Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:07 UTC
Windows The browser saga between Microsoft, the EU, and various browser makers just got a new chapter. We all know how the EU and Microsoft are in a legal tussle over the inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft surprised everyone in June by announcing that Windows 7 would ship without Internet Explorer in Europe, a move it had hoped would silence the EU. The EU and Opera, however, were not impressed, and now Microsoft has caved in to the pressure.
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Too little, too late
by WorknMan on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:31 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

This might've actually made a difference if they had done it 10 years ago when it actually mattered, but now what's the point? Honestly, I don't remember the last time I had to pull up IE because a particular site wouldn't work in whatever browser I was using.

IE is slowly but surely losing marketshare to Firefox and Safari, and guess what... it happened WITHOUT any government intervention.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Too little, too late
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:33 UTC in reply to "Too little, too late"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

IE is slowly but surely losing marketshare to Firefox and Safari, and guess what... it happened WITHOUT any government intervention.


Bingo.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Too little, too late
by kamil_chatrnuch on Sat 25th Jul 2009 00:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Too little, too late"
kamil_chatrnuch Member since:
2005-07-07

aah, i don't like this at all. i'm an opera user since version 6, but opera is just going nuts about this...

but ok, let them have it. how do we choose the browsers? easy, let's use the same rule as most democracies for the parliament elections - a 5% minimum.

so according to:
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

with IE6 and IE7 being obsolete and sorting alphabetically, we'll get a ballot with:

Chrome
Firefox
IE


there. good luck opera.
(typed from an opera browser)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Too little, too late
by kragil on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:37 UTC in reply to "Too little, too late"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

I think it is a great solution. IE still has 70% of the market and can still be used to push shit onto the internet. A lot of people do not know about different browsers, they don't even know what a browser is. "The blue E is the internet"(I deleted the internet!)
Even Mozilla could not reach those folks. Everybody who think it could lives in circles of computer literates and does not know normal people.

Edit. This proves my point:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ

Edited 2009-07-24 21:40 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Too little, too late
by unoengborg on Sat 25th Jul 2009 00:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Too little, too late"
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

I think it is a great solution. IE still has 70% of the market and can still be used to push shit onto the internet. A lot of people do not know about different browsers, they don't even know what a browser is.


People may not know, but the marketing people of various companies do. They are usually the ones who "put shit onto the internet" not Microsoft. Leaving out 30% of their potential customers by just providing content that only can be accessed by IE is not acceptable. Even 10% would have been too much

They will use technology that can be read in all browsers. In a sense this means that Microsoft already have lost their control. In turn, this means that Microsoft have little to lose by letting people select their preferred browser, especially if doing so, will let the EU off their back.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Too little, too late
by porcel on Sun 26th Jul 2009 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Too little, too late"
porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

That video totally rocks and proves that stringent anti-monopoly measures such as the ones announced by the EU Comission are very necessary.

The video is funny too and shows how Microsoft profits from the general confusion surrounding what a browser even is.

If I were google, I would be pushing chrome as hard as I could, because google is a brand that most people trust. Firefox is getting some recognition by word of mouth, but it´s taking its sweet time to materialize.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by merkoth
by merkoth on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:37 UTC
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

The only think I ask from MS regarding IE is to make the damn thing uninstallable. Even if you can't remove the whole thing because of system dependencies, I just don't want it there. No icon, no directories, no updates, no hardcoded call in Live Messenger, etc.

This ballot thing is incredibly stupid, if there's something Firefox did right was to demonstrate that users are willing to switch browsers if they so desire. Then why doesn't Opera get the market share they think they deserve? No idea, honestly, but blaming MS is just lame.

The funny part? Firefox will be the great winner with this ballot thingy. Besides a larger marketshare than Opera, Firefox sports a much larger mindshare. The good news is that they'll need to come up with better excuses.

Reply Score: 2

Lets make it better
by angelochoa on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:54 UTC
angelochoa
Member since:
2006-11-20

For all this to be fair the information ( name, icon, download address ) should be placed in a public site where ALL OSes should go to verify wich browsers are available at installation time.

The information must be in xml format and the process must not need a web browser, it also must include the most downloaded browser first and the newcomers beside them with the posibility to choose any other not listed up front.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Lets make it better
by Havin_it on Sat 25th Jul 2009 12:05 UTC in reply to "Lets make it better"
Havin_it Member since:
2006-03-10

Good luck making that work with every Linux distro out there that repackage the browser and install it via their own package manager. Admittedly I'm not a fan of the limitations like this imposed by this approach, but that's a whole other debate.

