACLs into Kerberos - and while we're at it, when are you going to finally bring your DNS standards up to date?)

    What astounds me is that to obtain this functionality doesn't require a black magic/voodo knowledge of some ancient scroll tucked away deep down in Bill Gates' underpants drawer.

    It's all part of the well documented standard windows API that developers should have been familiar with by now. Why? Well, the vast majority of these structures and protocols have been around for nearly 20 years.

    If you stored your software configuration settings in the right place of the dammed registry, we sysadmins could write our own administrative templates, allowing us to correctly manage your software within our own network.

    But no, not Mozilla. They like to party like it's 1989 with config files stored in the local profile (not even in the roaming profile for pity's sake, so the proxy settings reset everytime a user logs into a different machine!)

    To top it off, they thought it would be a work of genius if they created a subfolder within that profile folder with a randomly generated name. Well done, Einstein. That means you can't even write a simple batch file to copy a profile onto the machine during logon.

    Don't even get me started on centralised security update management!

    And why is it everytime Firefox updates itself it loses all my bookmarks? Do you think my MD would be happy if he came in one morning to find all his links wiped? After all, when it comes to IT he needs his arse wiped - I don't think he's been making backups of his favs. That's why they're redirected to be stored on a regularly backed up server.

    </RANT>

    Yes, 15 years ago the EU had a point. Unfortunately when it comes to an international corporate environment, Mozilla Google and Opera have catastrophically missed the point. This is the real reason for the heavy skew toward IE in the global browser stats.

    Even during the 5 years of stagnation between IE6 and 7, Mozilla failed to make any inroads into the corporate market, and have remained clueless why to this day.

    IE dominance is not the fault of Microsoft, it's the systemic incompetence of the competition.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    And round and round we go again...

    The shills are out in force today! This is fucking boring now. Microsoft are serial monopolists and behave in an anti competitive manner. Their proposed course of action is petulant and childish. Here is the problem you absolute bunch of idiots.

    From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927177

    Step 1: Uninstall Internet Explorer 7

    1. Click Start, and then click Run.

    2. In the Open box, type appwiz.cpl, and then click OK. It may take several seconds for your computer to compile a list of programs.

    3. Scroll down through the list and click Windows Internet Explorer 7, and then click Remove.

    Step 2: Verify that Internet Explorer 6 is restored

    1. To verify that Internet Explorer 6 is restored, follow these steps:

    2. Click Start, and then click Run.

    3. In the Open box, type iexplore. Windows Internet Explorer opens.

    4. On the Help menu, click About Internet Explorer. The About Internet Explorer window opens.

    If the Version number begins with 6, you have successfully uninstalled Internet Explorer 7 and restored Internet Explorer 6.

    If this method did not work for you, try method 2.

    I draw your attention to step 2. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. I cannot completely remove IE from Windows. If I want to use Opera exclusively as the browser on MY computer I can't. For you 9 or so retard's that don't understand what a fucking monopoly is, look here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

    It should be about your level. One of you idiots even suggest that Apple abuse their "Mac monopoly" by asking if you can get a Mac with a different OS on it. Can you get a PS3 with a different OS on it? How about a Wii? If IE is so good (developers hat on; it's not), the is market share will remain. Seeing as it's share is on the downward slide month on month (you can go to any one of the myriad web usage sites, and they will show differing shares. ALL show that IE is on downward slide). *If* Apple or Linux-distro-flavour-of-the-week become the monopoly, then I'm sure that they will be measured by the same yardstick.

    After this, I'd like to see the EU announce that ALL their IT will be transferring to an alternative OS.

  77. Britt Johnston
    Go

    friday afternoon remedies

    The commission could address the main problem of monopolies, who try to charge more for their product instead of less. Windows 3.1 was <10% of the cost of PCs. On netbooks that means they should be charging no more than 30$ (+ 3$ for incremental improvements in the last 15 years).

    They could also address the cause of the monopoly, the unpublished APIs in Windows. That probably means taking it away from them and making it open source.

  78. Anthony 3
    Stop

    latest browser

    Can people please stop suggesting that links are provided to the latest browser release, I want a choice. A link to the downloads page will allow me to select both browser and version, that way I don't have to install the one with the ASK toolbar or the AOL branding or one that has become ad supported.

  79. D. M
    Thumb Down

    so many don't get the point

    It is matter of MS doesn't give you a choice. It is simple really, just offer a complete clean remove option of IE. For us who don't touch that crap, we have no choice but leaving IE there even we don't use it. The way MS sees it, either my way or the highway. It deserves what ever come to it.

