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EU Antitrust Troubles Continue For Microsoft

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-on-the-hook dept.

Microsoft 593

Julie188 writes "Opera Software's year-old antitrust complaint against Microsoft took another step toward being vindicated, and the Oslo-based browser maker can't help crowing over the European Commission's decision. Opera had filed a complaint with the EC in December, 2007, contending that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows violated antitrust rules. Yesterday, the EC sent a 'Statement of Objections (SO)' to Microsoft with a preliminary finding that bundling IE with Windows does indeed constitute an antitrust abuse. Microsoft has eight weeks to plead its case and change the EC's mind, an unlikely outcome if ever there was one. Opera's CEO said, 'On behalf of all Internet users, we commend the Commission for taking the next step towards restoring competition in a market that Microsoft has strangled for more than a decade.'"

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omg so red (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493789)

ugggg

But what about...? (0)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493791)

How likely is this to affect the US?

Removing IE breaks a lot of functionality in XP, so I doubt they can simply have bundled and unbundled product lines like they do with WMP. Windows would require massive retrofitting to make IE that replacable.

So would MS maintain two very diffrent OSs in order to continue selling the completely integrated product in America, or would they make IE swappable?

Re:But what about...? (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493857)

In all likelihood, Microsoft would not actually remove IE, they would just create a registry key that enabled or disabled the web browser functionality. Such a key might already exist, put in place just in case the US government demanded that they remove IE from Windows.

Re:But what about...? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493969)

The question I have for Obama is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single fat colored mammy sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

And as far as Microsoft's illegal monopoly goes, I'm sure B. Hussein Obama doesn't give a rat's ass. For my part, I give Microsoft's illegal monopoly two thumbs up.

Re:But what about...? (4, Interesting)

magsol (1406749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493877)

They might be able to get away with obeying the court's decision (provided that is there decision...there's still time for Microsoft to bribe them like they did at ISO for OOXML) for every release of Windows from 7 onward. I somewhat doubt - unless the EU is really that hellbent on punishing Microsoft for all its evil deeds - that the order would be retroactive for all previous versions of the operating system.

Re:But what about...? (0, Offtopic)

magsol (1406749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493883)

*find: "(provided that is there decision"
*replace: "(provided that is their decision"

I cannot read or write.

Re:But what about...? (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493945)

Nah, they wouldn't have to go that far. I'm sure the nice folks at Opera(and Mozilla as well) would be happy to settle for having Opera and Firefox preinstalled along with IE on a default Windows install, and then letting the user decide which one they wanted. Then they wouldn't have to rip IE out and Opera couldn't claim an unfair advantage, since their browser was right there on the desktop besides IE. Shouldn't be hard to add Opera to the disc image either.

Re:But what about...? (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493987)

Removing IE breaks a lot of functionality in XP, so I doubt they can simply have bundled and unbundled product lines like they do with WMP. Windows would require massive retrofitting to make IE that replacable.

They tried that defense (intimately tied to the OS) at the original antitrust trials and an expert was able to remove IE back then in less than an hour.

The FACT that Microsoft has made IE more indespensable to windows, not less, pretty much is giving the Justice Department a big middle finger. No Linux distro I know of nor OS X fundamentally needs it's OS to do updates or anything like that. It's just BS on MS's part.

I hope they get shafted by the EU, since I feel shafted everytime MS forces me to use IE for one of their piddly little tasks.

Re:But what about...? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494133)

Microsoft uses IE for a great many things keeping security within windows.

Besides the fact that you can simply just get firefox and use the IE emulator for anything IE required. I rarely use IE unless it's required and even then it's only 1 click emulation start. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Aren't other browsers already bundled into new PC's anyways? I'm quite content with free browsers out there. I can't see myself ever paying for one in the future. Opera makes a halfway decent browser for mobile phones, but I don't surf enough sites that require it to pay for it so I use IE instead.

Re:But what about...? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494177)

What IE emulator are you talking about? Surely not IE Tab?

Re:But what about...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494283)

Opera has been free for years, not even ad supported. It's my most-used browser, personally.

Re:But what about...? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494235)

No Linux distro I know of nor OS X fundamentally needs it's OS to do updates or anything like that.

No Linux distro I know of nor OS X fundamentally needs it's BROWSER to do updates or anything like that. Fixed that.

Re:But what about...? (4, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494165)

Removing IE breaks a lot of functionality in XP, so I doubt they can simply have bundled and unbundled product lines

As other posts pointed out, it's not clear if that's even true. If it is, they can always remove the the browser application, while leaving the browser components in.

But there might be another option. Instead of removing IE, they could bundle other browsers, or an installer that will get other browsers, into the default windows install.

Re:But what about...? (1)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494249)

"Windows would require massive retrofitting to make IE that replacable"

Which really says a lot about how far they have gone to maintain their dominance since the Win9X days when IE could still be exorcised by programs like 98lite.

