back to article Opera lobby dubs IE ballot screen 'threatening and confusing'

The chief European critic of Microsoft's Windows-IE bundling says the company's proposed web browser ballot screen compromise is a sham, accusing Redmond of packing the screen with "threatening and confusing" questions. The European Commission is well into its anti-trust investigation aimed at curtailing IE integration with …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feck Opera

    No-one cares

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Easy answer...

    ..the EU should dictate that the ballot screen should require one click (or two if they insist on an 'are you sure' popup). On clicking your choice of browser, Windows then downloads and installs the latest version of the chosen browser, sets it as default, and removes access to IE for everything but Windows Update.

    It can then remind users that they can re-set the default browser at any time.

    Of course, it's a bit academic, because until general users get to understand the difference between the browser and Google's home page, Windows and Office (how many times have i heard 'I bought a new laptop and I can't find Word on it'), etc, anything computer based will confuse the hell out of them anyway.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm pretty certain MS could roll over and die and Opera would still whine.

  4. MarkOne

    Do you want to...

    A) Take the easy option, do nothing and keep this browser.

    B) Click lots of buttons and options and wait for something else to download..

    Hmm ok then.....

    Clearly Microsoft are having a good laugh at the expense of the EU antitrust regulators....

    The point of this is not NOT bundle IE by default and make owners have to make an educated choice of browser after being presented impartial information.

    The knock on effect of this, is no longer can everyone assume everyone has IE installed, and therefore has to engineer their software and hardware products to work on ANY web browser. This benefits Opera, Firefox, Safari and everyone....

  5. James Butler
    Jobs Horns


    Ah HA! NOW Microsoft's ridiculous versioning system seems to make sense, I mean ... which would you rather use: version 8 of something or version 3? Looks like it's time for Firefox 12 ...

    (Evil Jobs because it looks more like evil Ballmer, now that Jobs has gone Skeletor on us.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    El Reg really ought to have tagged this page NSFW. I almost lost my dinner when I gazed upon the screenshot.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft rules the world

    Or at least, it wants to, and foisting IE on users also means foisting bing as the default search engine. For this, I am sure that MS will go to any lengths possible to get IE to be the chosen browser.

  8. leftbrainlogic


    I think maybe Opera should design their own OS. I would say based on their constant tantrums they seem to have a fairly good understanding of how one *shouldn't* work. Then jus p*** off with their sub-standard browswer. Does anyone even use browser? I bet if Windows came with Opera as the default browser most people would be compelled to find an alternative. As for Adobe and their advert spam enabling flash... don't even get me started!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Of course there are security warnings.

    1. You're running software downloaded from the internet. Windows has prompted the user with warnings about running software obtained from possibly untrustworthy sources since at least Vista. That prompt hasn't gone away with Win 7 either.

    2. You're installing software. Is there a reasonable OS out there that doesn't make you verify that you really want to install software anymore?

    Maybe there's one or two more standard security warnings about generic internet actions, but of course there are security warnings. As far as I can tell, it's just a generic webpage that has links to some of the other browser "vendors." Maybe it links to outdated install packages. Too bad doesn't work for me.

    It sounds like Opera just wants the EU to force MS to remove IE and preinstall Opera on every Windows PC. But isn't it the OEM's job to decide which browser(s) come preinstalled? The one I'm typing this on came with Chrome as the default. Maybe Opera should try bribing Dell instead of the EU.

  10. spar1grep

    How Sad!

    I really think it is sad that due to somebody's success that governments/busy bodies have to poke there noses in to make sure the smaller people get a crack at the whip. If the 'other' browsers were good enough they would be getting market share. I don't believe for a second it has anything to do with Microsoft squashing the competition, just look at Facebook taking My Space, Google taking Yahoo, iPhone taking Windows Mobile, Apache taking IIS. Jesus you would not expect to be able to put a Renault radio into a Vauxhall so why should governments/busy bodies expect the clear and outright winner to carry extra lead weights so the smaller lower quality product suppliers can play catch up.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite a gang of companies involved

    So this involves the EU, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, Opera and Mozilla, with Apple also getting in a few sly digs along the way, so we'll see how many automaton odd-bod Opera bashers now flood this comments section - about an article about a bloke in the EU and comments from Mozilla...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    STFU Opera

    Omfg Opera = whiniest bunch of kids.

