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EU Says MS Must Offer Other Browsers; Now What?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the foot-in-the-door dept.

Microsoft 911

Glyn Moody writes "So the European Commission is going to require Microsoft to offer competitors' browsers with Windows. '...Microsoft will be obliged to design Windows in a way that allows users "to choose which competing web browser(s) instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer they want to install and which one they want to have as default..." [Microsoft] now has until mid-March to respond to the Commission, and might also ask for a hearing. Brussels will not adopt a final decision until it has received Microsoft's official reply.' But having the option to install Firefox, say, is useless unless people know what it is. The implication is that we need some kind of campaign to ensure that people understand the choices they will have. How can open source best exploit this latest EU decision?"

cancel ×

911 comments

interesting times (-1, Offtopic)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965751)

However this works out exactly, it's going to be fun.

For some folks, anyway.

EU Created Triangular Trade (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965985)

That's right, a long long time ago the land that is now called the EU used to engage in Triangular Trade. This is the shipment of NIGGERS from AFRICA. It was easy really, the white man had already invented civilization while the NIGGERS from AFRICA were stone age tribal primitives who wore weird decorative devices on their dongs. That's even though supposedly the black man evolved first so you'd think he'd had a head start on Whitey and should have outpaced him but that's hard for a knee grow. Anyway, because some of the Whities in the EU have ancestors who once shipped NIGGERS from AFRICA as part of Triangular Trade, they are fucking with Microsoft, a fine upstanding White American company, in order to feel better about themselves and about the larger penis of the NIGGER from AFRICA.

Re:EU Created Triangular Trade (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966227)

Anyway, because some of the Whities in the EU have ancestors who once shipped NIGGERS from AFRICA as part of Triangular Trade, they are fucking with Microsoft, a fine upstanding White American company

Microsoft are not a fine upstanding WHITE American community because half of its stateside employees consist of stinky chutnies and the other half of them are losing their jobs only to see them being performed by colored undesireables overseas.

Just wait until Windows 8 comes out. Even its help pages will be written by grotesque colored caricatures and they will read like: "you is clicks on da 'x' to make window go away ooga-booga oo-oo aa-aaa". The latest UI will be code named "Calcutta shithole" and will be colored stinky shit brown, lavender, and fuchia just like stinky Indian foreign exchange students(and future H1-B cocksuckers) without a clue.

And don't be mad at niggers for having huge dongs. A plow horse [icppc.pl] also has a bigger dong than you do, but would you really want to be in his (horse)shoes?

Re:interesting times (5, Insightful)

sigismond0 (1455695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966031)

I honestly hope it works out with Apple getting its ass kicked for only offering Safari. Seriously, where's the justice?

Re:interesting times (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966203)

Safari is good! IE is bad! Get with the program.
I wouldn't mind IE dominating if it were standards complaint and had competitive HTML and JavaScript performance, but it doesn't and thus it is holding back the web.

Re:interesting times (1)

Foodie (980694) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966117)

They could offer Lynx as an alternative. When phone become a prevalent Internet device, then are manufacturers supposed to offer more than one browser on each phone?

That's not okay. (2, Insightful)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965761)

At least, not by me. I imagine that most users will be confused by the presence of more than one "internet" on their machines, and one browser or another still has to be the default. Does MS have to make Firefox the default browser, too?

Re:That's not okay. (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965781)

Well, then hopefully they try more then one of the internets, and go with the faster more functional one.

Re:That's not okay. (5, Funny)

wright_left (1429899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965809)

Most people will not notice a difference between any of the internets.

Re:That's not okay. (5, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965997)

I certainly notice. I just the other day got - an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

The real question is, will the firefox use a different tube than the explorer? And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material. So I think people will know if they're using the one or the other.

Re:That's not okay. (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966169)

>>>I certainly notice.

Me too. I was unable to watch either foxnews.com or cnn.com videos, which required a new install of Flash. This update went flawlessly on my XP PC but for some stupid reason my brother's Vista PC refused to let me to do the update (damn "This program may corrupt your machine" popups). I eventually found the solution by telling him to abandon Internet Explorer and switch to that "other internet" called Firefox which played the videos flawlessly.

I'm hoping this requirement to include other browsers will lead non-tech-savvy users (like my brother) to try something other than IE, even if it's just our of sheer curiosity or boredom.