While they might just have to hide IE for the short term, I think in the long term they should be forced to correct Windows and IE to make IE a properly uninstallable program. It is how it should have been from day one.

Sure many third party apps that made the poor decision to embed IE will break too and will need to be fixed, but that just needs to happen. It's not like this is the first time either MS removed a library or bundled app that someone else depends on.

When is someone going to point out... (1, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493801)

That only telling people the full terms of use after they can no longer return the product is also a pretty underhanded means of doing business?

Good (3, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493831)

Its hard to deny that MS has gotten where is has through quality or good practices. I hope the EU does what we should have, and slaps them hard on behalf of all the consumers and competitors they have swindled.

Re:Good (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493845)

Whoops! You all know what I mean :-)

Microsoft products ARE better (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494565)

I would think the argument that Microsoft swindles its customers is foolish. There is stuff that Ubuntu does that I think Microsoft is remiss in not doing, certainly. Ubuntu's out of the box DVD burning and ISO viewing capabilities are certainly better than what Windows offers, but, to say that Linux is better is silly. To say that Microsoft rips its customers off, is just ignorant.

Really, the only real weak link in the Microsoft stack is actually IE. But IE was better than everyone else for almost 7 years, and, the only reason its lagging is arguably because Google is writing 50M checks a year to Mozilla and is also probably spending as much on Chrome. Similarly, Apache enjoys its success against IIS because Apache is well funded by the consortium of ISPs that use it.

Beyond that, there are some noticable gaps between Linux and Windows.

Right now, my Vista desktop is in a lot of ways far more polished and more attractive than the Linux desktop is. The Windows 95 desktop of Start Bar and multiview folders is a design that has proven so successful that even Apple's dockbar is closer to it than the original Mac Finder (it's even at the bottom now!), and of course, that 9x bar is ripped off completely by KDE and Gnome, but with "other stuff". Sure KDE 4.x struggles along with its search in the start bar trick, but it works swimmingly well on my Vista right now.

Internally, a brief scan of Vista shows an operating system where Linux lacks and in some rather strong ways. Right off the wheel, Windows desktop tends to get the balance of thread priorities between services and user interface right. There is no answer to WAML on Linux. There is no answer to DirectX 10.

Everyone rips the Windows SDK but it has fonts native to the drawing API. Honestly, not having fonts with X might be hyped as a good architectural support but honestly its a copout because X lets you draw everything else. But if anything vindicates Microsoft's GDI model it is that Remote Desktop is proven and solid and excellent with Windows, and Linux doesn't even really use X's remoting capabilities for its remote desktop. So there, you have a Linux operating system that robbed its gui developers of something as basic as fonts in order to achieve a network transparency that you don't even use for your own remote desktops, eschewing a simpler bitmaps based api instead. How foolish is that!

No Linux widget set has the flexibility of the the much maligned USER and COMMON CONTROL widget library that bundles with Windows. The File Open dialogs in Linux are weak compared to Windows XP and offer simply no comparison to that in Windows Vista. ListViews in GTK are ok but they don't have the report view that was added for XP and they certainly don't have all the other fancy stuff that came out with Vista, and finally, yes, even the dated Windows MENU objects are going to be joined by the swank new Office 2007 menu bars. That's right, Office 2007 menus are going to be NATIVE TO WINDOWS 7. Please, desktop Linux? Desktop Windows is simply better, and not just better, but amazingly better and in a lot of ways.

The desktops for Linux are not as universally extensible as those for Windows and largely that's a function of Linux being unable to agree on a single object model whereas COM is now well entrenched, well understood, and at least for inprocess objects, works rather well. Where's IDispatch for Linux?

If we go back up to the desktop, we can have a look at Windows control panel and just perhaps enumerate a few quick things still missing or incomplete in Ubuntu. Accessibility. Speech. Color Profiles.

Then of course we look at system snapshots that Windows let you roll back system versions if you want to.

I'm still waiting for a Linux development product with an integrated forms editor, the same way that has been out since VB and then Visual C++, since, well, 1993, besides Java. KDevelop can't do it. Linux development in some ways is stuck in a world that Microsoft left almost 20 years ago, or, perhaps even longer than that, because, DOS EDIT is in a lot of ways better than even VI ever was.

Nobody has intellisense in a developer tool as good as what is in Visual Studio. I mean, TAB for implement interface has been out for almost 5 years now in Windows world and this has yet to show up Linux. And there's no object workbench, no ... I could go on for days with Visual Studio, but what I love the most is that Intellisense is actually working with the SDK and old style C++ fairly well, and, most importantly -MY CODE TOO-.