    Your browser fails. get over it.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I'd just like to thank the EC for a full copy of Win 7 for £45

    before the start of the inevitable anti-European diatribe from our friends across the pond.

    I've seen some hilarious flaming on various forums (fora?), most of which ignores the fact that EC customers are actually getting a better deal than those in the US.

  14. leftbrainlogic


    I think Opera should design their own OS. One would imagine, given their constant tantrums, that will have a fairly good understanding of how OSes *shouldn't* work. They should jus p*** off with their sub-standard browser does anyone actually use Opera? I bet if Windows came with Opera as the default browser most people would be compelled to find an alternative. As for Adobe and their advert spam enabling flash... don't even get me started!

  15. dervheid

    let me get this right.

    "Microsoft's envisioned ballot screen would use the IE browser to offer the option of using rival options."

    So, in order to NOT install IE, you have to use, and presumably, therefore, INSTALL IE? Then run the gauntlet of MS 'scare' tactics?


    Chancing fucking bastards.

    Let's just hope that the EU tells them Non.

  16. C Yates

    I can see the way this thread will go...

    ... not that I disagree:

    1) Opera are a bunch of whining b*stards, they want it all their own way etc

    2) M$ can't do right for doing wrong, they do what they're told and then get criticism for how they do it ("its their OS ffs!" ad nauseam)

    3) Comments will start with "rarely do I agree with microsoft, but..."

    LOL the ballot screen seemed fair to me, they *have* to include so many options to be fair to all - they can't just single out their main competitors.

    I'm liking Opera less and less, but kudos to M$ (omg) for making things so amusing =)

  17. Solomon Grundy


    I really, really wish Opera would just go away. Their only claim to fame is MS bashing and it's very annoying.

    The only significant contribution Opera has made to IT is to validate the old saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".

    If Opera had a significant product like IE or Firefox they wouldn't have to be bitching and whining all the time; but they don't. Opera sucks.

    The entire senior management team at Opera should quit their jobs and become lobbyists, that's all they're good at anyway.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Did you hear the one about...

    ... the Opera and the EU?

    I'll get my coat

  19. The Infamous Grouse


    Why don't Opera just accept that the've lost the Windows browser wars, pack up their toys and go home? This is getting tedious, annoying and expensive.

    Nothing, nothing at all, is going to supplant IE as the dominant browser on Windows just as nothing is going to supplant Safari on the current Macs. It's what most people are used to on that platform, it's what they're familiar with from their work environments and it's what they're going to want when they use the same operating system at home.

    Only tech-savvy users, and friends and family of tech-savvy users, will consider anything but the default browser for their given OS regardless of how many hoops they're made to jump through during installation. And if they do choose an alternative, statistics suggest an overwhelming likelihood that it won't be Opera.

    Opera have lost this particular battle, plain and simple. Perhaps too many people remember their trialware and ad-sponsored roots. Perhaps their product just isn't good enough to supplant the competition. They should play to their strengths (Opera Mini is pretty neat if you can ignore the privacy issues) but stop trying to foist their mostly unwanted desktop browser on a market that's proven it generally doesn't need it. Even bloody Chrome has surpassed it in usage share. There's nothing it can offer that can't be obtained elsewhere.

    It's over.

    Dragging into the fray the EU legislators, who would happily legislate on the pungency of farts if it would keep them in 'gainful' employment, is just a desperate move by a desparate company. One for which EU taxpayers are reluctantly footing the bill.

    Go home, Opera. It's not funny any more.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Are you all morons or just highly frustrated nerds?