Re:That's not okay. (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965811)

At least, not by me. I imagine that most users will be confused by the presence of more than one "internet" on their machines, and one browser or another still has to be the default. Does MS have to make Firefox the default browser, too?

I agree. I know what I'm doing and I still find that this or that file or link opens by default in browser X when my main default browser is Y. for example Minefield grabs the firefox links some of the time etc..

As for my poor mom with a barely adequate supply of computer memory I constantly find her sluggish computer with two or three browsers running and causing page swaps. Her bookmarks scatterd on all of them and her calling me up because she can't find the one she needs.

Then there's the nag screens that ask you to make this or that your default browser. You don't dare click "don't ask me this again, because youi can never get that back again unless you know the magic about:: command on firefox.

You just don't want to that horror to come uninvited to novice users.

Re:That's not okay. (0)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965835)

I doubt that MS would change anything. They'd probably rather keep paying fines while ignoring the EU ruling.

Re:That's not okay. (2, Insightful)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966071)

IMHO they're missing the point. How about going all the way: what about shipping computers offering other OS's? Especially if the computer maker and the OS maker are not the same.

The above suggestion is much like the browser issue is to windows - the EU is ignoring the forest in favour of a few trees.

Re:That's not okay. (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966191)

>>>You don't dare click "don't ask me this again" because you can never get that back again unless you know the magic about:: command on firefox.

False.

Tools--->Options--->Main Tab--->click the "check now" button at bottom, and that will change all your defaults to Firefox. No need to remember text commands.

This stinks... (4, Insightful)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965853)

Of non technical people making technical decisions.

Re:This stinks... (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965957)

Or perhaps its just recognition of the obvious:

Only a small minority of existing users do not ALREADY run more than one browser. (Apparently all 6 of them are on this thread).

Nobody said you had to use more than one.

Re:This stinks... (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966211)

>>>Only a small minority of existing users do not ALREADY run more than one browser

More like a large majority of existing users do not have more than IE. Of all the users in my family, none knows how to download an alternative browser like firefox. I suspect my family is representative of the typical PC-using family. They know just enough to *barely* use their computer, but not how to upgrade it with other programs.

Re:That's not okay. (1)

EonBlueTooL (974478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965963)

"and one browser or another still has to be the default." You can set none or cancel as default.

Re:That's not okay. (4, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966185)

A more realistic solution would be to allow people to permanently uninstall Internet Explorer. This really is my biggest gripe. There is no choice because even if you choose another browser, you can't choose to not have Internet Explorer at the same time.

What next? I'll tell you what's next... (4, Insightful)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965765)

Microsoft being forced to design Windows in a way that allows users "to choose which competing operating system(s) instead of, or in addition to, Windows they want to install and which one they want to have as default..."

Re:What next? I'll tell you what's next... (0, Redundant)

vawarayer (1035638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965799)

Users would be able to default-change their PC for a Mac, in a click of a button.

Now we talkin'

Re:What next? I'll tell you what's next... (2, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965991)

What a stupid statement. This is not an unreasonable request, and is something that the US gov should have done a long time ago. Microsoft has produced such shitty browsers, they should in fact be banned from being allowed to produce such an important piece of software. Time and time again, even with ie8, they have shown themselves inept at producing quality, standards-oriented software.

Re:What next? I'll tell you what's next... (1, Insightful)

youcantwin (1459567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966059)

When will they force Google to have links to Yahoo?

Even better, why don't they force them to give users the option between all search engines when you go to google.com. A nice popup every time you hit the search button would be sweet too.

I hate microsoft as much as the next guy, but it seems a little silly to ask for something like that.

Now What? (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965797)

Now you DIE, Mr. Bond!

[...]

Or you just offer weak support for bundling other browsers. If I'm not mistaken, many viewers will probably see Google Chrome ads on this page. Which is definitely a good start for getting out the word about alternative browsers. Even better is to apply peer pressure to your friends, neighbors, and relatives. Peer pressure can be an excellent tool for getting people to conform to non-conformity. (Bizarre idea, eh?) Especially when the non-conformity is actually the direction that conformity is going.

Let's just make sure we do the RIGHT thing and don't get too focused on a particular browser. As long as it's not IE, the world will be a better place. ;-)

This seems to completely miss the problem (3, Insightful)

0prime (792333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965801)

with the integration between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer.