Also, "must be xml"? Why is it essential that what would be one of the busiest servers on the Internet (who's gonna run the damn thing, anyway?) has to offer up this data in a markup that's totally inefficient for data-exchange? What's wrong with JSON or some other sane serialisation format?

Reply Score: 2

How many clicks
by sbergman27 on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:07 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

I wonder how they are going to steer unsophisticated (most) users to IE. Is installation of non-IE browsers going to be more confusing than IE? Is IE going to have the word "recommended" next to it? Is it going to be 1 click for IE and 10 clicks with various questions to answer in between for the others? Are they going to have fun confirmation prompts like:

"""
Are you sure that you don't want to not install Internet Explorer as your default browser?"

<OK> <Install Windows Default>
"""

The EU needs to see the finalized ballot screen and approve it *before* the Windows 7 release. I smell a rat. They knew good and well that not providing any browser at all was totally unacceptable, and proposed that unworkable idea just to try to make it appear that IE by default was better for consumers. This ballot screen has *always* been the best way. And that's been pretty obvious to anyone watching. I can't believe that they don't have some more tricks up their sleeve. They've been treating this like a game thus far, and I expect that they'll continue doing so as long as they are allowed.

Perhaps they are just planning on arm-twisting Dell and others to preconfigure the machines they sell "properly".

Edited 2009-07-24 22:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Nothing to complain about.
by daev on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:14 UTC
daev
Member since:
2009-01-24

To me this seems like a great improvement compared to how Microsoft has been doing default installs in the past, and I'm surprised more people aren't happy about this.

Sure you can criticise this solution, but I think it's much better than Microsoft slapping a blue e on the desktop and calling it The Internet. Giving users more choice is always a good thing, especially in the browser field where some people might not even know they have a choice.

Reply Score: 4

End Users decide which device to purchase
by CaptainN- on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:18 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

I don't think it has ever been appropriate to have consumers decide something like what browser to use - and this is only more true in recent years. They are purchasers of products, and that's how it will always be. A few decades ago, desktop computers were primarily workstations, used by techies, and professionals. Now it's primarily people who don't know how to save a file, let alone which browser to use (I use Microsoft to open pictures!).

Smart phones and cell phones OEMs have figure this out, as they all race for competitive edge, by providing their own custom blends of open source, and proprietary blends. The OEMs are deciding what browser goes on the phone (and making better decisions by and large, than OEM PC makers have in the past).

It's kind of weird that at this late stage, anyone is still thinking that end users should make these kinds of decisions.

Reply Score: 2

Make it modular like e.g. Linux
by bralkein on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:34 UTC
bralkein
Member since:
2006-12-20

The cool thing about Linux is that it is quite modular, so you can build it up to be whatever you want or strip it down to be nice and slim. On my laptop it is over 10GB with all the random stuff I have installed, but on my ADSL modem it is under 2MB, and that's including a web interface!

What the EU want is a basic level of modularity on Windows so that the OEM PC retailers decide what goes on the PCs, and not MS. I think that would be a good thing for everyone.

Reply Score: 2

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

That would be a terrible idea. Microsoft invests a lot of money and time in most of the user-visible components of Windows. Some OEMs are better than others, and in some cases users will get machines that have important components that simply don't work as well (or as securely) as the corresponding existing Windows component.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Make it modular like e.g. Linux
by blitze on Sat 25th Jul 2009 04:52 UTC in reply to "Make it modular like e.g. Linux"
blitze Member since:
2006-09-15

Given the way OEM's detroy MS based installs with their crapware - your suggestion seems to me at least, the most bone headed idea yet. It is MS's OS and they should have more say over what get's thrown onto it when it is bundled with hardware.
Could you imagine Apple's OS-X environment if PC OEM's had their way with that - your touted User Experience would be thrown out the window.

OEM's are the problem and although I'm happy for a push to a level of OS modularity with Windows, allowing OEM's to dictate the user environment will just frustrate the end user even more and cause more bitching about Windows.

p.s. - when are we seeing this ballot idea occuring on other OS's? What's good for the goose is good for the gander so Linux and OS-X installs should have the same limitations imposed on them in the desktop environment or stop bitching. This from a Windows/Opera user.

Reply Score: 2

Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

Yes. But you have forgotten that OEM PC retailers can choose to put modular Linux on PCs instead of Windows. MS does not tell OEM's what OS to put on their PCs.

Reply Score: 2

molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

... MS does not tell OEM's what OS to put on their PCs.