    Why are people telling Opera to go away and shut up? They haven't said anything in this article, or most of tjhe previous ones where you post the same copy & paste whinging (Oh, the irony).

    It's not even about them, and you completely ignore the references to Mozilla & friends!

    That's how stupid the people against this are. They're the kind of people who used to live in villages and murder travelers passing through because they looked and sounded different to them and it terrified them.

    And as someone said, they're also moaning at the same people who are responsible for Windows 7 being very cheap compared to previous versions.

    If the EU had acted sooner, perhaps Google wouldn't have had to envenomate IE with the Chrome rendering engine in order to make it work like a web browser. Are the same morons moaning that Google have hijacked IE with their plugin? No.

    Opera Software could close down in the morning and there would be the same flood of posts by the same 6 morons telling them to "STFU and go away" - in response to them closing down! never mind acid tests for browsers, the posters here need IQ tests. How many of them can come close to 100?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical MS

    I see the usual crowd of anti-Opera knuckleheads screeching feverishly again today.

    Do you realize that Mozilla, Google, Apple (and IBM)...and Opera are pushing the EU to simplify this browser ballot box?? Do you know why? Because there's something called "illegal bundling via monopoly OS" that's been going on for over 10 frickin' years. Increase your IQ from 91 to 92 here: < >

    Are you all that completely dim? Do you know of any product or service with over 90% market share...that's not offered by the Mafia? I don't. That's called a m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y. And listen closely little dim-wits, it's NOT illegal to have a's only illegal if you start bustin' kneecaps with your monopoly.

    Here's a thought experiment...if you're actually capable of holding an opposing thought in your head: if Opera was pre-installed on the ~142 million PCs sold last year...what would the Opera market share be? Probably closer to 70%.

    What's astonishing is that Opera is the most popular browser (~40%) in Russia with IE a close 2nd...which means 2/3 of all PC users in Russia download a new browser. Wow.

    What's in the water in Russia? Clearly a W3C/100% Acid3 additive. ;)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Sideshow Bill

    What the feck? Just unbundle the damned operating system already! I agree with those who think this is a sideshow only because it is: the real issue is the average punter having no realistic choice in most retail outlets about whether they want Windows Whatever, and having to accept a bundled product which they then can't get unbundled without suing a bunch of named executives - yes, it's come to that in some cases.

    Stop fiddling with browsers, EU, and give us naked computers with a *choice* of operating systems including "no thanks, monopoly players, I'll install my own".

  23. Anonymous Coward


    So where are these posters who ask "Why are you beating up on Opera" coming from? It's seems pretty clear that they haven't just read an article with Opera in the title.

    Microsoft doesn't decide what the default browser is - 99% of users buy their PCs from one of a small number of major manufacturers, and, until recently, those manufacturers installed IE by default, because it was the easiest thing to do and because their customers expected it. Not because Micorsoft forced them to - as evidenced by the fact that as soon as Mozilla and Google started to offer them a few bob to change the default browser, they did.

  24. James O'Brien

    @AC and KTguju

    "I'd just like to thank the EC for a full copy of Win 7 for £45 "

    I thank MS for giving me a full copy of Win7 for $30 because Im a student :)

    As for you KTguju "Are you all that completely dim?"

    Wow, just wow. I don't really know where to start with this one. Your whole arguement went out the window you know when you started ranting and insulting everyone who posts here, right? Seriously if you want to get your point across maybe think about cutting out the insults and stating what you want in a PROFESSIONAL manner instead of what you did?

    Now to focus on what you said. If you look back and think about it who is the one who always bitches about the browser on MS OS's? Opera? Maybe?

    Who bitches about Safari on OSX? Certainly not them.

    What about *nix and whatever flavor of browser is on the particular distro you are using? Nope not them either.

    What Opera does in relation to MS is downright idiotic. They continously make themselves look like whiney little kids crying for candy or a toy in a store just because they want want want. Your reference to Russia is funny. Are we in Russia? I think alot of posters here are from other places then Russia (In Soviet Russia the browser screws you!!). I look at the broswer take based on where *I* am and what *I* like, not what they like in Russia, or China. You sir fail for that one. Now go cry to Opera about this post being directed towards your innane babbling and get them to whine some more. Have a nice day.