So... I really hope Microsoft says "sure" and bundles 10-20 really crappy and outdated browsers, with firefox and opera nowhere in sight. The EU deserves a clusterfuck like that for coming out with this stupid decision.

Re:This seems to completely miss the problem (1)

Megatog615 (1019306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966049)

They could just develop a version of Windows Explorer without web browsing capabilities, and just launch the default browser when a location with "http://" is entered.

Re:This seems to completely miss the problem (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966057)

So... I really hope Microsoft says "sure" and bundles 10-20 really crappy and outdated browsers, with firefox and opera nowhere in sight.

In addition to the crappy and outdated one of their own, you mean. I'd say it's almost certain that's exactly what they will do. They won't bundle Chrome because Ballmer wants to "fucking bury" Google, and Firefox probably falls into the same category, since they're partly financed by Google. However, Lynx looks good to go... ;-)

Re:This seems to completely miss the problem (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966123)

with the integration between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer.

Exactly

At the end of the day IE is still there and cannot be removed. What I hoped would come out of this was that the EU would force Microsoft to make IE removable. Ubuntu bundles Firefox, Apple bundles Safari with OS X (although the bundling with Craptunes and Craptime should not be happening) but above all else these browsers are removable. IE is the biggest security hole at work, 60% of all viruses found at work are first detected in %UserDir%\Applications\IE\%UserName%\* in both XP and Vista.

Just being able to remove IE would be a great boon to security (and web standards), then all we'd need to do is wean the corporate world off of Outlook (second biggest infection vector at my work).

After all this trouble we seem to be back where we started.

Mozilla Foundation's Choice (4, Insightful)

kidsizedcoffin (1197209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965803)

Hasn't Mozilla said that they do not want to be bundled with Windows.

Re:Mozilla Foundation's Choice (3, Interesting)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965845)

The Mozilla/FF people are all clearly [slashdot.org] on the same page [slashdot.org] about that issue. If anyone wants to know how best to exploit this, just ask 'em!

Re:Mozilla Foundation's Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965897)

Just because they said they would rather not be forced upon the user (Windows bundle) and then join the fight against Microsoft's monopoly and despicable business practices does not mean they're not on the same page.

You've confused things here, and on top of that, you're listening to the main stream media instead of thinking on your own two feet.

Re:Mozilla Foundation's Choice (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966015)

The Mozilla/FF people are all clearly [slashdot.org] on the same page [slashdot.org] about that issue. If anyone wants to know how best to exploit this, just ask 'em!

After seeing how un-interested people (grandma) are in finding out for themselves how stuff works (who wouldn't want to know right?), I have decided it is very nice being able to set "automatically download and install all updates at 3am". Do I want MS handling Firefox patches? No. They can play with IE all they like, though.

It's quite obvious MS has their hands full getting new versions of IE to work faster than Firefox, not to mention Chrome or Opera.

Consistent with EU philosophy, however, one can make a compelling case for being "green" about it and making them un-bundle IE from the OS and encourage users to use Firefox or Chrome or Opera. IE7 is SLOW even on my machine; 8GB of ram 64bit and a 3.4Ghz overclocked Core 2 Duo processor. The processor only has 1MB cache so this might be affecting it some, but Firefox and Chrome, Safari, Opera are all MUCH faster. So basically, "install Firefox, extend the life of your computer 2 years; install Chrome, extend the life of your computer another 2 years; save the landfills!"

Re:Mozilla Foundation's Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966157)

The EU said Mozilla can join in the suit but the article never says anything about them actually saying that they will join in on the suit. I highly doubt they will join in since they have at least 15 to 20% of the market share. Opera started this up because they couldn't get off the ground and this appears to be their only way to get noticed.

How will the decide? (5, Insightful)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965819)

Which browsers make the cut and which don't??

It's not difficult to install a new browser. Someone who doesn't know about other browsers or how to install them isn't going to be installing Windows out of the box anyways. They're going to be installing a pre-packaged image from some company... or they got their computer built by some technically knowledgeable person who knows about other browsers.

IE is integrated pretty heavily into Windows as well.

I dunno, I'm all for people having choices and having knowledge... but this seems stupid. I mean, what's next, make them include iTunes with the default windows package?

As an IT professional and engineer, I'm not even sure that I would WANT them to have other browsers installed, by default, on a system... I want it to be as clean as possible by default.

