Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2009 19:10 UTC
Internet & Networking We've been talking about the browser ballot screen for a while now, which led to some obvious questions we couldn't answer. As it turns out (and I completely missed this), Microsoft actually posted a fairly detailed description of its proposal [.doc] on its website last Friday. It details everything from what it means not to have Internet Explorer installed to what the ballot screen will look like.
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why the complaints
by waynej on Wed 29th Jul 2009 07:48 UTC
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Given all the historical complaining about the mess that is IE and the complaints about the monopolistic nature of Microsoft, I don't quite see where the complaints (especially from a knowledgeable group such as the posters on this forum) are coming from.

IE has been a disaster for years. Due to the refusal to fully embrace established web standards, many web sites (though not so much now) would not fully work with anything but IE – surely not a good situation?

The acknowledged ease with which IE allows malware to corrupt machines has been a favourite subject for many years.

There has historically been no incentive for Microsoft to improve their product to address the many shortcomings with their browser. Inertia is a powerful force, especially when coupled to ignorance of the alternatives.

Then along came Firefox. Now let's be clear, in my opinion, the main innovation with this browser has been the marketing and the development model. Other than the ‘add-in' facility I don't really see great innovation. Opera has innovated for years. Firefox is excellent, no doubt, but innovative, no.

So where are we?

Default installation in Windows gives us a malware attracting, non-standards compliant ‘mare of a program. We have Firefox that is an excellent piece of software that has rightly taken a chunk out of the IE market share. We also have Opera, a program that really has suffered from the early releases where it is was necessary to pay for the non-ad supported version. This created a cloud of negativity that has never dissipated.

The EU, at the prompting of others, looks at the situation and deems that due to the monopolistic position of windows the position above needs to be examined and something done and we now know the 'solution' to the problem.

Why the complaints?

This move will improve things in my opinion. The worst case scenario is that MS will have to improve IE. As more people are exposed to the alternative programs available, the options will be exercised by ever more people. And unless IE improves to keep pace, MS will lose out. We can all see that in the future, more and more work will be done within the browser and this is a market MS cannot afford to lose out in.

Many are whining about Opera's stance. Do you realise how much could be at stake in the future? If you were in their position would you do differently?

Another point. When I install PCLinuxOS, I get 2 browsers by default – Firefox and Konqueror. 100% more choice than with Windows – not a bad thing in my book.

Edited 2009-07-29 07:50 UTC

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