  25. Greg J Preece

    Much ado over the wrong problem

    Microsoft should be able to bundle any bloody browser they like with their OS. It's...their OS! Safari in Mac OSX, Firefox in Ubuntu, IE in Windows. I don't have a problem with that.

    The real problem is that Windows comes bundled with everything. It is almost impossible to buy a non-Mac computer without paying the Windows tax. That's BS. Users should be presented with a list of operating systems when buying a new computer. That might help even the scales a bit, but slagging off Microsoft for putting one of their own products inside one of their own products is nonsense at best.

    And as other people have said, Opera should STFU at this point.

  26. Craig 2


    I am really just sick & tired of this whole "uproar" over browser choices, and especially all the "furious from Felpham" type responses. Sure, Microsoft is a monopoly. Instead of bitching about it all the time why don't you either shut up or do something constructive about it. The end result is that now there will be yet another wizard to complete after installing Windows. Taken to the extreme there will be 100's of them asking which brand of EVERY operating system component you want to use. It's not like IE8 is gaining/keeping ground against other browsers, and it's monopoly position is constantly weakening.

    Find something worthwhile to moan about.... please

    Oh, and don't reply highlighting the irony, I know.

  27. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    Nice. Now lets do the same for

    OSX and the iphone. While we're at it, Apple should be forced to offer other music management software than just iTunes.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @MarkOne and dervheid

    If IE was unbundled from windows, then how, exactly, do you propose that users would actually find and download the browsers of their choice? Usenet? Anonymous FTP? Gopher?

  29. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Re: Much ado over the wrong problem

    Greg J Preece @23:24 GMT: " Microsoft should be able to bundle any bloody browser they like with their OS. It's...their OS! Safari in Mac OSX, Firefox in Ubuntu, IE in Windows. I don't have a problem with that."

    I do have a problem with that - what MS is trying to shove down my throat is not an OS, it's a suite. And my biggest problem is that I CAN'T GET IE OFF MY PC!!!! That *really* gets my goat. Explain to me why a web-browser is considered part of an Operating System? Is MS really trying to tell me that Windows can't run my hardware without IE? Bullshit!

    Ditto with the bloatastic "Media Player", BTW.

  30. Big-nosed Pengie

    @Sideshow Bill

    "Stop fiddling with browsers, EU, and give us naked computers with a *choice* of operating systems including "no thanks, monopoly players, I'll install my own"."


  31. Stuart Ball

    Obligatory Title

    Will Chrome OS have the same ballot screen?

    Presuming that Opera, Firefox et al do a compile for Chrome? Would Google be compelled to offer the same browser choice on their OS?

    At what point of OS Market Share does it become compulsion to offer choices over the default browser for the OS Vendor?

    Given corporate dependence on IE is this really necessary for Enterprise & Professional versions of Windows, because a single user is not going to make the corporate decision on what the COE browser is going to be.

    So the ballot screen os only going to have limited impact on browser market share, and key protagonists won't get the result they seek.

  32. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Much ado over the wrong problem

    I totally agree!

    Oh and @ the utter muppets offering various versions of "just unbundle it", they were going to do just that with the "E" versions of 7, but the EU said this wasn't what they wanted. You can't blame MS for this one. If you have a problem with 7 actually shipping with IE included, blame the EU.

  33. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    @Greg Preece

    Spot on. It's nothing to do with the default browser; it's the default OS that's the issue and always has been. Until I can go to any retailer and buy a computer with a choice of OS - it doesn't even need to be an installation; a clone over a local network will do the job very nicely thank you - then there will only be one OS.

    Selecting an OS should be as simple as selecting a case colour... wait, they're all beige...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Eh? Why cant i put my Renault radio in my Vauxhall? (ok ok apart from the fact there will soon be no Vauxhall) they both have standard DIN slots for radios, and i think they both use ISO connectors, or at least have adapters.