    A browser to OS is not like engine to a car, far from it. Car requires engine to run, OS does NOT need browser. It is more like GPS these day. If you buy a car, it pre-installed with a crap GPS. You may install a GPS unit of your own choice, but you cannot remove the crap one (otherwise your car won't run properly). Now tell me the car maker hasn't done any wrong.

    This "debate" just shows how hopelessly stupid people are today.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @ CorpusCani

    "And for the 10,000,000th time to everyone who's posted something like the above:

    MICROSOFT ARE A DOMINANT MONOPOLY - DIFFERENT RULES APPLY"

    Heinz have a dominant monopoly in the tomato ketchup market, personally I would like to buy a Heinz bottle of ketchup but have Daddies ketchup inside

  81. HolySmokesAmerika
    Thumb Up

    Easy fix for MS browser issues

    Hmmm. Take tax breaks away and MS will offshore. Take browser competition away and MS will leave you stranded. Seems like only logical choice is to move to Linux now, and not waste another minute on the limitations of this 'management team - with strike through' operating system. Ever again.

  82. JimC

    > Well documented standard APIs?

    ROFL, kicking legs in the air!

  83. John Murgatroyd

    Not more crap

    I think we need a case in court against the EU, it seems to enjoy a monopoly position in continually spouting crap, is undemocratic and just plain totalitarian. I get the feeling that whatever MS decide to do it will be wrong for the EU....

  84. JohnG

    It's the law!

    There was a court case, Microsoft were defended by their own lawyers and lost - they were fined and told to alter their behaviour. They didn't, there was another court case which they also lost - they were told to pay a bigger fine and modify their behaviour. It continues...

    As others have described, this is to do with bundling. The court decided that Microsoft had abused it's monopoly position, particularly given the pressure it could exert on OEMs and resellers to exclude competing applications. Apple don't have the same market share and therefore, don't have the ability to dominate in the same way.

    The EU have not singled out Microsoft - other European companies have been fined for operating cartels or other infringements of trade law. If Microsoft want to sell their products in the EU, they have to abide by the law - not US law, EU law. If a European company decided they could flout US trade law, how long would they be allowed to sell their wares in the US?

  85. Rob Dobs
    Flame

    Karma is a b*tch

    A couple fact points for the various AC's.

    M$ was found GUILTY of Anti-competitive behavior and abusing its monopoly position in the EU courts. (Both in the EU and the US courts to some degree).

    There are a lot of articles covering these abuses right here on this site.

    Apple does not have a monopoly, nor Linux. Further neither of these companies were ever found guilty of abusing a monopoly position. (Though Apple may be at risk with iPod/ITunes in the future).

    Once you are proven in court to have behaved criminally, you loose some of your rights and privileges. This is true in almost all of modern society.

    To those nitpicking about Calculator etc. YES those really should be removed also. If they had not been found guilty so often, and accused even more, M$ would never have had issues about what was in their OS. Since they have proven themselves to be a morally corrupt company, they should be held to a rougher standard, since they have been found GUILTY.

    Does anyone offer a calculator or calendar for M$ anymore? What do they have to gain by offering one, when it is already included on 90% of the machines out there? They have been bad and should not get to profit in ill gotten gains. Make them strip EVERY application out except for the basic functionality of the OS to load and run applications securely. Then maybe we could have a better calculator and calendar in Windows.

    Is the EU fighting against the wind here, maybe somewhat, but I am sure that the OS will be able to connect to the internet out of the box, regardless of how they do it. I am also sure that some good will come of this by expanding competition in the EU marketplace, which in turn will offer more options to the US marketplace.

    The EU and US would have a much more effective change against their monopoly if they just forced government data to be stored and disseminated in a COMPLETELY Open Standard.

    Oh BTW, did I mention that Microsoft was found GUILTY of abusing their monopoly position?

    I did...OK

    GUILTY!

    ps GUILTY!

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Crapware from Redmond

    On Friday 12th June 2009 10:16 GMT, abigsmurf doodled: "I don't want my PCs bloated up with 10 different browsers, I don't want the installation process for Windows to take 3 times as long because I have to choose between 10 or so different text editors, paint programs, browsers, calculators etc."

    Well in that case, pick another fucking operating system.