When we look at C++ frameworks, everyone rips MFC because it is bloated, but a quick look at what's out there in the Linux world shows that their widget world is not so slim as they would preach. Really, can anyone in the Linux camp call MFC bloated when they are going to war with Qt? Even wxWidgets now advertises that they can do a lot of what MFC can do, and they can, but, it's not lightweight either, and they are still missing the Office 2007 dockbars that were added in the last go around, and their stuff lacks the database connectivity that MFC users take for granted. And, if speed and lightweight are what you want, then, there's really no C++ framework that is as thin or well thought out as WTL.

Open Office can't even carry the jockstrap of Office 2003. Come on, Calc is a joke, there is no Linux answer to Access and even though Word sucks, it sucks a hell of a lot less than Open Office Word Processor.

And, the amazing thing is that MS Office, MS Windows, and a lot of other MS products are written in a mix of assembly language, C and C++, and yet while Linux uses a lot of interpreted and scripting language, it simply cannot keep up everywhere and all the time. Amazing.

Finally, while you are bashing Microsoft, can you tell me, perhaps, where's the FOSS game as good as Age of Empires? Age of Empires is 10 years old now (ooh, maybe older), and its not out there. Oh, I forget, Age Of Empires is built around the DirectPlay lobby, and that comes with, tada, Windows. Where's the bundled DirectPlay lobby with Linux? And, let me know when FOSS has something as good as Flight Simulator is. For that matter, too, Linux has never even approached the failures some of Microsoft's gaming "failures" . Close Combat was a really good squad level World War II.

Where is Close Combat for Linux? Sorry, the Penguin on the ski-board is not as cool as a squad of GI's trying to take on a German MG-42 nest.

Re:Microsoft products ARE better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494663)

I do not agree with you....

Re:Microsoft products ARE better (1, Troll)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494687)

I respect your point, however I do think that monopolistic anti-competitive practices by nature ARE anti-consumer. You also forgot to mention the Mac, which I think is certainly a better desktop. You are not obliged to agree, however I think the UI and various MS "enhancements" presented in Vista show that clearly MS believes that they have some catching up to do. Lets not forget that IE became dominant through the illegal leveraging of Windows. Yes it was better then the competition, but because they cheated.

Re:Microsoft products ARE better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494739)

This is like kicking a man with no legs. Compare windows to OS X for a fair fight.

How do they get a browswer with a fresh install? (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493833)

FTP? Welcome to 1993 if that's the case. They install a lot of other crap with 80% of users choose not to use - iTunes vs Media player for mp3's is a good example.

Re:How do they get a browswer with a fresh install (3, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494059)

How about a non-browser dependent package manager? Someone, please introduce Bill Gates to 2009!

Of course I still prefer buying a nice shiny CD from the Mozilla Store. (Buy one! Better yet, buy a dozen!)

Re:How do they get a browswer with a fresh install (2, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494191)

OEM preinstalls.

The only answer is no browser at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493839)

This is retarded. I, for one, cannot WAIT to go back to having no browser in my OS so I have to go out and buy a second fucking browser. Having a browser included with the OS is essential and just because Slashdot hates Microsoft doesn't make it less so.

Re:The only answer is no browser at all (1)

i'm lost (1247580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493899)

It's simple. Include a CD with 20 web browser installers on it. That will be simple enough for anyone to figure out.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493851)

They can't sell Windows without IE, I need that for downloading Opera!

Remind me again... (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493855)

...how it is that the courts in America ruled that Microsoft was ok to keep bundling IE with Windows, while Microsoft's hopes in the EU when faced with the same issue is basically nil? (by the way, this question is half sarcastic, half totally honest)

Re:Remind me again... (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493953)

Beyond that, how do users get Opera without IE? Is the next step a CD with every known browser on it from your PC manufacturer? Clearly in the EU you can't favor one company over another...

Re:Remind me again... (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493971)

True, one kinda needs IE so they can go get the browser they actually want. :P

Re:Remind me again... (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494359)

I seriously don't think that the EU will personally decide which browser will be included. That would be up to the OEMs. Though, it is not unusual for a government to give an economic advantage to to local companies. Protecting local jobs is not a new thing by any means.

How? (5, Insightful)

cobraR478 (1416353) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493879)

How is the average computer illiterate going to download a browser if Microsoft is not allowed to bundle one? Buy a disc?

Re:How? (0, Flamebait)

cobraR478 (1416353) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493915)

Also (I understand WHY they could consider this an anti-trust issue) but at what point does something become core functionality of an OS? Internet accessibility is vital to personal computing, so it seems reasonable for them to bundle something that helps make the vast majority of that content reachable.

Choice of alternatives at first run (4, Informative)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493927)

IIRC the way Windows XP N was in Europe was that the user was presented with a choice of several non Microsoft media players at first run.

Nobody actually bought N (well, no OEMs, I'm sure a few people did out of principle). My guess is Microsoft tries to offer that as a combined product/SKU with the "no media player" editions and, failing that, it'll get it's own SKU.