This must be one of the most naive statements I've read recently ;)

Of course it does, it puts OEMs under considerable pressure NOT to install alternative OSs (through economic "incentives" like offering considerable discount on OEM licences as long as they don't offer alternative X across their product lines). This has been proven on countless occasions, plus this is precisely what the EU has been investigating before MS caved in.

Reply Score: 4

orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

Even if MS's OEM deals didn't exist, that economic pressure would still be there to standardize on a single choice of OS. Less options to support makes for cheaper, more efficient operation on the vendor's side of things. The closest you'd get to having a true choice is outlawing preinstalls altogether and forcing the consumer to deal with acquiring and supporting their OS on their own.

Reply Score: 2

I think Windows Embedded is modular
by MollyC on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:21 UTC in reply to "Make it modular like e.g. Linux"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

It allows a hardware maker to add as little of the OS as required. The hardware usually is some dedicated device rather than a general purpose computer, but maybe an OEM could try to use Windows Embedded if they want to play around with what parts of the OS to include. It wouldn't make sense to do so, but I think it's possible.

Reply Score: 2

Order?
by drstorm on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:58 UTC
drstorm
Member since:
2009-04-24

I wonder in which order the browsers will be listed. The way I see it, every order would be wrong.

If they order it in their own preference, I guess IE would be the first and Chrome the last. The reasons why this order would suck are rather obvious.

Next, they could order it by popularity, which would place IE first again. I guess this would be the logical order, but who is to say which browser is really more popular? Microsoft?

Finally, they could order it alphabetically, but that order could confuse many of the less knowledgeable users. I guess, most people would just choose the first on the list. That would probably be Chrome. This would give it an unfair advantage. Also, if the list is going to be updateable, I think we'd see many new browsers with names like AA-browser. ;)

Also, sbergman27 raised an interesting question: "Is IE going to have the word "recommended" next to it?" MS users are quite used to selecting the "recommended" stuff.


Basically, I'd leave the things pretty much the way they are and let the market decide. If there has to be a list, I would put it on the IE's default home page.

Thanks for reading this rather long comment. ;)

Reply Score: 2

What was stopping OEMs...
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 24th Jul 2009 23:59 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

The main question I have is: what was stopping OEMs from including, say, Firefox and/or making it the default browser?

Back when Be Inc. was still around, I do remember that a Japanese OEM offered PCs with a Windows + BeOS dual-boot setup - but they were forced to stop, because Microsoft's OEM agreement forbid that sort of setup. Is there some similar clause that prevents OEMs from shipping machines with a browser other than IE installed/made the default?

If so, then I think the sensible solution would be to simply forbid Microsoft from using OEM agreements & volume discounts to bribe/bludgeon OEMs into only including IE.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What was stopping OEMs...
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 25th Jul 2009 02:01 UTC in reply to "What was stopping OEMs..."
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

It's already forbidden. OEMs probably don't want to support/testing burden of having an additional browser. I'm sure they'd do it if Google/Firefox offered them money in exchange for placement, though.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It's already forbidden.


That's good, at least. I remember there being a fair bit of commentary online, from people expressing frustration that the DOJ let Microsoft get away with claiming that their OEM agreements were trade secrets which couldn't be divulged.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What was stopping OEMs...
by MrWeeble on Mon 27th Jul 2009 08:37 UTC in reply to "What was stopping OEMs..."
MrWeeble Member since:
2007-04-18

They used to use their monopoly in this abusive way, but were stopped. Now OEMs can make any browser (or other software) default. My Dell (UK) Vista machine came with Firefox as default browser and Google Desktop as default search.

Reply Score: 1

only mozilla did the hard work?
by metellius on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:00 UTC
metellius
Member since:
2009-07-25

"Mozilla did the hard work to get people to rethink their choice of browsers and switch to Firefox, and now other browser makers - Opera in particular - are trying to leech off Mozilla's hard work."

What exactly makes you think that Mozilla has done all the hard work in order to make people switch? Do you think opera has done nothing? Why is opera leeching of mozillas work?

I found that statement rather uncalled for - please state your reasons you think so.

Reply Score: 4

Oh boy
by sweiss on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:14 UTC
sweiss
Member since:
2005-10-01

Why don't I get a ballot screen for a text editor? MS is abusing its monopoly by including Notepad, what if I want to use Notepad++ or gvim?
And why does Explorer automatically run when I start up my machine? What if I want to use bb4win or lifestep instead? Those capitalist swines!
And for Solitaire?

