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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Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Fri 12th Jun 2009 14:20 UTC
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This looks to be only the opening shots in a little spat that will probably result in a compromise. Instead of criticizing the EU, folks might prefer to read a part of its announcement (see below). I think the EU is correct to say that instead of offering choice Microsoft is offering none (and playing dog in the manger). I'd guess that Microsoft are simply trying to set up a chess game with the aim of getting their way, in the end. Their way being Internet Exploder on their own terms.

With the browser become more - much more - and not less central to using a computer, there is no way that Microsoft are going to throw up interest in web browsers.

" ... the Commission has suggested that consumers should be offered a choice of browser, not that Windows should be supplied without a browser at all.

At the level of both computer manufacturers and retail sales, the Commission's Statement of Objections (SO) suggested that consumers should be provided with a genuine choice of browsers. Given that over 95% of consumers acquire Windows pre-installed on a PC, it is particularly important to ensure consumer choice through the computer manufacturer channel.

"As for retail sales, which amount to less than 5% of total sales, the Commission had suggested to Microsoft that consumers be provided with a choice of web browsers. Instead Microsoft has apparently decided to supply retail consumers with a version of Windows without a web browser at all. Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less.

"As for sales to computer manufacturers, Microsoft's proposal may potentially be more positive. It is noted that computer manufacturers would appear to be able to choose to install Internet Explorer – which Microsoft will supply free of charge - another browser or multiple browsers. Were the Commission to conclude that Microsoft’s behaviour has been abusive, it would have to consider whether this proposal would in itself be sufficient to create genuine consumer choice on the web browser market. The Commission would inter alia take into account the long standing nature of Microsoft's conduct. It would also have to consider whether this initial step of technical separation of IE from Windows could be negated by other actions by Microsoft."

And don't forget the point about OEM installs taking 95 per cent of the market.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by moleskine
by strcpy on Fri 12th Jun 2009 14:59 in reply to "Comment by moleskine"
strcpy Member since:

I am little lost here with mixed feelings about the whole deal.

If choice is offered to consumers, does this mean that Microsoft has to provide also support for all browsers it offers as a choice?

Don't just think consumer or OEM support etc., but support as a general software engineering practice; endless patching, updating and keeping track of security issues in products of other commercial companies.

This is just one weird thing that popped to my mind.

(As a footnote I may also add: while the media and public is all crazy about anything related to Microsoft, at the very same time Intel -- that big "friend" of OSS ;) -- has been found guilty to much more serious economic crimes and abuse of monopoly position.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:

By no means is MS alone in market abuse or partnered with other abusers for that matter. This topic is simply about MS particular abuse. If the article was about Intel's abuses then including MS would be equally out of place unless the specific topic was a connection between the two cases.

As for support. No one expect MS to support Firefox or Safari as it stands now. Why would it need to change? They still go Help -> Support and get forwarded to the respective software developer. At worst, the vendors would have to add a little blurb to clarify confusion; unless confusion was the intended outcome.

Reply Parent Score: 2