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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It's not about the market share
by johnnysaucepn on Sat 17th Jan 2009 17:21 UTC
johnnysaucepn
Member since:
2006-08-22

The point continues to be missed, it appears. The issue is not that an OS shouldn't be allowed to offer a web browser application, the problem is that MS have used their 'default' monopoly as a way to enforce their own technologies on the web, restricting development of the web via agreed standards.

Standards are agreed, MS ignores them, no-one can use them, developers are forced to conform to MS technology instead, further fragmenting the web audience and tying users (home ones specifically) to using Windows machines for out-of-the-box browsing instead.

The difference with Apple/Safari is that Safari has so far been committed to open standards. Firefox advocates have also managed to push their way in by campaigning at their own expense, but they shouldn't have had to.

Regardless of whether a browser is provided for free or purchased, they all still depend on financial support garnered from active users in order to survive.

Edited 2009-01-17 17:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

developers are forced to conform to MS technology instead


Developers are not forced to do anything, they choose to because it is easier that way, not because they can't use other technologies.

Reply Parent Score: 1

anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

"developers are forced to conform to MS technology instead


Developers are not forced to do anything, they choose to because it is easier that way, not because they can't use other technologies.
"

I know that it is hard to be serious in the comments section, but you don't really believe all those web site developers chose to support IE6 because it is so great.

Heck I would be surprised if they would support IE7 given the choice. Probably IE8.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The point continues to be missed, it appears. The issue is not that an OS shouldn't be allowed to offer a web browser application, the problem is that MS have used their 'default' monopoly as a way to enforce their own technologies on the web, restricting development of the web via agreed standards.


This is, by far, the most ridiculous argument I've heard in favor of unbundling internet explorer.

Having a litmus test based on an arbitrary collection of standards is a dangerous position to take, who decides the threshold for failure when complying with standards? IE may not be the best, but it complies to some standards, does it fail your test because it doesn't comply to some others?

What about Firefox? It complies to some but not all. Same for Opera, and same for Safari. No browser will ever be perfect, and frankly, though a lot of people do not like hearing this, end users really do not care. It's all technical mumbo-jumbo to them.

Would you hypothetically disqualify Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera from this test of yours, simply because they fail to fully implement some standards?

Why do you hold IE to a different expectation than you do these browsers?

Several posts in this thread have alluded to the fact that the "default" gives them the competitive edge in that users are usually too dumb, or not very motivated to install alternatives.

This is true, but it would speak to the motivation they would have, or maybe even the confusion that would be introduced, if they were asked up front, potentially when buying a Computer "By the way, which browser do you want?"

That market is not a very advertised market, so they would be in the dark. I know several people who refer to IE simply as "The Internet". Why would you introduce such a hurdle?

What's the end game in all this? A bump in market share? Firefox has already been able to claim significant and impressive numbers, Opera has been surpassed by Chrome in a very small amount of time.

This seems to me like Opera is crying over spilt milk.

I understand completely why Microsoft has to play by different rules, be under more scrutiny than others, they are a convicted monopolist -- but this is getting ridiculous.

A bigger testament to how this is a tax payer waste is the result of their last attack on Microsoft, what happened? XP version N? How much did that sell again?

No one's life was made better, no competitor got any edge outside of statistical noise. No nothing.

Can you honestly sit here and say that Firefox is not very competitive? It caused Microsoft to wake up and release IE7 to try to save some face after the mess that was IE6.

Do people seriously think that IE is dominant primarily because it's included in Windows? Perhaps, but Internet Explorer gained it's entrenched status by beating Netscape in the browser wars.

This was due to the sheer size (and resources) of Microsoft, and the fact that IE was just better than Netscape during the browser wars.

Perhaps the bundling impacted the browser wars, maybe it tipped the scales for IE, but that was in the 90s, this is 2009 and you have Firefox with 20% of the market.

You can't say that there's no competition there.

To wrap up, I would like to say that I legitimately would like to discuss this, and I'm open to other viewpoints.

Reply Parent Score: 4

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

The OS should come with no web browser (the linux kernel doesn't include a browser either), and then third parties should be free to bundle multiple components together to create a distribution.
Very few people buy windows retail anyway, they get it bundled with hardware from an OEM.
Make all of the components separate and modular, giving OEMs the choice. And allow OEMs to sell standalone retail software bundles too (the same thing that comes pre-installed, but available separately not tied to hardware).

While you're right about opera/safari/firefox not complying to all standards, there is a large subset to which all of these browsers comply, while IE is massively behind. Because of the large market share of IE, noone develops websites using these standards so other browsers have less incentive to implement them anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 1

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Standards are agreed, MS ignores them, no-one can use them, developers are forced to conform to MS technology instead, further fragmenting the web audience and tying users (home ones specifically) to using Windows machines for out-of-the-box browsing instead.


The main flaw of this argument is that I am running Windows and use Opera and Firefox on a daily basis. It is very rare these days that I have to fire up Internet Explorer for anything. I can even use Autopatcher for OS updates.

This argument might've been a lot more valid 10 years ago, but things are not the same as they once were. IE has released IE7, which is a lot more standards-compliant than was IE6, and IE8 will probably be even more so. Firefox has gained enough marketshare so that most sites aren't specifically targeted to IE anymore.

Don't get me wrong... there is some truth to what you say about what MS tried to do, but they have ultimately not succeeded. And do you know what? We haven't needed any government entity to get us this far, and we sure as hell don't need one now.

Reply Parent Score: 2

slight Member since:
2006-09-10

No you're looking at this from the wrong end. As a web developer I *have* to conform to IE6's way of seeing the web, which is broken in more ways than I can count. The fact that some users have decent browsers is neither here nor there, as a commercial developer you absolutely have to conform to the lowest common denominator with noticeable market share.

Another poster above did make a good point that there's no way to disqualify a browser based on compliance with certain standards as no browser's standards support is perfect, but the fact remains that IE has been a *major* brake on web development and the deployment of new standards for a very long time.

Reply Parent Score: 3