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: 0.5% share threshold
by sbergman27 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:53 UTC in reply to "0.5% share threshold"
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

Neither of these scenarios is desireable to the EC, so they pick the "Opera threshold". What a joke.

Molly, I'm beginning to wonder if you are pro-consumer, or just anti-EC. Your vendetta is showing, and it looks suspiciously similar to that of the rabid MS hating bile-spewers around here. (As opposed to those who simply disapprove and speak out when it is appropriate.)

I'd have expected better from you.

Where to set the bar is a judgement call, and as such people are going to disagree. Personally, I'd go for the top four, which would be IE, FF, Chrome, and Safari. That seems a natural break point, as Opera is in a badly trailing 5th place. (And I'll admit that the highly annoying nature of both its execs and its user-base might contribute to my inclination to leave them out.)

But the ballot screen strategy is, in itself, pretty sound, and is, in my opinion, far and away the best solution. It gives regular users choice... but choice of the "point and click" nature that they can deal with. (Nothing messy like having to know anything or anything hard like that.)

Thom has an idea that forcing MS to make IE more standards compliant is the answer. Not a bad thought. But I put that in the same category as "forcing world peace". How do you do it? What does it mean? How do you measure it? How do you keep them from breaking the web in a way that your tests don't register? I just don't see how that could be executed successfully.

Edited 2009-07-28 15:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:56 in reply to "RE: 0.5% share threshold"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Thom has an idea that forcing MS to make IE more standards compliant is the answer. Not a bad thought. But I put that in the same category as "forcing world peace". How do you do it? What does it mean? How do you measure it? How do you keep them from breaking the web in a way that your tests don't register? I just don't see how that could successfully be executed.


True. I haven't thought about that very deeply - it's more of a general desire than an implementable plan or something.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: 0.5% share threshold
by sbergman27 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 16:46 in reply to "RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

True. I haven't thought about that very deeply - it's more of a general desire than an implementable plan or something.

Unfortunately, a monopoly situation is a perfectly valid corner for a free market to get into. Thus it is an unfortunate fact of life that regulation is sometimes going to be necessary to either prop up market competition, or to restore it. Of the two, restoring it is by far the best option, when possible.

If you just prop it up, it means that ongoing regulation is going to be necessary. And in a landscape which changes like computing (and not to mention working with an uncooperative player like MS), it means that new tests and tactics are going to be necessary as the web evolves, and as the regulated entity finds ways around your previous tests. And all those new tests and requirements are going to have to be right. And on and on forever. Honestly, (and no offense intended) that's the way I see your otherwise appealing idea going.

On the other hand, executed properly, I could see the browser ballot strategy actually restoring true competition. And once restored, MS would have every incentive to act in a truly competitive way. So with a minimum of regulation, you get the market back on its feet and the free market forces restored back to health and full vigor, which is, I think, what most of us would like to see. Even those who see the need for regulation generally prefer to rely on dynamic free market forces where practicable. (Right?)

To be sure, there are details to the ballot screen plan that need to be gotten right. As Molly points out, setting the height of the bar is a question without a completely obvious answer. But at least this strategy minimizes the details that have to be gotten right, and if the plan is successful, even that bit of regulation may be able to go away, someday.

Sure, it's yet another annoying thing Windows users have to do after unboxing their computers. (Which frankly gets a big boo-hoo from me.) But choice of browser is an important part of installation. Certainly more important than clicking through license agreements for the crapplets so thoughtfully installed for users by the OEM.

Edited 2009-07-28 16:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold
by MollyC on Wed 29th Jul 2009 05:40 in reply to "RE: 0.5% share threshold"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

sbergman, I'm sorry to disappoint you, that you "expected better" of me. ;)

But you're right. I don't like the EC. Because I don't think they are a just organization. I think they abuse their power. And I think that among the most dangerous things is a government law enforcement agency that is unchecked (the EU appeals courts are a joke, just rubberstamping whatever the EC does) and is on a power/ego trip (we'll show everyone who's boss!). Their decrees are based on whim and predispositions. They provide no due process to reach their verdicts of guilt. The accused is not provided a chance to face their accusers, cross examine accusers, or cross examine evidence. Indeed, the accused doesn't even have the right to know the evidence and accusers against it if the EC doesn't want them to know, let alone cross examine them. It's straight out of a Kafka novel.