Re:Choice of alternatives at first run (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493993)

Found it. Apparently when you double clicked a media file in the XP "N edition" it asked you to install Windows Media Player or Winamp:
http://labnol.blogspot.com/2005/09/windows-xp-n-edition-xp-without-media.html

My guess is OEMs will prebundle a browser and MS will include Opera on there (they started the complaint and have a smaller marketshare than Firefox currently). That is, if anybody buys it. (Apparently only 1,500 XP "N edition" disks have been ordered with no known sales...)

Re:How? (5, Informative)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493955)

A Browser will be bundled with virtually all preinstalled systems by the OEM.

Re:How? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494503)

Yes, Internet Explorer. The way I see it, those of us savvy enough to recognise the superiority of other browsers already know how to download them.

Re:How? (4, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494705)

But even more importantly: The OEM's *CHOICE* of browser will be bundled with virtually all preinstalled systems by the OEM.

Right now they don't have a real choice. IE has to be installed, so they can have just IE, or IE+Firefox or IE+Opera, or IE+Firefox+Opera or so on. Given there is a tendency to avoid having multiple application that do about the same thing installed, everyone currently usually just winds up with IE.

Re:How? (3, Interesting)

juancnuno (946732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494653)

With Windows Update? The average computer illiterate can choose from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome... As an additional bonus, users will get used to installing programs from trusted channels instead of from any .exe they find on the Internet.

sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493887)

*

            Because other major operating system's don't include a web browser. that's like not coming with a copy-paste command nowadays. Its REQUIRED.

            You can still use opera if you want, that's not the issue.

You failed to confirm you are a human. Please start from the beginning and try again. If you are a human, we apologize for the inconvenience...

Anon due to work regulations.

If they pull this off, I want a copy! (2, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493943)

The European Commission were the ones that actually got them to make "Windows N" without media player. And in that case I think MS could have actually left a few core "system-ish" files and still have met their requirements.

This time let's see a version of Windows that doesn't have MSHTML.DLL, SHDOCVW.DLL, or even WININET.DLL. Then perhaps developer finally will stop embedding IE or calling these files bypassing users choice of browser... Or perhaps not. Did Windows N actually ship to stores or get preloaded anywhere?

Well, I guess I will just have to stick with Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95 if I want that sort of thing. :P (BTW, Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.1.14 works great on these!)

Leave the DLLs, I say. (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494051)

That's just silly. Do you really want developers all installing versions of the browser core all over the OS with their applications? Besides, WININET has been replaced by something better anyway.

I have an idea. Let's go and sue Linux distributions for bundling free and open source browsers with it, because it wrecks the market for my $40 closed source browser!

Opera's antitrust case is stupid. Every operating system comes with a browser. Linux comes with a browser. OS/X comes with a browser. iPhone comes with a browser.

So, if Microsoft is screwed by this obvious example of European protectionism, I would hope they leave the pieces of IE but in a developer friendly way.

I would just break out all the windows that comprise IE, and let every developer on the planet use all the pieces of IE to make their own IE and sell it. Then Microsoft could make its own IE available for download, and Opera would still be as screwed as it deserves for putting lawyers into the marketplace.

Re:Leave the DLLs, I say. (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494113)

Linux doesn't come with a browser. It gives you the option to aquire one, but doesn't have to come with one. (emerge -vat firefox works great btw)

Re:Leave the DLLs, I say. (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494321)

Okay, smartass. Most (read: the ones people usually care about) distributions of Linux come with a browser. There. Fixed it for you.

Re:Leave the DLLs, I say. (4, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494379)

Fine. So Canonical, Red Hat, Novell, and the Debian Project are bundling browsers. No-one is saying OEMs shouldn't be able to do the same. The point is that the Linux Foundation isn't the one bundling. Also, the distributions don't tightly integrate Firefox into the rest of the system (in fact, Debian uses Epiphany by default). Removing it is a simple apt-get or yum.

Re:Leave the DLLs, I say. (2, Informative)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494597)

My point exactly - bundling isn't a necessity. And, because of lack of bundling, we have choices. apt-get install lynx (or yum install or rpm -hiv or emerge) is just as simple, removal is simple, and, wait, we can chose a default browser rather then being given one!

Bundling doesn't stop consumer choice. (1, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494685)

I absolutely cannot stand IE as it is today, and so, I'm typing this post using Google Chrome on Windows Vista.

How does Opera even make an anti-trust argument when FireFox is gobbling up IE market share? For an increasing percentage of Windows users, IE is the thing you use to download some other browser.

From a consumer perspective, that a Linux distribution comes with Firefox is not really any different than a Windows distribution coming with IE. In both cases, I can go and get and use the browser that I want to use. Really, in that sense, Opera's problem is not so much Microsoft as it is Google. FireFox and Chrome are both better than Opera is too, and that's really what Opera's problem is.

Re:Bundling doesn't stop consumer choice. (1)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494839)

FireFox and Chrome are both better than Opera is

How about some... you know, facts?