I pity MS for having to deal with the EU's absurdities.
As if the EU has nothing more important to deal with.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Oh boy
by metellius on Sat 25th Jul 2009 02:03 UTC in reply to "Oh boy"
metellius Member since:
2009-07-25

text editors and desktop shells are just applications that compete by themselves.

web browser are quite different as they are capable of either promoting or hindering the expansion of web technologies, depending on how well they handle web standards and whether they inter-operate well.

for this reason I do not think that your logic holds

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Oh boy
by Havin_it on Sat 25th Jul 2009 12:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Oh boy"
Havin_it Member since:
2006-03-10

Your observations are, to my knowledge, immaterial in the EU's evaluation of the IE situation. That is simply concerned with competition among a particular class of application, whether Microsoft abuses its monopoly position to stifle that competition, and if so, how this can be prevented.

The class of application under discussion is irrelevant, so his logic is fine. It's unlikely to happen though, because there's really nobody making a competing plain-text editor or Solitaire game with (a) enough invested in the product, (b) enough to gain, or (c) a big enough axe to grind to justify aping Opera's complaint.

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft are including the top 10 browsers...
by Halo on Sat 25th Jul 2009 05:04 UTC
Halo
Member since:
2009-02-10

Microsoft are going to be linking to any browser with more than 0.5% browser share.

Apparently "The Ballot Screen will be populated with the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the EEA as measured semi-annually by a source commonly agreed between Microsoft and the European Commission (see paragraph 13), but not more than ten (not counting different versions of one and the same browser)."

Edited 2009-07-25 05:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

This is wrong in so many ways I can't even count.

First of all there may be some truth in the whole monopoly thing but it's a slippery slope. What if I have developed a notepad application? Can I sue MS for bundling notepad? Or can I sue them for bundling Solitaire or Calculator? Although this would be terrible (presented with a ballot screen the first time you use anything) it can go deeper than that. Can Sun sue Microsoft because they bundle the .NET framework instead of the JVM?

Also I don't understand how Opera is going to gain marketshare this way (since they are the ones that pushing it). Let's say that an average user is presented with:

Microsoft Internet Explorer
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
Apple Safari
Opera

The possible answers imo are:

Internet explorer because it's what i use all the time
Firefox because I heard my nephew talk about it and he's really good with this stuff
Chrome because it says google
Safari because it says apple

So I don't see how Opera is going to benefit from a ballot screen. The browser that is going to benefit the most is chrome. Average people don't know the difference between a browser and a search engine, as demonstrated by a youtube video someone posted earlier (They shouldn't too. They just want their job done). So if they don't go with IE they are going to go with the second most familiar thing in that list.

PS: I am an Opera user since 9.2x and I consider it to be the best browser right now but I am really saddened by what they are doing

Reply Score: 2

Comment by lemur2
by lemur2 on Sat 25th Jul 2009 12:28 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

This raises the question: what would be a good solution? Clearly, shipping Windows without a browser is not a very good option, nor is the ballot screen.


IMO, it would be perfectly fine if IE were to ship with Windows IF IE were compliant with W3C standards.

Just those W3C standards that are "recommended" status will do ... but all of them, including SVG, DOM2, SMIL, compliant ECMAScript, etc. Passing acid3 tests (or at least say 90% of acid3) would be enough.

That way the same rich content web pages could render equaly well in all browsers, so web servers could serve just the one version of a web page no matter what browser the client had installed, without any need for browser plugins. There would be no need then for Silverlight or Flash.

Internet access for all, as intended.

That would be the ideal solution, IMO.

Reply Score: 4

NB: Firefox
by Havin_it on Sat 25th Jul 2009 14:23 UTC
Havin_it
Member since:
2006-03-10

Just an observation to those (OP included) using Firefox as the poster-child of doing the "hard work" of gaining market-share without help from anyone. Back up a minute.

Firefox did have help, primarily from:
- Google (with a very large sack of cash)
- A ready-wrapped grassroots fanbase (courtesy of its Netscape roots)
- At the outset, it was really the only viable alternative to IE (I'm sure this can be argued against)

Any new browser startup now enters a crowded marketplace, and will have a lot more to do if it wants the support and the capital that Firefox enjoyed. How much do you suppose a full-page ad in the NY Times costs?

I'm just sayin'...