    Paris icon because she knows a thing or two about making large things fit in a small space

  87. Dan 14
    IT Angle

    the EU are stuck in the past

    I don't really see why IE being part of Windows is a problem in 2009. I myself don't use IE, but I think the natural advancement of how people use computers these days requires an internet browser to be an integral part of the basic setup. Personally I don't see why from a evolutionary technological level Internet Explorer shouldn't be combined with Windows Explorer. A computer without the web is only half a computer these days. Even if IE and WE were one and the same, I'd probably still use Firefox and that's my choice but I don't think it really makes sense to not have web browsing facilities a core component of any OS. It's be sorta like the EU demanding Windows could still be uncoupled from DOS. Any function that becomes totally integral to the way people use computers should eventually end up being a basic function of the OS. Imagine how hard setting up and using a computer would become to a lay person if basic industry advancements of the past 20 years didn't end up being integrated into Windows.

  88. Dunhill
    Stop

    now it is clear

    After reading the responses on the article it is painfully clear that 98% of the pro-ms/anti-eu people have a reading problem, and have almost NO CLUE what is is all about !

    Even when perfectly is explained the WHY, WHAT and the HOW, they continue to point to the same things that are NOT relevant.

    Maybe caused by the [next] [continue] [ok] [accept] buttons that are always flashing around several times.

  89. Jedi Name Germinator
    Gates Halo

    if I were MS...

    .. I'd stop shipping to the EU all together, stop updates, stop selling any piece of software, block any EU country from trying to enter any MS websites (except Bing of course), stop selling Xbox, etc...

    Tell the EU to F-OFF.

    Then Nuke China&India with Windows.

    Not that I love MS or anything; it's just the the EU commission are non-elected W@nk stains...

    Save us Bill, come back.......

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its really simple though

    Slap a label on windows 7 : Not for sale or export to EU. Do the same with processors from Intel (they are under the gun of the eu comission too )

    Then the Europeans can happily develop their own processors, computer architecture and operating system. Europe has what, 200 million inhabitants ? . There should be plenty of smart people in such a large population that can pull this off.

    -slaps forehead- oh wait, i forgot, the smart ones left europe long ago because they had enough of all the nitpicking and overbearingness and government sponsored paycheck raiding.

  91. Bryan W

    Chicken in Egg...

    If 7 ships w/o IE, how does one download FF or Opera?

    MS is evil. They have every right to complain. Who's going to choose the castrated version over the IE version? That's the point.

  92. Tim Groven
    Thumb Down

    So..

    How do they decide which browsers to offer? If I develop one that's crap, can I get it included to make it fair?

  93. Speeder
    Linux

    Choice

    Well with a linux install you do get a choice to what browser you want to install, but also you do get a choice for alot of other software which you want to install. And how hard can it be to make an installer the same way for microsoft. The way to go around it for companies who have to distribute it to there pc's is to use answer file which contain the choices for what to install.

    I think that is the solution to the whole problem.

  94. ulric
    Heart

    Stop asking how to download a browser!!

    Would you boneheads stop asking how to download the browser if you don't already IE installed!!??

    The browsers will be pre-installed by the OEM, just like you DVD codec and your anti-virus trials.

    It just won't be part of Windows, and therefore forced by microsoft onto the OEM.

    Also, Microsoft has said that there will be a separate free CD ROM at the stores to install IE.

  95. kain preacher Silver badge

    Can sone pleas tell me

    How does the fact that I can't uninstall IE prevent me from having a choice of which browser to use ? I use FF e xclusively . This is not a fan boi then I want a serious answer. Not from some that says MS is evil or they hate MS. Next question. If MS is forced to distribute other browser how do you choose which one ? Last question , if one of those browsers has a major flaw in who is responsible for it ? Now you might say well its the browser company. Then there will be others that said its part of what you sold to us. We didn't have choice but to take those browsers.

  96. Justin Clements

    Are some of the readers here a bit thick?

    The reason a box without IE installed is useless, is because no one will buy it. MS are taking the piss out of the EU for coming up with such a solution, and the EU knows it. Its a bit like buying a car with no wheels so that the manufacturer can oblige a regulating body that you can put any wheels on the car.

    As for why people need a choice its because competition is good.

    If there was no competition, we'd all still be using Windows 95. MS wouldn't need to upgrade every few years because there would be no need.

    Same goes for the browser. IE has a built in advantage quite literally, and its distorting the market. Many non techie users do not know that alternatives exist to IE. Techies do of course, but not everyone is a techie.