    Sorry, basically you were just talking twaddle and no, Microsoft's dominant market position is definitely NOT something that came about by having a superior product.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Easy choice

    Most people will click on the one that says Google, 'cos Google is the Intenet isn't it?

  36. Cucumber C Face

    Browser 6 fanboy writes

    I don't hear Browser 6's suppliers moaning. And as for Browser 7 - it has smallest footprint of the lot.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "What the feck? Just unbundle the damned operating system already!"

    Every operating system bundles a web browser. It's pretty much essential these days.

    I really don't see the point in this still. I believe that browser manufacturers are now free to pay OEMs to include their browsers in the default image (how about we ban Microsoft from offering to pay to have IE as the default option?) and even set it as the default browser.

    If you're buying Windows at retail then you probably have enough nous to be able to change your browser if you so choose to.

    As for all these screens you have to go through, I'm assuming that one of these is the redirection to the other browser's download page (so that the latest version can be offered without having to inform MS that there is one), another is the warning IE gives you when downloading ANY file from the web, another is the Open/Save screen which ANY download presents you with, another is the security warning Windows gives you for ANY downloaded EXE, and yet another is the elevation prompt (which even Linux and OS X would present you with).

    While I think that there are a few too many security prompts presented by IE, why should these browsers be treated differently to any other download (including downloads from the Microsoft website)?

  38. MarkOne

    re: Astroturf

    I also find it highly amusing that Microsoft's astroturfers come out in force whenever there is an antitrust article, defending Microsoft and IE, and trying to convince the gulible that Opera are evil (which is ironic, as the evil ones here are Microsoft).

    Seems people forget quickly the company that killed Netscape with their dirty tactics....

  39. Robert Ramsay
    Thumb Up

    I'm happy now...

    my one Opera problem ever is fixed :-)

    and as for the rest of the comment thread: "When the volume level goes up, the information level comes down."

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i don't blame microsoft

    They may have started the problem, but now I blame all the masses of website creators that force you to use IE instead.

    Firefox is my browser of choice, however, whenever i buy anything online i have to use IE simply because the 'security' (some form of xss) employed by my bank doesn't work reliably in any other browser. Same with some forums etc, some work fine on IE, but are all over the shop on other browsers.

    as it stands now, i *can't* get rid of IE, because i couldn't use the web properly without it

  41. Adam Salisbury

    Still Waiting...

    I'm still waiting for someone to explain exactly how companies make money from free web browsers and why the f**k it matters who's bundling which with what. This is merely a case of two-bit playersand has-beens having a moan about their lack of success:

    Adobe - bloatware & Flash pimps, Oracle - overpriced database maker, IBM - no mainstream desktop presence anymore, Mozilla, about the only folks of any significance there and of course bloody Opera who with each passing tantrum are actually doing MS' job for them.....I for one certainly become more supportive of MS with every purile inane strop from those Failtards.

    Opera won't be happy until everyone's installing their browser by default, and when that happens I'll reinstall IE just to wind them up some more!

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Rendering the Ballot screen

    Maybe the EU could set this to be everyones home page in every browser so that everyone has the choice of installing all the browsers available.

    Maybe a new test placed by the EU could be the ability to actually render the page correctly (like the Acid Tests) ... that'll stop Opera getting on the list :)

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong angle here,

    Most, if not all of us commenting here are tech savvy, at least enough so to chose our own browser, media player operating system or whatever.

    The majority of PCs are either bought by corporations (and so the choices are based on corporate requirements and there is rarely any choice offered to users) or by non-savvy home users who want something that just works.

    Home users just want to take it out of the box, power it up, answer some very easy questions and then get on with playing games, online shopping and typing complaint letters to the BBC that all start "Why, oh why, oh why....." and then whinge about how some celeb they've never heard of dancing the foxtrot on Strictly should not have been given 7 points by the loud Italian guy when the middle 5 seconds was clearly a functional two-step and nothing like a foxtrot.....