Re:How will the decide? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965907)

Well the answer is pretty obvious. Besides IE, people will have the option to install:
AOL Explorer [wikipedia.org]
Avant Browser [wikipedia.org]
and, of course,
MSN Explorer [wikipedia.org] !

(I would have added Yahoo! Browser except that I'm pretty sure that would never happen).

Re:How will the decide? (3, Interesting)

craagz (965952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966137)

Whenever I install a fresh copy of Windows XP, I use IE to get the Latest and greatest version of FF off the net! I love IE for giving me this one service. But this decision is quite ridiculous. Should MS also offer various minesweeper alternatives?

A few interesting results are sure to come (4, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965823)

Utter confusion is the first thing. Few average users are going to be able to handle the idea that there is any point to multiple browsers on one computer. Either one works and the other one does not, or there is no point. If one is broken, then it shouldn't be there.

Next, if MS, Dell or any other large OEM is going to be including FireFox, Opera, Safari and others on a computer they are going to require some pretty stringent requirements on release planning and QA. If these aren't present in the organization supporting them the OEM will introduce these. This means there will be a "official" release and a Dell release. That is going to help, isn't it?

Since the HTML rendering engine and a good part of the browser is used for displaying lots of other stuff besides web pages, this is going to make for some interesting times. Some HTML that displays differently between the "source" and the actual rendering.

Certainly going to be interesting.

Re:A few interesting results are sure to come (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965989)

Next, if MS, Dell or any other large OEM is going to be including FireFox, Opera, Safari and others on a computer they are going to require some pretty stringent requirements on release planning and QA.

You mean like the QA and Release planning we've had with the last 12 years from Microsoft?

Re:A few interesting results are sure to come (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966101)

It may well be that Microsoft keeps the Trident/MSHTML HTML rendering engine for all the things (HTML help, MSDN, Visual C++, games and game related support apps etc) that embed it and the decision will be which browser one wants to use for actual browsing.

You want some ideas? (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965831)

How about this:

Bill Nigh kicks Chuck Norris' ass before breakfast [ebaumsworld.com]

Now, just start one about FireFox

Firefox is so badass that it doesn't care what OS it runs over
Firefox invented the Internet
Firefox killed the blue screen of death .....

your turn

Re:You want some ideas? (0)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965863)

hmmm this dropped out

Chuck Norris is a badass [rickroot.com]

Firefox taught the quick brown fox to jump, thus inventing typing tutorials
Firefox comes to your aid, not 'in a CD case'
Firefox rules! 32 to be exact [flickr.com] Explorers are crusty old men in the wilderness.

Re:You want some ideas? (0)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965883)

Damn, should be rule 34... I need to preview more, and THIS [aowaa.com] should help make the news

Re:You want some ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965977)

Firefox doesn't leak memory, it just can't contain its awesome.

Re:You want some ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966175)

No. This stops now.

Somehow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965843)

Somehow I can picture this.

Ballmer: ARG. Foiled yet again, find me a chair!

Underling: Can't we just offer the most unstable version of the competitors browser?

Ballmer: Brilliant! Where's that chair.

~

Re:Somehow.. (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965937)

Look, I know to a certain kind of mind, just putting "Ballmer" and "chair" in the same post is a riotous affair but really, you've got to try a lot harder than that.

Re:Somehow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965987)

I'm fairly new give me a chance. :D

Honestly, I thought it was a good one though. Giving the worst possible version of a competitors product is something that they would do. The Ballmer/chair format seemed like a good one to use. Anyways I appreciate the feedback and will strive harder in the future to entertain.

~

Just another thing to click "next" on? (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965847)

Not only would we have to make sure people understand the choices, but we should let them know why they should actually CARE.

I can imagine someone who simply doesn't care... setting up their computer. They are prompted.. and all they will see is:

Choose one:

Microsoft Internet Explorer
Choose this to install the Internet

Firefox
Choose this to also install the Internet

This is an important choice. Both will allow you to do email and porn.

Re:Just another thing to click "next" on? (1)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965959)

So basically explain the pros and the cons of the choice like:

Please select which browsers to install, and for one of them select that you want it as a default browser.

Help:What is a browser?

Help:Why does this matter?

Microsoft Internet Explorer
Pros: ...
Cons: ...

Firefox
Pros: ...
Cons: ...