    Opera have every right to complain as well. Quite a few features have been copied from Opera over the years that has made IE (and the rest better). We need more companies that are able to make these products, not less.

  97. Andrew Williams
    Jobs Horns

    @Psymon

    So, you're a NBMer. So what. Also, IE's dominance is not a function of it being better, but of Microsoft's abuse of their desktop OS market position. Even the US courts found that was a matter of fact. So now the EC has decided to hammer them. Good on them.

    As far as this lame 7 without IE ploy, why don't the Microsoft tossers just actually wait for the EC's ruling and do what the court/regulators tell them is required? Is that too hard? Will they stop making oceans of money regardless of when they release 7?

    I guess Microsoft have got addicted to doing even more stupid things and just love paying the EC hefty fines and then having to act like a frog in a blender "trying to comply" or whatever.

    Life was so much simpler when all Ballmer did was throw chairs and rant about crushing/killing people.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dis-integration

    We're mostly missing the point. IE is quite tightly integrated with Windows, so you can remove the UI but not the engine. Future computing in a kind of cloud will allow (competing) access to OS integration. As long as Microsoft risks dominating that path with 'bundling' of copyright features, their monopoly must continue also into the new age. Solution is to modularize, but that inhibits integration and may be less efficient. Price of open competition? The Commission are 'thinking ahead' and so are Microsoft.

  99. Michael 28

    is it me....

    or is this starting to sound like it was taken from the Daily Mail? Now if I could only install IE on linux....that'd show those dastardly EU forriners...

    http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/how-to-install-internet-explorer-on-linux.html

    oh.. that was easy.

  100. Mark 65

    Whinging pricks

    Will all the EU bashers just shut the fuck up and grow up. Microsoft have been acting like pricks for years and, despite having their bollocks handed to them, are still pissing about acting like spoilt little 5 year olds. They're monopolists. They tied the browser into the OS then abused the position. Can't do that, it's not allowed in the EU. Simple. Play nicely or sod off.

    As for "how are you supposed to download a browser?". Erm how about, as part of the deal, MS are forced to include an app that asks you which browser you wish to install? The EU could state it carries the following options (not necessarily in this order) and without any biassed hard sell...

    1. IE

    2. Firefox

    3. Opera

    4. Safari

    5. <url to download>

    The list could even be downloaded from an EU site as an XML blob etc. Whatever.

    Each of the browser manufacturers would be responsible for nominating and maintaining a fixed URL given to the MS app. User gets choice, user exercises choice.

    Point being, it's not exactly bloody difficult is it?

    As for don't sell Windows 7 in Europe, great. Can we have that in writing? Given only the US and EU pay for the shit best of luck making up the lost sales in the far east. Look forward to the impending Govt support and corporate implosion.

  101. Wortel
    Pirate

    Nobody actually reads the article.

    Funny that.

    No matter how much you bitch and whine about it, the EU case against Microsoft is *not* about Apple, it is *not* about how Joe Schmoe downloads a browser, and it is *not* about money either.

    Why is it not about Apple? Apple has Safari, but lacks the market dominance in any direction to be considered a candidate for a case of anti competitive behaviour.

    Why is it not about Joe Schmoe's ability to download a browser if none is supplied with the OS? Because a simple desktop shortcut to an FTP resource would work too, but if you don't like that, do you want another dozen solutions to this non-problem?

    Why is it not about money? Microsoft sure has plenty of it, and while the fines that have been set upon them (which have *not* been paid by Microsoft so far) are quite large, what else would you suggest punishing a corporate body with for ignoring anti competition laws? Trade ban perhaps? Think about that one.

    Yawn.

  102. Nick Pettefar

    Great Idea!

    Windows 7 should come with a copy of the latest popular browsers and let the user decide. Why not?

    Many Windows users would have no idea how to download a new browser and often no idea what a browser actually is. No, really! I am talking about real everyday normal people. They are not IT literate, not at all. Often there is confusion between what is a browser, word processor and operating system. Whatever is provided is what they will use. These are in the majority!

    As to updates and patches - forget it!

    How they will choose between browsers is unclear to me. Coolest icon, most fashionable colour, best advertising - WHY.

  103. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Linux

    @Jedi Name Germinator

    Yep couldn't agree more!

    Please lets all write to MS and the EU and ask them to do just this, stop selling in the EU! Do us all a favour, then at least we can stand a chance to get some decent kit in the hands of the great unwashed masses!

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