Re:Leave the DLLs, I say. (3, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494599)

"Do you really want developers all installing versions of the browser core all over the OS with their applications?"

It would make more sense to me if they simply didn't require a web browser application.

If an application really did require a web browser, however, then it can ask for a browser application to be installed in a central location where the app and other apps can make use of any libraries. Doesn't seem silly to me.

In the old days there were plenty of application that would tell me "This program requires Internet Explorer to be installed". After MS started bundling it, developers seemed to get lazier and just assumed it was installed and/or that I would want to install it.

Coming up next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493949)

Garmin sues Toyota and GM for bundling GPS navigators in their cars.

Followed by Sony suing them for bundling stereos...

Re:Coming up next... (4, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494023)

Microsoft is pretty much a de facto monopoly.

If GM owned 95% of the auto market and somehow used their monopoly position to, say, put a proprietary, patented gas tank in their car that could only be filled at gas stations owned by GM, that would be a much more valid comparison.

Re:Coming up next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494067)

I don't see Mac or a Linux distro shipping Opera either and they come with browsers too...

Re:Coming up next... (4, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494301)

But Mac OS and Linux distros aren't de facto monopolies in the operating system market. If Mac OS came on 95% of computers and Safari was on the machines out of the box, I think the EU would pursue the issue too. It's about using one monopoly/near monopoly position to further another one.

If Microsoft held less than half of the market, I don't think MS would have been the target of the EU for this

Re:Coming up next... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494323)

  • Macs
    Apple has their own browser (which you can remove, IIRC, but their non-monopoly marketshare protects them from prosecution in any case)
  • Linux:
    Linux folks in general have at least some appreciation of open source software, to the point that some won't even use Firefox (opting instead for Iceweasel, Konqueror, or Ubuntu's 'abrowser'). What hope does a completely closed-source browser have of thriving in such a community?

Re:Coming up next... (1)

Stalinbulldog (925149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494477)

Close... I think a fair expansion on this example is to assume GM also allowed you to replace the gas tank for free in any gas station ever, and that their gas tank was included as a service rather than their cars being sold without a tank and consumers left to their own devices to drive the car tankless to someplace to get one...

Microsoft certainly pushes IE and other products on consumers but this lawsuit is ridiculous, the wide range of windows software makes a package manager silly [and, if implemented would only result in worse favoritism concerning whose software made the cut] and forcing your grandmother to figure out how to FTP Firefox via the command line before she can check her email is just silly.

I hate M$ as much as the next guy, but seriously Opera, don't be unreasonable, FF hasn't had any trouble breaking into the browser market, maybe you're just doing something wrong?

Microsoft is not "pretty much a de facto monopoly" (4, Informative)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494531)

From a ruling in 2001, they are certainly a monopoly, and have abused that status.
Link. [crn.com]

solution? (2, Interesting)

GarretSidzaka (1417217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493967)

I think that microsoft should make it a one or two click affair to try out different browsers, different programs like open office for trying.

at least i think this would a reasonable solution to the anti-trust

(except my fantasy of microsoft getting sliced into little pieces :D )

what the hell? (0, Flamebait)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494043)

Really? Here's a question for whatever 80 year old, possibly Amish, European dumbass thought that one up. If Windows doesn't come with a web browser, how do you get one? You just go download firefox...ohhhhh wait, you can't go download it because there's no browser. You don't see audio editors going out of business just because Sound Editor has been included with Windows for like 15 years. And I don't think Adobe is very worried about Photoshop getting trampled by MS Paint. There's a reason CNN doesn't just use Windows Movie Maker for their field editing too. This is just idiotic.

Re:what the hell? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494123)

wget?

Re:what the hell? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494241)

If IE was as basic as Sound Editor, MS Paint, or Movie Maker you might have a point. But as it is a full featured browser your analogy isn't accurate. Microsoft has not poured billions into any of the programs you mention. Nor have they updated any of them significantly in a decade. If they updated Paint the way they do IE, Photoshop would get trampled. Ditto for the other two you mention. However perhaps the solution lies there. Strip IE down to a bare bones browser with minimal functionality like the programs you mention.

Re:what the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494521)

However perhaps the solution lies there. Strip IE down to a bare bones browser with minimal functionality like the programs you mention.

So then IE ends up with only as many features as Google Chrome, but with the usual MS bug count and a worse rendering engine?

Well, I suppose if that were how it would end up, at least IE's one true useful function (probably) wouldn't be impeded; all IE's good for as it stands is downloading Firefox and Chrome.

P.S.: o_O CAPTCHA word is "rivalry". Um...???

Re:what the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494267)

open command prompt and type:
ftp ftp.mozilla.org

done

you're welcome

Re:what the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494465)

And here's one area of "easy" that Windows absolutely sucks at. There's no solid package manager on Windows. No real, simple, central means to manage all of your programs, including those you haven't even installed yet. There's something in the control panel, but it's nowhere near as easy and powerful as multiple options available on the different Linux distributions. Of course, I'm only aware of that in up to XP--I haven't cared to figure out any of Vista's control panel, as I haven't run it on anything of my own, so there might be some improvement there, though I doubt it as I don't see anyone ever using it.