Google Chrome
Pros: ...
Cons: ...

Opera
Pros: ...
Cons: ...

Safari
Pros: ...
Cons: ...

Re:Just another thing to click "next" on? (1)

wright_left (1429899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966181)

No one is qualified to write those pros and cons. Everybody will have a bias. If Microsoft writes it, there's an obvious bias. If the EU writes it, there's an obvious bias towards ignorance.

If anyone writes it at all, someone will be able to take fault with it. One company or the other will wonder why then ended up getting the pros and cons they did.

Windows ships with an internet browser that lets any user download the internet browser they choose. They can read the reviews they want, from sources they trust. Nothing in Windows stops users from doing this. IE doesn't crash when you go to download Firefox.

With changing software, pros and cons may shift over time. Does Microsoft have to update its installer? There is no way the EU can pull this off and make any sense at the same time.

Am I missing something? (5, Interesting)

wright_left (1429899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965855)

"Microsoft will be obliged to design Windows in a way that allows users "to choose which competing web browser(s) instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer they want to install and which one they want to have as default..." What part of Windows doesn't allow users to choose a competing web browser? They even include a web browser so you can go and download the competing web browsers. How nice is that.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965941)

A little information can be a dangerous thing. Hint: RTFA.

Re:Am I missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966047)

I read the article, based on your suggestion. Still am curious how Microsoft prevents me from choosing to use a different browser.

I've never had my default browser revert back to IE after every windows update, as does my email client. Every time Outlook updates its junk email filter list, it reclaims its rightful place from Thunderbird and insists on handling all of my emails from then on out). If the EU wants to investigate bad behaviour, perhaps that is where they should start.

A user who doesn't know about Firefox/Chrome/Opera is a user who doesn't care, and will pick the big blue "E" on the ballot screen when they start their system. Unless you're suggesting that we also force them to view a short educational video produced by all interested parties, this effort is doomed to fail. Who is the EU really trying to protect users from with this decision? Hint: Themselves

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

wright_left (1429899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966217)

I did read the article. The EU wants users to be able to choose between internet browsers, and one suggestion was to have a ballot screen. My point is that people can achieve the same effect on their own. Windows does not stop anyone from installing a competing internet browser.

How the heck is a ballot going to tell anyone anything? Whatever the default is is what will be selected most of the time. Windows includes an internet browser so you can go figure out what internet browser you want by reading reviews or whatnot. If you don't know how to do that, you don't care about doing that, and IE is good enough for you.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966021)

What part of Windows doesn't allow users to choose a competing web browser?

Exactly.

Boot you machine, see 3 or 4 icons on the desktop:
Install Internet Explorer
Install FireFox
Install Opera
Install Safari.

Problem solved.

The real question is will they force Apple to do the same, or does the Little dictator of Cupertino get another free pass?

What about Ubuntu? Does it have to offer a choice as well?

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

Megatog615 (1019306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966067)

Ubuntu wouldn't have to offer anything since its software repositories are considered "part of the OS". In fact Ubuntu(GNOME flavor) comes with Epiphany as well, if I recall correctly.

Re:Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966155)

I make a competing calculator (hypothetically). I want an icon on the desktop for the Windows Calculator, Maxima, Octave and Mathematica.

I also (again, hypothetically) make a notepad replacement. I want my product, Notepad++, Wordpad, Microsoft Word, and a half dozen scintilla-based knockoffs.

I also hypothetically make an alternative desktop shell. Because Microsoft FORCES you to use theirs, before you even get to see all of the five BILLION other fucking icons, I want a screen to pop up with only a mouse, and a choice of shells. Mine, which doesn't support UAC, separation of privileges, explorer shells (which will confuse the heck out of people,) explorer extensions (bye-bye TortoiseSVN, TortoiseHG, etc,) or other features. Also included should be shells that barely work.

And finally, after booting into Windows becomes a clusterfuck of choosing about eighteen trillion defaults, I as a developer expect my users to have a relatively stable and ubiquitous set of APIs available.

Oh wait, we threw that out the window.

Fuck.

Here's an idea. Let Microsoft keep doing what they're doing and easily choose between default programs, and even allow those programs to prompt the user to alter their default. Because any other option is fraught with favoritism and is just going to cram OEM desktops with more bullshit than ever before, and make the idea of targeting the Windows desktop from a developer or support perspective laughable.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966225)

Install Internet Explorer, Install FireFox, Install Opera, Install Safari.

