Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 17th Jan 2009 15:29 UTC
Internet Explorer After successfully battling Microsoft over the company's bundling of Windows Media Player, the European Union is now ready for more. The European Commission has charged Microsoft with violating competition laws because of the Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.
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the real issue
by psycroptic on Mon 19th Jan 2009 11:57 UTC
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I would hope that the EU (or whoever the filing party might be here) realizes the true root of the "anti-competitive" nature of what Microsoft was/is doing. I don't really think that installing a default browser into the OS (even when the OS does indeed possess monopoly power over most of the world's PC market) goes against any sort of logic or ethics. Rather, it's the extent to which it has been bundled. On most other desktop operating systems, the browser is a separated component from the OS. In OSX, all Linux distributions, and so on, the "Web Browser" application can be removed by the user after the fact. Yes, most will come with at least one, and some Linux distributions include four or five different browsers, but the difference with Windows is that IE is entrenched within the OS itself, to a point at which removing it becomes no longer an option. (And no, "hiding access" to an application is not the same as removing it.) The heart of the issue here is that to use Windows, you MUST have IE on your system, and we've seen flaws in different OS components that nonetheless use IE code (I vaguely remember a Help&Support bug a while back that made all Windows systems vulnerable whether you were actively using IE or not.)

With all this said, I'm pretty sure that at the moment, the Web and most of the people who use it have wisened up to the fact that proprietary standards scaffolded over what is inherently a (mostly) free network just introduces more problems and headaches than any "problems" it purports to solve. So, many of the issues regarding proprietary IE-only language are fading pretty quickly. I think computer users with any sort of technological competence absolutely have the ability and wherewithal to download and install a different browser (I've been doing it with firefox/mozilla on multiple OS's including Windows for over 5 years without any problems at all.)

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