Reply Score: 4

RE: NB: Firefox
by Soulbender on Mon 27th Jul 2009 08:05 UTC in reply to "NB: Firefox"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Any new browser startup now enters a crowded marketplace


Only Opera isn't a startup and has had plenty of time to acquire a grassroots movement and support from other big companies.
Maybe Opera just isn't good enough?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: NB: Firefox
by Havin_it on Mon 27th Jul 2009 11:12 UTC in reply to "RE: NB: Firefox"
Havin_it Member since:
2006-03-10

I'm purposely not commenting on that. I simply wanted to remind a few people that Firefox isn't a valid "zero-to-hero" phenomenon as they like to paint it. As the inheritor of Netscape (the first dominant browser) it was never really a "startup".

Reply Score: 2

RE: NB: Firefox
by rajan r on Tue 28th Jul 2009 22:19 UTC in reply to "NB: Firefox"
rajan r Member since:
2005-07-27

- Google (with a very large sack of cash)


Other browsers, particularly Opera, had the opportunity to tie in with a large company. That they did not isn't Microsoft's fault. Besides, Phoenix didn't really start off with a huge push.

- A ready-wrapped grassroots fanbase (courtesy of its Netscape roots)


It doesn't explain anything. Opera has a rabid fanbase. Netscape's fanbase didn't rub off on other Gecko-based browsers like K-Meleon and Camino (the latter had David Hyatt, a Firefox co-creator, being the lead developer of Chimera). Heck, Netscape's fanbase didn't prevent Seamonkey (and more importantly, the ill-advised Netscape 6 based on it) to flop so badly.

- At the outset, it was really the only viable alternative to IE (I'm sure this can be argued against)


I remembered when Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox was starting to gain traction, K-Meleon and Opera were faster (an important element back then in the day of slow computers and slower Internet speeds), yet Firefox won out.

Indeed, Firefox fulfilled a market need (i.e. a browser that works well and comes without an email client, an IRC client, a newsreader, a WYSIWYG HTML editor, etc.). But it doesn't mean that Firefox was neccesarily the only browser capable of doing so.

Any new browser startup now enters a crowded marketplace, and will have a lot more to do if it wants the support and the capital that Firefox enjoyed. How much do you suppose a full-page ad in the NY Times costs?

I'm just sayin'...


Considering any ballot list Microsoft is proposing will limit participation to a finite number of participants, how exactly will *this* make it easier for new browsers to be a market success? Firefox may never have took off if Microsoft came up with this earlier on (make users choose between IE, Netscape and Opera, users will never search for other options).

Reply Score: 1

Logic Problem.
by nickelbackro on Sun 26th Jul 2009 15:26 UTC
nickelbackro
Member since:
2009-04-12

The logical problem i see with all the arguments here are that this list will only display on initial installations. Most of the scenarios discussed here were brain dead users picking from this top 10 list. One problem. The brain dead users WILL NEVER SEE THIS LIST! OEMs will continue to pick browser installations, and all will remain status quo except for the 5% or so of people capable of installing Windows. Quite frankly most of them won't be saying "durrr what's a browser."

Reply Score: 1

RE: Logic Problem.
by lemur2 on Sun 26th Jul 2009 23:22 UTC in reply to "Logic Problem."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The logical problem i see with all the arguments here are that this list will only display on initial installations. Most of the scenarios discussed here were brain dead users picking from this top 10 list. One problem. The brain dead users WILL NEVER SEE THIS LIST! OEMs will continue to pick browser installations, and all will remain status quo except for the 5% or so of people capable of installing Windows. Quite frankly most of them won't be saying "durrr what's a browser."


This logical problem doesn't apply to all of the arguments here.

It doesn't apply to my own earlier suggestion, which was this: "IMO, it would be perfectly fine if IE were to ship with Windows IF IE were compliant with W3C standards."

Reply Score: 2

Interesting comment from Opera
by lemur2 on Mon 27th Jul 2009 00:19 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

EC decision expected to force IE to better support standards

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/43851

"CTO, Håkon Wium Lie, feels that today's decision will force Microsoft to make Internet Explorer do a better job of supporting standards, particularly the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

One can only hope so. That would be the best outcome for everyone, possibly even for Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"CTO, Håkon Wium Lie, feels that today's decision will force Microsoft to make Internet Explorer do a better job of supporting standards, particularly the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)."

You left out the hilarious next line:

"""
Lie would also like to see Apple and Linux makers follow suit with browser ballet boxes of their own.
"""

Yeah, I'll bet they do. Open your code, Lie, and then we can talk about getting you into Debian, Fedora, et. al. And getting it into MacOS? Over Steve Jobs' dead body... so maybe after October.