More savvy users may not like these extra icons, ironically.

On a new HP home PC out of the box, you may see many icons on the desktop:

  • Norton AntiVirus
  • Microsoft Office
  • many HP utilities icons
  • etc.

The first reaction of some people is to grumble that HP bundles unnecessary software, then proceed to delete these extra icons.

This is a really bad idea (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965859)

Mozilla doesn't want to be automatically packaged and there's nothing in this sort of result preventing Microsoft from packaging out of date crappy browsers. Moreover, the real issues are that 1) IE is in many ways interconnected with the Windows operating system and other Microsoft products and 2) IE is set as the default browser. If microsoft keeps a check box that you need to check when installing to make IE not the default browser then it will not get checked by the normal users. It is probably a better idea to just let the free market continue its slow progress. Firefox and others will win out. And that will occur long before the Year of Linux.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966039)

Hi Ballmer. Please remain seated.

Choices? (1)

iztehsux (1339985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965873)

If people were only given one choice of browser up until now, why would they need to be educated about the choices of browsers that they can install? Most average computer users that I talk to think that Internet Explorer IS "the internet" and when they're shown Firefox, they seem to like it better just because they've only had once choice.

What a question! It is obvious to me. (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965877)

...How can open source best exploit this latest EU decision?"...

By learning to eat its own dog food. Heck, Open Source zealots still use IE to post to Slashdot. Why? They still edit their documents using MS Office. They still create video files using Flash and cannot agree (read implement) a "standard" for file locations on Linux and versions.

Here comes the worst...OpenOffice file formats are 100% open for years now, i.e., free to implement but there is not a single open source office suite that implements them with 100% fidelity!

Same story on browsers and so on.

These are folks that talk "vendor lock-in"..."open formats" and all the similar rant. Please give us a break!

Re:What a question! It is obvious to me. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965999)

Heck, Open Source zealots still use IE to post to Slashdot.

[citation needed]

Seriously, are there statistics on browser share among posts on /.? (NOT views, posts...)

Re:What a question! It is obvious to me. (0)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966001)

Yeah, I don't think there are that many Open Source zealots doing that, unless you have a different definition to zealot than the rest of us. You know there are a lot of anti-Open Source people who also frequent slashdot?

Re:What a question! It is obvious to me. (1)

hreinna (107901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966171)

You know there are a lot of anti-Open Source people who also frequent slashdot?

Are the anti-Open source people, the anti-christ of software ?

Re:What a question! It is obvious to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966029)

Here's another question:
With so much bullshit coming out of your mouth, do you still appreciate the taste of food? I realize you were typing there, but I imagine you're the same asshole in real life that you play on the Internet.

Sincerely, AC.

Re:What a question! It is obvious to me. (0)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966053)

I hate to feed a troll, but here goes:

Open Source zealots still use IE to post to Slashdot. Why? They still edit their documents using MS Office. They still create video files using Flash and cannot agree (read implement) a "standard" for file locations on Linux and versions.

Firefox, AbiWord / Emacs, Don't make videos, and I'm quite happy with where my files on Linux are.

Here comes the worst...OpenOffice file formats are 100% open for years now, i.e., free to implement but there is not a single open source office suite that implements them with 100% fidelity!

Source? I'll counter your unsourced BS with some of my own: despite MS submitting OOXML as a standard, their own implementation is noncompliant with their standard.

This is not true of odf (whatever rendering problems you may complain about.)

Same story on browsers and so on.

You already mentioned browsers, and I think you're out of ideas.

Wanna really punish Microsoft? (1, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965879)

The EU should make them put up a bunch of their patents and copyrights into the public domain. Crippling their software is stupid. And in corporate settings where there is a in house IT staff, Linux is more than ready to replace Microsoft.

Re:Wanna really punish Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965945)

I'm a 28 year old network administrator and software developer. I've been doing this stuff professionally for ten years now, starting with telecommunications programming when I was 18. I'm posting this from an Ubuntu laptop, which has a few terminals open tailing logs on various Debian and FreeBSD servers I manage. I publish most of my software under either BSD or GPL licenses.