    Ask most home users for their number one wish for their computer and it will be to add a button to the Yes/No, OK/Cancel type pop-ups that just says "whatever" and then lets them get back to looking at videos of sneezing panda cubs and people falling over.

  44. Andus McCoatover

    Simple, really...

    Microsoft offer Win-7 without IE for (e.g.) $199.98 but WITH IE for $199.99 - job's* done. Who's gonna moan about a cent. Probably what the browser is worth, anyway. Would work a treat in Finland, 'cos we don't have the 1 or 2 cent coin, so either version would be €200 cash. OK, pay by credit/debit card, you'll see it, but...

    *Didn't mean Steve, that's why I didn't capitalise it...

  45. markfiend

    "I blame all the masses of website creators that force you to use IE instead"

    Refuse to use the site. Or move bank.

    My bank's* website works on Firefox in Windows (which I use at work) and Firefox in Linux (which I use at home) as well as every other browser I've tried it on. In general, I find that more sites are broken in IE than in FF

    *Alliance & Leicester if you must know. God forbid I should be accused of astroturfing for them lol.

    Oh and the only browser "bundled" with my Linux install was Lynx...

  46. legion

    Shrill Shills

    I am glad that the comment carpet bombing by what i can only assumed are employed/paid in kind Microsoft staff/fanboys is quickly becoming counter productive...

  47. magnetik

    Re: I don't blame microsoft

    "They may have started the problem, but now I blame all the masses of website creators that force you to use IE instead"

    Who would that be? Most web developers design sites to work with standards compliant browsers and then add workarounds for IE afterwards.

    "whenever i buy anything online i have to use IE simply because the 'security' (some form of xss) employed by my bank doesn't work reliably in any other browser. as it stands now, i *can't* get rid of IE, because i couldn't use the web properly without it"

    Really? I never use IE and have yet to find a site that I need to use it for. I do almost all my shopping online using a variety of cards issued by different banks. If I were you I'd change banks!

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Pick on Apple!

    Are Opera going to go after Apple next? "Sorry you've got to give people the choice of Opera or Safari?" And they could pester all the mobile phone makers: "Install Opera Mini or we'll cry!" Until you can't use an electronic device without having to tell Opera to fuck off five times a day.

  49. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    Personally, I think Opera and other browsers when first run should pop-up a similar, "Are you sure you wouldn't prefer to use one of our competitor's browser ..." selection screen. Let's truly level the field if that's what they want.

    Opera has a small market share and that's a problem of their own making. I doubt anything Microsoft does to the selection screens will make any significant change to that.

    Let's face it, it's a ridiculous thing anyway. Uneducated users will either click randomly and likely choose the "Microsoft" offering ( they bought a "Microsoft" OS didn't they so will recognise the brand ), or something they've heard the name of "Internet Explorer" or "Firefox"; I bet they choose what they use at work or as advised by friends. Those educated won't care, they'll just get what they want, option screen or not, no matter what the default browser - As they have been doing for years now.

  50. Nik Owen
    Gates Halo


    Microsoft offered... In fact threatened to ship W7 (E) with no browser and a warning that no browser will be included on W7. therefore making the average jo pc user blaming microsoft for no being able to access the internet. I would imagine that they would give you a freee copy of IE8 on a seperate disc to install.

    Someone must have had a quiet word with MS and said, you can't do that, it just makes the EU look silly (who would have thought that?) so instead it is offering users to install a different browser on its software, and then people question why there are so many security questions/popups? because MS would have to give technical support for those other browsers if it didn't.

    Mines the £30 student version of W7.....

  51. Piro
    Thumb Down

    Shut up, Opera

    Please, it's just making you look more unreasonably whiny than ever before.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Why all the complaints???

