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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This is almost perfect
by CaptainN- on Fri 12th Jun 2009 15:17 UTC
Member since:

This is exactly what should be done. It should be up to the hardware manufacturers to decide what they want to ship by default with their own computers. That's how it used to work in the Netscape days, and that's how it should work again. Let Opera, Mozilla and Google compete for the attention of OEMs. Dell, HP and others now have another avenue to compete on - the quality of the web browsing experience on their hardware, and since they have to manually put IE8 in anyway, I don't see why there isn't a chance to get them to look to an alternative, and I just gave them the argument for why they should choose one - like Firefox.

In my own neighborhood, I used to do side PC setup and cleanup work, and I switched every one of my clients to Firefox for one reason. They will no longer get hundreds of address bars, random active x garbage, and scamware to clog up their computers. It has worked beautifully, to the point where I don't need to clean their PCs any more (I do other work, like setting up printers - but they remain scamware free).

There's a compelling argument for OEMs to supply another browser by default, and frankly I think Opera 10 Firefox and Chrome are all in a position to make that argument (Opera wasn't until version 10 - auto update is an absolute must - the fact they didn't do it until now, shows how they don't understand their market).

The thing, btw, that makes this "almost" perfect, is we still need that uninstall option. That would make this move complete.

Also, I never ever ever, want there to be a choice of browsers shoved down the throats of users of new hardware - that's just a terrible idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE: This is almost perfect
by strcpy on Fri 12th Jun 2009 15:25 in reply to "This is almost perfect"
strcpy Member since:

Also, I never ever ever, want there to be a choice of browsers shoved down the throats of users of new hardware - that's just a terrible idea.

You mean like Firefox is shoved down to the throats of Ubuntu users or Lynx to the throats of OpenBSD users?

Generally I think the assumed or real monopoly position in the past, present or future is an endless coffin for similar accusations. What next?

As a consumer I want Emacs to be an option for notepad, HFS an option for NTFS, and a lot of other things...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: This is almost perfect
by CaptainN- on Fri 12th Jun 2009 15:40 in reply to "RE: This is almost perfect"
CaptainN- Member since:

I actually meant that whoever is offering the platform (a sub-platform of some other one, that you ship on your OEM hardware - whether it's based on Ubuntu, Xandros or Windows) should absolutely be making this decision for their customers. Users are unprepared to decide which browser to run (if they even know what that means), when they first turn on their machines - they have enough headaches with new hardware, they don't need another one.

This is and should always have been an OEM decision - they've been skating for a long time now by just always pointing at MS and saying it's their fault the computer runs like crap. That has harmed our web based ecosystem, but more than that, I think it was a mistake from a customer support perspective (ask Dell about their customer support reputation). The more of these kinds of decisions that OEMs are able to take on, and stand behind and support, the better off they will be.

That is exactly what MS did to compete unfairly - they offered discounts on Windows licensing to OEMs if they shipped with IE instead of Netscape (that is the point of their abuse). That's what makes this such a great idea. The thing to watch out for is what kinds of deals they make to keep Dell and others installing IE - that's where Mozilla, Opera and Google need to understand that they have to compete - MS knows what's up, and they will absolutely compete here.

To be clear, the choice of which browser to use will never be an end user choice - most of them are entirely unprepared to actually make that decision, and techies like us should stop pretending they are. The battle with browsers is at the OEM level. The same is true for operating systems. End users don't buy operating systems, and unless they are very savvy, they don't install alternative browsers (even if they might get the increasingly rare techie neighbor kid to "clean up" their computer). It just doesn't work that way.

Reply Parent Score: 7

jabbotts Member since:

How's that MS injected .net vulnerability treating your FF users? It's sure chewed our security decisions in one simply Windows update.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: This is almost perfect
by l3v1 on Sat 13th Jun 2009 06:28 in reply to "This is almost perfect"
l3v1 Member since:

Let Opera, Mozilla and Google compete for the attention of OEMs. Dell, HP and others

You know that's not a competition, right? That who's got more convincing power (which translates directly to money, meaning discounts, cash, or else) will have a chair, the others will stand.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: This is almost perfect
by CaptainN- on Mon 15th Jun 2009 17:06 in reply to "RE: This is almost perfect"
CaptainN- Member since:

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1