Linux, specifically, can get annoying in that respect as each distribution has it's own spin on the package manager, but they're at least there, and most are pretty similar in concept.

Don't have a web browser and want to download one, on Linux? No problem, just open up the package manager and pick which one you want. And you're not stuck with the choice that one group/company thinks you should or wants you to use--you have all of the choices available in the package manager, which on most, if not all, Linux distributions is a pretty broad choice. Even some you never really hear much about except in more unusual situations where the usual browsers don't quite work so well.

Windows... yeah, unless you can get it on a CD, you're probably screwed.

Of course, Linux distributions tend to be a lot more open to including things in package managers that come from competitors, which I doubt I'll ever see from Microsoft unless some miracle happens.

And I suppose someone will come along with the "It Just Works" argument, along with how having such a choice is somehow "bad" for some people. The latter, I'd argue that the "bad" side of that is completely subjective--in reality, everyone wins when you have competing choices that actually challenge each other to make a better product versus letting one rule and make crap (IE, which only really seems to be improving now that there's more serious competition coming against it).

As for "Just Works", one could make the argument that there's a hell of a lot that doesn't "Just Work" on any OS if you want to talk about specific applications like that. The only difference I can see is that most everyone actually wants the browser, but I can state places that I would be happier without the browser there at all: like at my job where the browser's useless anyway, because they block everything we could ever use the browser for anyway, and it's annoying even having it there to take up space and look at the damn icon all over the place.

Re:what the hell? (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494467)

Back in my day, Sonny, we wrote our browsers in Assembler from scratch with the hex panel on the front of the machine!

Re:what the hell? (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494555)

Really? Here's a question for whatever 80 year old, possibly Amish, European dumbass thought that one up. If Windows doesn't come with a web browser, how do you get one? You just go download firefox...ohhhhh wait, you can't go download it because there's no browser. You don't see audio editors going out of business just because Sound Editor has been included with Windows for like 15 years. And I don't think Adobe is very worried about Photoshop getting trampled by MS Paint. There's a reason CNN doesn't just use Windows Movie Maker for their field editing too. This is just idiotic.

Yes but it is when you have another browser installed you can't remove it and it pops up every now and then in different programs!
e.g
all the windows live products
windows update
and MS Outlook (It uses the engine)

Re:what the hell? (2, Informative)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494835)

"If Windows doesn't come with a web browser, how do you get one?"

This is asked and answered in several places, but there are a variety of easy ways this can or could be done.

* First, OEMs would pre-install their choice of web browser(s) for you.
* Get a CD-ROM with the software from your vendor (Firefox and IE are available on CD
* Windows could get with this century and add a friendly non-browser based package manager.
* A simple auto-downloader (double-click an icon and it grabs the file).
* Other, optional, file sharing applications - could be P2P or even just a friendly GUI FTP program.
* Start with IE installed, download another browser, then uninstall IE (if IE were truly optional you could do this).
 

There is no desktop web browser market (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494125)

Opera have always been suffering under the delusion that customers would be lining up to buy their desktop product if only Microsoft wasn't "strangling the market". This is such bullshit. Since day 1 everyone has been saying that Opera are on crack. Web browsers are expected to be free. Sure, maybe some people would like to pay for a web browser.. I mean, people pay for bottled water too.

Every time Opera talks to the press I get the feeling that they would like nothing better than to force Microsoft and Mozilla to charge $99 so they can go back to doing the same.

Re:There is no desktop web browser market (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494275)

You do realize that Netscape once sold for $50 and had majority market share before Microsoft poured billions into IE and gave it away/bundled it with their dominate OS solely so they could control access to the Internet.

Re:There is no desktop web browser market (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494303)

You mean the premier Netscape crap that no-one bought?

There was never a time when you couldn't get a web browser for free.

Mosaic set the standard.

 

Re:There is no desktop web browser market (1)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494627)

The fact that this article got marked as flamebait is demonstrative of how disconnected from reality a lot of people on this site are. What happens when Firefox gets to 50% or more of the browser market? Are Opera going to sue them as well for predative price fixing with Microsoft and Apple? Hell, why not sue GNU for enabling the techinical and legal foundations for creating and distributing free/zero-cost software?

Screw Opera and their retarded, litigation-based business model. I see them as one small step on the food chain above SCO. Maybe they can hire McBride to bleed this out for a few more years.

next in the news; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494137)

Ford sues Chevy for IP infringement, all automakers tremble in fear...

WTF!

ok fine, remove the browser and ftp client...fine...see how f**king how far the OS can go when forced to be released CRIPPLED on the internet and no means to get access!