    I think it's very sad that so many people are complaining about Opera and the EU. Here are some organisations who actually have the balls to go up against MS and try to do something about their awful monopoly abuse which has set the whole computing industry back by about 10 years... and you're complaining about it? You should be ashamed. Go and get admin jobs in the civil service you tossers, and leave the computing industry to those of us who actually care about what we do and the tools we use.

  53. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Short (or selective) memories

    People have such short memories, perhaps if all those commentards, who only seem to stop their knuckles dragging on the ground long enough to tell Opera to FOAD, did a bit more research they mightn’t be so quick to condemn Opera.

    There was a time when the world’s most popular browser was not MickySoft’s Swiss cheese browser, it wasn’t even considered a ‘standard’. As far back as 1994 in the octobed issue of Wired, Gary Wolf said that "The [Second Phase of the] Revolution Has Begun: Don't look now, but Prodigy, AOL, and CompuServe are all suddenly obsolete - and Mosaic is well on its way to becoming the world's standard interface." Thus Mosaic begat Netscape and the first browser war started.

    Up until 1997 Netscape had over 70% of the browser market.

    IE 4 started the ball rollowing for MickeySoft, not because it was technically superior, in fact due to a lack of compliance with the agreed standards (Netscape was considered more compliant than IE), and additional “features” added by both cometh "standards",.no, the big move by MickySoft was to integrate IE into Windoze, a move which was heavily criticized by IT professionals and industry critics at the time who felt that it was a bad technical idea (subsequently proved true as security flaws in an integrated browser compromise the security of the PC) and an exploitation of Microsoft's monopoly on the PC platform because of Windows. Users were discouraged from using any competing products because IE was "already there" on their PCs.

    While MickeySoft was quicker to adopt the W3C standards and implement CCS, it also did a number of other things that hurt Netscape badly, it entered a licensing agreement with AOL to base AOL's browser on IE, purchased and released a web authoring tool that made it easy to use MickySoft proprietary extensions and non-standard HTML code in web pages, and entered into an agreement with Apple that year to make Internet Explorer for Mac the default browser on the Mac for five years.

    SO by 1991/2 MickySoft had over 90% of the browser market. The old adage used to be “that to succeed in the software business you had to be either the first or the best”, MickySoft were neither of these but they did have a monopoly on the operating system

    These actions eventually led to the United States Microsoft antitrust case in 1998 which found that Microsoft had abused its monopoly on operating systems to unfairly dominate the market and eliminating competition.

    So just because Opera are whinging, or because Opera may not be the best browser, that doesn’t mean that they’re saying is wrong.

    Let the flames begin....

  54. Rasczak

    @ AC 29th September 2009 09:22 GMT


    Maybe a new test placed by the EU could be the ability to actually render the page correctly (like the Acid Tests) ... that'll stop Opera getting on the list :)


    As long as the page adheres to standards and is W3C compliant then Opera 10, which gets 100/100 on the ACID3 test, will render it correctly. Will the ACID3 20/100 scoring IE8 ?

  55. NogginTheNog

    Know your OS

    I do wish all the numpties who keep talking about keeping IE for access to Windows Update would notice that in Windows 7, Server 2008, and probably Vista as well (never used it long enough to check) Windows Updates is a Control Panel applet and not a web page link any more...

  56. Greg J Preece


    I agree that you should be able to uninstall Internet Explorer, but calling Windows a suite rather than an OS because it comes with a browser and media player is a little strange. Again, Ubuntu comes with a default media player (and that one IS crap), as does Mac OSX. You don't seem to have a problem with those...

  57. Anonymous Coward

    @James O'Brien

    "I thank MS for giving me a full copy of Win7 for $30 because Im a student"

    UK student edition is £30. Yet again some innumerate moron in MS/US thinks that $1 = £1.

    Still, at least the non-student version is cheaper in the EC.

  58. Dave Murray

    Too many buttons to click?

    I have a simple solution to that. Reduce the number of buttons by not offering Opera as a choice.

    MS could embrace this idea fully by only offering the three most popular browsers - IE, Firefox and Chrome/Safari (whichever is no 3 now). Simple, effective and nicely screws those moaning windbags at Opera.