Edited 2009-07-27 01:16 UTC

Reply Score: 3

How about an OS option?
by ozonehole on Mon 27th Jul 2009 01:36 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

The browser war is all very interesting, but what would REALLY make a difference is if users could choose their operating system. Sure, you can erase Windows and install Linux. But you CANNOT buy a computer with both Windows and Linux pre-installed, and in fact it's nearly impossible to get just Linux.

Why? Because Microsoft prohibits OEMs from offering a dual-boot computer. If any manufacturer offers one for sale, they have to pay full retail price for Windows. In the competitive marketplace, that's enough to kill them. Several manufacturers have indicated in the past that they wanted to offer dual-boot computers, but they can't risk Microsoft's wrath.

So what about offering only Linux, and not paying anything to Microsoft? Again, same deal. When the netbook makers started offering Linux pre-installed, Microsoft had a heart attack and quickly jumped in with offers of Windows XP for US$30, but only if they took Linux off their machines. And since these same manufacturers offer a line of Windows-based computers, they couldn't simply tell Microsoft to shove it.

Microsoft has too much power to control what manufacturers can offer to the public. That has always been the problem, even back in the days of MS-DOS.

The EU doesn't need to tell Microsoft what browsers they can offer in Windows7. They need to prohibit Microsoft from intimidating manufacturers from offering dual-boot computers, or Linux-only computers. Then there would be real competition.

Reply Score: 2

RE: How about an OS option?
by rajan r on Tue 28th Jul 2009 22:00 UTC in reply to "How about an OS option?"
rajan r Member since:
2005-07-27

Whatever you say may be true some 5-6 years back, but I point you to the settlement Microsoft had with the DoJ, which includes a prohibition on the very OEM deals you accuse Microsoft of.

If you have *any* compeling evidence that Microsoft is engaging in this, maybe drop the DoJ an email or two with them. I'm sure the Obama administration isn't too shy in taking on Microsoft for breaking its settlement with the Department of Justice.

I posit another explanation: it doesn't make commercial sense for OEMs to sell computers with Linux when so few customers will bother getting them with it. If it is a regular customer, the average profile of a Linux user is someone who is geeky - and thus less likely to buy from a large OEM - and therefore defeating the purpose of having the Linux option. The other likely market is organizations - preinstalled anything isn't going to appeal or sway many of them.

Building drivers and giving support can be a bitch too.

Reply Score: 1

Standards, standards, standards
by waynej on Mon 27th Jul 2009 08:37 UTC
waynej
Member since:
2007-07-04

I can't see how this ballot option is a realistic option. As things stand, too many people still associate IE with "The Internet" and fail to even realize that there are alternatives.

"What's a firey fox?"

"Opera... that's that there dang screechy moosic ain't it?"

"Safari?.. Dang it I ain't goin' to Africa.."

(apologies for the inferences above)

Without providing the users with explanations, data, etc. how can anyone expect them to make an informed decision and if you do provide the info, do you really think people will take the time to read it?

A far better option in my opinion would have been to compel Microsoft to install a fully standards compliant browser within a given period of time. If the browser supplied isn't compliant within the timeframe then they must have a panel within the window pointing out that the application is not standards compliant and advise of alternatives. (eg Acid 3 and browsers have to score >90 and include a security assessment. This is just an example - not advocating it).

Where, with the ballot system, is the incentive for Microsoft to improve their offering?

I use Opera all the time and have converted a number of people - both IE and Firefox - users and would love to see greater adoption of what is IMO easily the best browser available but I don't think this is the way.

Reply Score: 1

Great for the incumbents...
by rajan r on Tue 28th Jul 2009 21:53 UTC
rajan r
Member since:
2005-07-27

... really sucky for new entrants. Funny competition law leading to barriers of entry being raised up in the name of competition.

And it isn't as if this is 1998 when Internet Explorer cornered the overwhelming majority of the market and it may be hard to believe that Microsoft's monopoly cannot be eroded without a healthy dose of government intervention.

Then suddenly, browser funded by a corporation that, until much later on, used Internet Explorer in its popular ISP, took a huge chunk of market share. Apple and Google soon entered the field, the latter obviously sensing blood drawn.

In such circumstances, it is hard to be sympathetic with Opera. Great browser, no doubt. Opera undoubtably have brilliant software engineers; Google, Apple and Mozilla may do well to poach them. Opera obviously didn't bother to invest in anyone with a bit of good business sense.

On the plus side, seeing Microsoft's offered settlement, Opera invested on good European competition law lawyers. Kudos. The world's a better place now.

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