Now that you understand where I'm coming from, let me say that you're partially right when you assert that crippling Microsoft's software is stupid. The fact is, this whole thing is insanely stupid, and reeks of socialism. I've been through Microsoft's lengthy history of pushing shitty software on the masses using grossly unethical business methods, and I still strenuously object to this course of action.

The fact that you would even suggest forcibly placing a corporation's patents and copyrights into the public domain indicates you're either (a) incredibly young and naive, (b) stupid, or (c) an unfortunate combination of the first two options. Nobody has the right to tell anyone else what to do with the works they create; I'll be damned if anyone's going to restrict my right to license my works as I see fit. I may not like Microsoft as a general rule, but they deserve the same treatment I enjoy under the law.

I would recommend attending a reputable university to enhance your understanding of basic economics and IP law, but it seems to backfire for a lot of folks who already have warped perceptions in these areas.

Re:Wanna really punish Microsoft? (1, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966045)

It's nothing more than a forfeiture like any other. Money doesn't matter to them. Whatever a regular fine would be, it would be made up for within a week. Nope, Gotta hit 'em where it hurts...if they really did anything wrong. And your basic economics and IP law is partly responsible for the broken economy designed solely for the benefit of the big dogs that we live under today. So I have little faith in what ever people with a vested interest would have to say. It is meaningless in a rigged system.

Well I can gurantee you one thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965891)

Whatever browser they're forced to install, it DEFINITELY won't be Chrome. That very thought _alone_ would probably have poor Ballmer whipping office chairs around like trailers in a tornado.

It would, however, be incredibly funny.

New browsers won't appear for years (4, Insightful)

christian.einfeldt (874074) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965919)

Microsoft is going to fight this decision tooth and nail. They will appeal it and appeal it and appeal it. Microsoft has no good faith intention of complying with this order, any more than they comply with any other order. Look at what they did with the US anti-trust case. They stalled until W became the unelected US head of state, and then Bush promptly caved in and gave Microsoft everything it asked for.

Re:New browsers won't appear for years (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966013)

They EU isn't the US, has already fined Microsoft a huge amount, and is not afraid of flexing its muscles.

Re:New browsers won't appear for years (1)

Slothrup (73029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966061)

Microsoft is going to fight this decision tooth and nail.

Well, duh. Why wouldn't you fight something that's bad for you? But at some point, the appeals process is over and then you have to comply with the governing legal authority.

Show me one EU order with which Microsoft hasn't complied.

Re:New browsers won't appear for years (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966121)

Microsoft is going to fight this decision tooth and nail. They will appeal it and appeal it and appeal it.

No, they'll probably just ignore it. I seem to remember back in the mid-'90s there were similar judgements against Microsoft in their war against Netscape, but IIRC Microsoft just ignored them, cutting off Netscape's air supply until it died.

Re:New browsers won't appear for years (1)

meson_ray (1216924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966163)

Yeah, and the new anti-trust czar is going to be doing a great job [slashdot.org] of making sure Microsoft doesn't abuse their monopoly. No matter what W did, it doesn't seem that the new administration will be doing anything different with respect to Microsoft.

You guys sure coddle users too much.. (1, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965927)

Everyone here seems to be acting as if consumers don't understand how to download, install or use some alternative program. Yet, everyone has been buying programs for video game consoles for almost 30 years, and has been buying software for PCs for nearly as long. Yet, somehow consumers are to notice that there is a choice in browsers.

For the EU, if they are looking to protect their way into developing a domestic desktop industry, the problem is that the ideology that permeates the continent, utterly precludes that from happening. Why would a European pay for Opera, when FireFox and Chrome are both open and free. Even though on some level I'm a bit bothered by the idea of the EU trying to protect themselves against the one industry Americans are actually good it, by the same token, I will never in my life buy a German car, simply because it is not American, so I can't say that I blame them for it.

Re:You guys sure coddle users too much.. (2, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966019)

Yet, everyone has been buying programs for video game consoles for almost 30 years

I think this statement best summarises where you are wrong. You do realise that most people have never owned a console. I am talking about the majority of computer users, not people in some African nation. You really do have a very warped view of the world, if you think 50% of people using computers even know what a browser is.

Re:You guys sure coddle users too much.. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966099)

They're trying to protect all of us against IE6 and 7 sponsored botnets. (Possibly IE8, we'll see how that goes.)

We need two to three browsers with roughly equal market share to ensure a secure web.