And the EU Appeals courts are like most nations' appeals courts, in that they don't allow for examination of evidence either, merely examination of procedure. So the accused can't cross examine evidence at the appeals court either.

So the EC decrees are made without due process, without real trials. So whatever entity the EC is mad at or predisposed to rule against, they do, and nobody can stop them. Then, once the guitly verdict is decreed, the punishment is arbitrary. The fines have no rhyme or reason. The solutions are dumb too, like Windows XP N.

Then there's the double/triple/quadruple jeopardy. How many times is Microsoft to be fined for the same offense? Seems that the EC has fined Microsoft multiple times for bundling IE in the 1990s.

And this latest incident where the EC decreed that it is illegal for Microsoft to not ship a browser at all? There's absolutely nothing in EU antitrust law that would indicate such, but EU antitrust law is so vague that it basically boils down to "Whatever the EC says". So if they say that it's illegal for Windows to not have a browser, then that's the way it is. Like Pharoah's decrees or something.

I think the EC is out of control. I think the 1.5 billion dollar fine against Intel was absurd. I thinks Windows XP N was absurd. I think the notion that Windows MUST bundle a browser is absurd. And, to the point I made in my GP post, I think the EU's decision to choose a ballot browser share threshold that's so tiny, but required to be tiny in order to let Opera sneak in is absurd. And I think this ballot screws over any new browsers that may come along. The ballot presents a barrier of entry, but not by Microsoft, but rather government mandated, which is an order of magnitude more troublesome.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: 0.5% share threshold
by hangman on Wed 29th Jul 2009 15:34 in reply to "RE[2]: 0.5% share threshold"
hangman Member since:
2007-09-05

I don't like the EC.

Good for you. Now stop derailing the discussion with off-topic whining. There is no doubt that Microsoft has broken the law.

Then there's the double/triple/quadruple jeopardy. How many times is Microsoft to be fined for the same offense? Seems that the EC has fined Microsoft multiple times for bundling IE in the 1990s.

Microsoft isn't being taken to task for BUNDLING IE as such. It's being taken to task for abusing its monopoly in one market to destroy the competition in a different market.

And even if the EU had fined Microsoft for breaking the same law in the past, that does NOT prevent them from finining Microsoft again if the crime continues to be committed! And clearly, Microsoft has continued its predatory practices.

But you are probably recalling incorrectly. They were busted in the U.S.

And this latest incident where the EC decreed that it is illegal for Microsoft to not ship a browser at all?

When did the EC decree that this is illegal? They didn't. They said that simply removing IE was not a sufficient remedy to restore the market. That's not the same as removing IE being "illegal". Jesus Christ, where do you get your nonsense from?

So if they say that it's illegal for Windows to not have a browser, then that's the way it is.

They did not. Stop lying already.

I think the EC is out of control.

Clearly not, since they bust monopolists that break the law.

I think the notion that Windows MUST bundle a browser is absurd.

It isn't. Microsoft BROKE THE LAW, remember?

And, to the point I made in my GP post, I think the EU's decision to choose a ballot browser share threshold that's so tiny, but required to be tiny in order to let Opera sneak in is absurd.

Stop blatantly lying already. The browser share was set to 5%. Opera has nearly 10% in Europe, and is bigger than Chrome and Safari combined.

And I think this ballot screws over any new browsers that may come along. The ballot presents a barrier of entry, but not by Microsoft, but rather government mandated, which is an order of magnitude more troublesome.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

The ballot will force web designers to code for standards instead of browsers. This means that the barrier to entry is LOWER than it used to be because new browsers will have to waste less time being bug-compatible with other browsers.

In conclusion: You seem to be either extremely dishonest or extremely ignorant. I don't know which. Either way, your straw men, constant repetition of the same old lies from MS HQ show that there is something fishy going on here.

Reply Parent Score: 1