There is no F**king thing in the OS that stops the user/admin from using IE to download and install another client for ANY protocol (GET IT - ANY F**KING PROTOCOL they want a client for!!!!).

without the ability to access the internet to download other tools they choose to use, how the F will the blinded-by-zealot-mentality-opensource-type be able to get the tools they want?

Get your heads out of your asses and think things through for F's sake...jeezus f**king chr**t...so f**king close to the forest you can't see the damned trees!

Re:next in the news; (1)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494625)

in your eloquence you seem to forget something very obvious. simply create a shortcut in the start menu that starts a little program that 1) asks the user waht s/he wants, 2) downloads over ftp/bittorrent/whatever and 3) installs the browser of choice.
it's a matter of attitude. you will only find a solution for a problem if you want the problem solved. if you don't want it solved, then you won't put in the effort that is often neccessary.

You don't need a browser to download (4, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494183)

Why does everyone think you need a browser to download something. It's not like HTTP is a protocol made for downloading files.How about FTP, p2p, or an add/remove programs that actually adds programs.

It doesn't have to be hard. I cannot believe so many people on slashdot actually think you need a browser to download a file. A lot of times a browser uses FTP anyway to download something. Now I will agree that most people have become accustomed to having a browser pre-installed. I'll even agree that it can be useful. But it absolutely is not necessary for downloading.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (-1, Flamebait)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494333)

Yeah, because getting your gramma to open wget guess the address of FF 3.0 then download it is definitely what we want for 2009 to become the year of the Linux desktop.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494441)

His options weren't limited to wget. I especially approve of:

an add/remove programs that actually adds programs

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494655)

#!/bin/sh
wget "http://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-3.0.5&os=linux&lang=en-US"

There you go. I made a shell script for your grandmother. Just stick it on her desktop (don't forget to give it execution permissions!) and she should be fine. Firefox is just a double click away. My invoice will be in your mail next week.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494443)

Do you really think its reasonable to get the average user to use FTP to find and download a web browser? Yes its absoloutley possible to download something like that with FTP, finding it and getting it with only FTP isnt reasonable. Microsofts business model is based on the fact that its "easy to get going and use". Microsoft did themselves good by making windows a more "web based" experience in 98 and ME, then it looks more like it was poor judgement on their part rather than trying to push their products on their customers. Honestly I think this is an atempt at opera to breathe life into the browser that costs money in a market where everyone else gives it away. I cant see it being sustanable, moreover some web sites require the use of IE because of certain features. Obviously you can do most of what you need with alternatives but there are a select few that require it. Microsofts market shre keeps itself where it is because of compatability. Its a sad and frustrating fact but its how things are. When other products offer the same compatability then we will see microsoft fading into the crowd of other products.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494581)

Since when did Microsoft offer compatibility just because they don't follow standards and have web server products with proprietary standards that no one else can use dose not mean they offer compatibility

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494647)

Do you really think its reasonable to get the average user to use FTP to find and download a web browser? Yes its absoloutley possible to download something like that with FTP, finding it and getting it with only FTP isnt reasonable.

FTP != text based.

Microsofts market shre keeps itself where it is because of compatability. Its a sad and frustrating fact but its how things are. When other products offer the same compatability then we will see microsoft fading into the crowd of other products.

This is like saying Windows is inherently compatible with more software and that if Mac wants more market share it needs to become more compatible with the software that's out there. In other words just because website test for IE doesn't mean IE itself is inherently more compatible.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494697)

'Yanno, MSFT could add a list of web browsers to its "Add and Remove Programs" tool. When installing a web browser, the tool could then use FTP (or BitTorrent, or whatever) behind the scenes to snatch the installer off of the web.

Does this sound like an unreasonable way to do software installation?

Re:You don't need a browser to download (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494449)

You're operating on the assumption that Microsoft would implement a download manager. Why would they willingly add a list of their competitor's software to their own operating system? Most similar systems in the linux world and others work because the people in charge of the lists do not have a vested interest in one piece of software or the other.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (2, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494561)

An "add/remove programs" that actually adds programs?

So your proposed solution to the anti-trust action is for Microsoft to become a central channel for distributing and installing third-party software, rather than leaving that to the third parties?

Seems like that would be even more anti-trust.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494683)

So your proposed solution to the anti-trust action is for Microsoft to become a central channel for distributing and installing third-party software, rather than leaving that to the third parties?

It was merely one of several examples of ways to download software without a browser. But since you bring it up, it would be nice if they included a method for installing third-party software from the web without a warning about running an executable that could harm or damage your computer.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (2, Interesting)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494603)

add/remove programs that actually adds programs.

I was floored when I found out that it actually could. Applications (in the form of MSI files) can be advertised using group policy and made available based on Active Directory group membership. As cool as it is, sadly though, self provisioning of applications doesn't facilitate license compliance or dumb users very well.