  59. This post has been deleted by its author

  60. James O'Brien

    @Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    "Up until 1997 Netscape had over 70% of the browser market."

    "SO by 1991/2 MickySoft had over 90% of the browser market."

    Umm you do realize IE didnt EXIST in 1992 right? Get the facts straight please.

  61. Wortel


    Meanwhile in the real world, Windows 7 Enterprise is already on my desk. Yes, legally via volume licensing. It shows no signs of Microsoft's proposed changes. Did you expect any different?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he meant 2001/2

    I think it was rather obvious.

  63. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    100% bored

    of all the eejits with their "it's their OS, they can do what they want" rant.

    I will summarise my thoughts quickly:

    1) Like it or not, there are rules when you are a monopoly. MS have broken them.

    2) I don't care about Opera, I don't like their browser, but at least they have made the effort to push the EU into protecting our consumer rights..

    3) The issue with this ballot screen is that it still leaves IE as the easiest choice for consumers, and consumers are lazy. They need to present a level playing field, and preferably not have IE installed at all. A separate, simple app to grab a list of download locations & descriptions from a central server, and display a choice, would take no time at all to build. Then which ever browser you choose, it needs to download it and install it.

    4) Those who complain about OSX & *nix bundling browsers: they are not in monopoly positions, and Linux based distros normally come with several open source browsers.

  64. Lewis Mettler 1

    apply the acid test

    Just switch the products around.

    Put Firefox in place of IE on Microsoft systems and Microsoft will tell you exactly what is illegal, unfair and unopen about a browser (now not theirs) being bundled with the OS.

    Put Chrome in place of IE and the rest of the lot will be glad to tell you why that is illegal. (Microsoft will still claim the solution is somehow illegal).

    Microsoft collects cash money for each copy of IE included with the OS. And a bunch of idiots out there think that it is okay if everyone else can not have a revenue model for their alternative.

    Switch the products around and you will see Microsoft making the same arguments by those disadvantaged under the proposed solution.

  65. kain preacher Silver badge

    Folks IE is free

    Get it its free. They didn't raise the price of win 95 or win 98 cause it included IE

  66. kain preacher Silver badge

    Yet again some innumerate moron in MS/US thinks that $1 = £1.

    um that includes taxes for the UK. Sales tax in the US can be highs as %10 so that can really be $33 not $30

  67. Anonymous Coward

    @Dr. Mouse

    Utter crap - bottom feeders like Opera have nothing to give and should take their whinging arse's off somewhere else. No-one wants their software and no-one cares what they think.

  68. Nathan Meyer

    Not Where MSFT Will Really Block Them

    it will be more like when you could theoretically run Windows 3.11 on top of DR DOS- except that you really couldn't, because these mysterious incompatibilities started showing up.

    Most people never got past the initial "non-fatal error" warnings.

    How about "Windows update detects possibly incompatible default browser! Make IE your default browser to be sure to get your essential updates".

    "Are you sure your non-standard browser has all it's security patches? Make IE your default browser to secure your system!"

    More than one way to keep a monopoly.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Stuff

    I wrote:

    "What the feck? Just unbundle the damned operating system already!"

    Someone else wrote:

    "Every operating system bundles a web browser. It's pretty much essential these days."

    Hello? Unbundle the operating system *from* *the* *computer*! Arguing about which browser you get after being given no choice of operating system is a bit like being served horse when you really wanted to see a menu, and then being asked which sauce you want with it. And then the waiter pretending that you had a choice.


  70. Eddie Johnson

    More idiotic and downright wrong terminology

    Why is this being called a "ballot" or a "ballot screen?" Its not an election. We're not counting votes and tallying a winner (at least at first). Individual users are making a personal choice. A single "vote" wins.

    Are we going to start calling all radio buttons "ballot buttons" now?

  71. Alan 46

    i wonder...

    how many people will think it's a quiz and will just answer IE because thats what it says in the title bar.

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