Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Jul 2009 07:29 UTC
Opera Software Last week, the European Commission announced that Microsoft is willing to implement a browser ballot screen in Windows so that users can select a browser to install when installing Windows or when setting up their OEM computer. While this makes Opera very happy, Opera would like to see Ubuntu and Apple offer such a ballot screen too.
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RE[4]: What about Maxthon?
by MollyC on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: What about Maxthon?"
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

I think Microsoft should have stayed with their original plan. It's totally legal. Well, antitrust law in the EU is even more vague than it is in the US; trials aren't even required, simply decrees by the EC which are rubberstamped by the appeals court. But would even the EU appeals court rubberstamp an EC decree saying that Microsoft not shipping a browser was illegal? The EU appeals court would lose whatever credibility it had left and become a laughing stock around the globe.

Here are some problems with the ballot scheme:

Right now the EU is saying that the top 5 usage share browsers should appear first, each accompanied by a product pitch, while the rest of the browsers are simply listed below. So the EU is in effect freezing the market into these top 5 browsers. How is a new browser supposed to break into the top 5 when those are getting preferable ballot placement based on their share, which increases (or maintains) their share, which keeps them in the top 5 on the ballot, which maintains their share, which keeps them in the top 5, etc, etc...

The ballot scheme deprives the OEM of making deals with the browser companies. Google is (or was) paying Dell to bundle Google Desktop with their computers (which is why I stopped considering Dells). Google would be more than happy to pay Dell to bundle Chrome as the default browser. But this ballot scheme precludes any such deals like that.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: What about Maxthon?
by sbergman27 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 01:11 in reply to "RE[4]: What about Maxthon?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I think Microsoft should have stayed with their original plan. It's totally legal.

And the worst possible arrangement for the user. Or do you not care about the user?

Right now the EU is saying that the top 5 usage share browsers should appear first, each accompanied by a product pitch, while the rest of the browsers are simply listed below. So the EU is in effect freezing the market into these top 5 browsers. How is a new browser supposed to break into the top 5 when

The goal is to ensure healthy competition, not to make it easy for small-fry competitors. Keep that in mind. The goal is to ensure healthy competition which benefits the citizens of the EU, not to help out underdog browser makers. (A point which Opera has consistently missed, BTW.) The ballot scheme, implemented properly, could achieve that goal. I'm not sure that more than five major browser players would even be beneficial to the people. There's monoculture, there's choice, and then there's anarchy. While I believe deeply in choice, too much can be detrimental. I guess it all depends on how well industry standards are really able to keep things glued together on the web.

If a new browser did come along which was so compelling that people really wanted to use it... well, we already have a precedent for a browser being able to achieve significant share against even greater unfairness. Not a majority share. Not even close to an even share. But surely enough to have gotten it into the top five should this ballot plan be used. I don't see that being a problem with the ballot plan.

Regarding deals with OEMs... I would as soon see that come to an end. Make it a meritocracy. Deals with OEMs are what has given the (Windows) world the gift of crapplets.

Edited 2009-07-28 01:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: What about Maxthon?
by hangman on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:48 in reply to "RE[5]: What about Maxthon?"
hangman Member since:
2007-09-05

The goal is to ensure healthy competition, not to make it easy for small-fry competitors. Keep that in mind. The goal is to ensure healthy competition which benefits the citizens of the EU, not to help out underdog browser makers. (A point which Opera has consistently missed, BTW.)

What on earth are you going on about? Opera is the #3 browser globally:

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-monthly-200901-200906-bar

And in Europe Opera is bigger than Safari and Chrome combined!

http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-eu-monthly-200901-200906-bar

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: What about Maxthon?
by hangman on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:52 in reply to "RE[4]: What about Maxthon?"
hangman Member since:
2007-09-05

I think Microsoft should have stayed with their original plan. It's totally legal.

No, it was not totally legal as long as the EU said it wasn't.

But would even the EU appeals court rubberstamp an EC decree saying that Microsoft not shipping a browser was illegal?

The question is not if it was illegal. The question is if it was sufficient to restore competition in the market. And it wasn't. If you rob a bank and get caught, do you think that YOU will be able to dictate what your own punishment should be? That's just laughable.

So the EU is in effect freezing the market into these top 5 browsers.

Which is much better than freezing it to just one. Also, this will make the barrier to enter the market for new browsers much lower.

The ballot scheme deprives the OEM of making deals with the browser companies.

No it doesn't, but your Google comment raises an interesting problem. Google has a dominant position in the search market. They can offer revenue sharing with a 50/50 split, while Opera, Mozilla and others could only achieve a 33/33/33 split (browser vendor/OEM/search provider).

This could quickly get into anti-competitive territory.

But this ballot scheme precludes any such deals like that.

No it does not.

Reply Parent Score: 1