Re:You don't need a browser to download (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494709)

Hnnh. One learns new things every day! Too bad you need to set up a DC (or AD machine) to make all of that work... and manually dump the MSIs on the DC... And fiddle with GPOs... :/

(Not that fiddling with GPOs is hard, mind you... it's just that this feature is next to useless for the home user.) [Not that you made any claims to the contrary.]

YOU DONT NEED A BROWSER TO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE (1, Informative)

diebels (893147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494187)

Dear poor brainwashed windows users, in the free world there is something called Package Managers [wikipedia.org] These wonderful tools makes managing all your software downloads and updates for your computer a very pleasant experience.

Re:YOU DONT NEED A BROWSER TO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494277)

Windows would definitely benefit from package management of some sort. Now that I'm used to sudo apt-get install $package, the act of downloading a setup.exe and manually installing software (and sometimes installing other dependencies with setup.exe's of their own) seems downright archaic. If Windows had a trusted repository full of software (kind of like Steam or something like that) life would be so much easier. Linux environments stay clean because most software comes from trusted places instead of being acquired from pretty much everywhere. The only problem is that Microsoft would probably want to control the repository and use that leverage to keep out competing products, (like FOSS) so I doubt it would work.

Re:YOU DONT NEED A BROWSER TO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE (2, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494289)

A package manager? Okay. Sure.

Microsoft then makes a Microsoft Package Manager, and distributes it with Windows.

Next thing you know, some company goes, "zomg! Microsoft is so evil, they're not including MY package manager! I'm going to sue! Waaaaah!"

Then what? Seriously, when does it stop?

Then what? Seriously, when does it stop? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494365)

Oo, oo! I know! When Microsoft goes away?

Cheers,

Re:YOU DONT NEED A BROWSER TO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE (1)

rafavargas (1311859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494559)

Microsoft then makes a Microsoft Package Manager

No, it would be called "Microsoft Package Manager 2009 Ultimate for Windows".

Re:YOU DONT NEED A BROWSER TO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494469)

Dear idiot. Windows doesn't have one. Thank you.

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494327)

microsoft will sidestep this by including a third party browser like they used to do with netscape. and just like the did with netscape no one will know it's there.

Illegal Bundling of TV Remotes (2, Insightful)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494577)

I personally look forward to when TV's are no longer sold with remotes. Only when we stop the unfair bundling of remotes with TV's will consumers be forced to no longer accept "good enough" remotes when far better remotes are available for purchase.

Personally, I find the whole IE bundling witch hunt paternalistic. Let Opera, or whoever, advertise their products in the marketplace, and get people to buy them. Firefox did that full-page ad and that did far more to increase its market exposure and usage than all of the thousands upon thousands of dollars wasted on anti-trust litigation.

unbundling browsers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494661)

What a great idea. Let's force Apple to stop bundling Safari with Mac OS X, and force Ubuntu to stop bundling Firefox, and force ...

After all, we need a level playing field, right? Why should Windows be the only widely-distributed system without a standard bundled browser?

You can be sure that the EU wouldn't be doing this if Microsoft was a European company. In the end, all it's going to come down to is how much cash they can extort out of Microsoft.

Why not include a browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494673)

I don't think the EU was quite right with this one. Browsers have become an integral part of any device that can use the internet and I'm hard pressed to think of any major OS that doesn't have some form of browser built in. Internet Explorer is a basic tool that many people, including myself, use to download our preferred choice.

EU made cases about WMA, now IE? (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494745)

So Microsoft did make a 'N' series of Vista (Ultimate N, Business N, Home Premium N, Home Basic N etc.) for EU, basically that's have the Windows Media Player and all the WMV/WMA functionalities removed. (i.e. Sound Recorder can't save in WMA)

But I doubt if it's cheaper than non-N version. (Could some people in EU tell me?)

If EU is going to be decided as antitrust, Microsoft will just make the N not to include the browser. Who is going to lose?

How about OS X and Linux? Can they ship browser binary bits on the disc?

This is getting utterly ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494747)

This is getting utterly ridiculous.
Windows has notepad. I suppose notepad is used even more often than IE. Is bundling Windows with notepad an antitrust abuse? Does that mean that any proprietary OS has to be shipped stipped of all its software except essential management utilities?

Removing both IE and notepad from Windows will break a lot of functionality. Well, for notepad replacement Windows has edit.com although it should be removed as well.

Firefox/Thunderbird have been success without complaints because they're good pieces of software. MS beat most of its competitors making not the best but better software. Novell and Borland are excellent examples.

FTP client?? (1)

ondoval (1454869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494749)

I think bundling their FTP client is seriously hampering the market for FTP clients. Please remove it!!!

socialism (0, Flamebait)

mohaned (1454875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494841)

Yes, the Microsoft antitrust case is fucking retarded. The EU is simply socialist. Now I want to ask a serious question. Why is it that people hate success? Hatred of the rich is what this ultimately boils down to.
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