Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Jun 2009 13:55 UTC
Internet Explorer Yesterday, Microsoft dropped a bomb by announcing that all versions of Windows 7 released in Europe would ship without Internet Explorer pre-installed. This was in answer to the EU antitrust investigation currently under way regarding possible illegal bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. The first reactions to this news are coming in, with Opera and the EU both lamenting the move.
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RE[2]: This is almost perfect
by CaptainN- on Mon 15th Jun 2009 17:06 UTC in reply to "RE: This is almost perfect"
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Doh! I wish I would have seen this earlier. :-)

I think it's the only kind of competition that you can reasonably expect from the PC industry. My ideal would be to see many home PC vendors that compete for sales based on the strength of their software stack - Apple does exactly that, Asus has tried it out too. The industry that built up on top of the MS stack, can really only compete on price - and that has had it's affect on the entire industry - good and bad.

Ideally, Dell, HP, Asus, etc. should compete by providing custom tuned versions of middleware - Windows or Linux, which would be binary compatible with one another (or source compat at the very least - which could help open the door for alternative hardware, like ARM).

Many people see the current landscape as competition between Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. That's incorrect - it should look more like Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, Red Hat, etc. The advantage of open source is that it creates a kind of competition that enables more robust commerce. Without proprietary lock-in, when a dominant company misses an opportunity, anyone with technical skill and business savvy, should be able to take the source base, and extend it to do what they need, and hopefully sell it at a profit.

End users are not going to make good decisions about which browser or OS to use. They will simply make a decision about which hardware to purchase from the store. The onus on creating a better market for alternatives really does lye with OEMs - and I think Asus has shown there is a wide open market for those alternatives. Software sells hardware, just ask Apple.

Users will never be the goal keepers many OSS advocates would like to see them become. In fact, as time goes on, I'm seeing them become less prepared to make that kind of technical decision than they were just a few years ago. They're just not interested in being technical enthusiasts.

In the absence of a more competitive OS landscape, I'll take this inch toward competition as a sign of progress. If we can understand what opportunity this brings, and get some OEMs to ship an alternative browser, this could show the way forward to a real competitive landscape. Just one step closer to real diversity.

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