The same goes for things like Silverlight or Flash (which should probably be built into the browser in the form of better Java or JavaScript or things like the HTML5 video tag.)

This is not coddling users. It's an attempt to reverse a dangerous security problem that has plagued us for over 5 years.

Re:You guys sure coddle users too much.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966111)

Why would a European pay for Opera, when FireFox and Chrome are both open and free.

Opera is free, Chrome is most certainly not open

Re:You guys sure coddle users too much.. (0)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966131)

you sir, have never experienced the joy of Fahrvegnugen I see.

Simple Solution (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965929)

Just put a link that opens a Live.com search for "web browser"! Not only is Live.com completely unbiased, but the link will open in the default system web browser!

Better Lynx Support! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26965947)

Yay! Hopefully more people will keep Lynx in mind while updating their web sites. After all, it's going to bundled with Windows!

Are you for freedom or not? (3, Insightful)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965953)

Freedom of the people to choose a different browser is great. Somewhere, however, the line has to be drawn. Microsoft is clearly not limiting the ability of other browsers to work with Windows, and is not stopping anyone from downloading and installing a different browser. What happened to the freedom of a company to sell their own product without interference? Why should they advertise for a competing product in their own? Even more, why should they be required to bundle a competitor's product in their own? Should the Adobe Flash installer also include Silverlight? Should RedHat include a Slackware install disk? Really, where does the madness end? I think the appropriate response from Microsoft would be to stop selling Windows in the EU. The EU wants people to see alternatives, so great. Stop making Windows available until there's a public outcry and reversal of these insane rulings.

Re:Are you for freedom or not? (0, Redundant)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966127)

Should the Adobe Flash installer also include Silverlight? Should RedHat include a Slackware install disk?

No and no. But Canonical should be forced to include Internet Explorer in the repositories.

alternative browser campaign (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965965)

I don't know how effective a 'spread the word about alternative browsers' campaign would be.

To you and I, doing a quick google search about web browsers to learn the pros and cons of each is no big deal. but to non-techie people, they would not even think about doing this.

we could have a massive online campaign running, radio ads, TV spots, and beat people over the head with the idea that 'web browser x' is better than IE, and it won't mean anything to them because they don't know what a web browser is. To them, it is just a button you click to get the internet.

word of mouth doesn't always work either, people are reluctant to change if they don't see a problem with what they have now.
what can we do" do in, install firefox secretly and change the icon so they wont notice?

I would be interested to see how MS would impliment this.the user is presented with a dialogue screen:

please select your browser:

IE: allows you to have easy access to the internet, and allows viruses, adware, and spyware to have easy access to your computer. slow, kinda crashy.
FIREFOX: used to be very small and quick.
CHROME: looks great with vista's interface
LYNX: if you love everything about the 80's, you will love the look of this browser

kdawson (0, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965967)

Oh yay kdawson is back meaning you'll get nothing but anti MS FUD constantly for the next 12 hours. cya.

Not to worry... (1)

Retron (577778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26965975)

Not to worry - this will end up just like the "N" version of Windows.
MS will doubtless issue a special version of Windows which offers the option to install Firefox or whatever during first run, but I wouldn't mind betting that the "normal" version of Windows will come with IE (and only IE) just as at present.
We've seen all this before with the aforementioned "N" version of Windows, which comes with no media player. You'd have to bust a gut to find a copy of that, as all retail versions in stores are the regular version, OEMs use the regular version (customised for their PCs), small OEMs use a generic OEM copy etc. The sole reason for the "N" version was that it let Microsoft fulfil their obligations to the EU to offer a version of Windows without a media player - the deal didn't say it had to be the only version of Windows on offer! Needless to say the Great British Public at least don't want crippled Windows, I can only imagine the hue and cry from the man on the street if their new version of Windows couldn't play MP3s out of the box.
Anyway, if MS have any sense they'll do the same again this time. That way none of us will have to bother faffing around on less-techy friends / family members' PCs and those of us that are techy can just carry on using Firefox etc as we presently do.

Be careful what you wish for (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966035)

If the geek had an once of sense he'd put more distance between himself and the EU bureaucrat.

There is precedent now for government to add or subtract - mandate anything it wants from any OS distribution - depending on which way the political winds are blowing.

Leave it to their owners (1)

Adilor (857925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966063)

TFA has a great point here. Why not just let each browser's designer make their own campaign in an attempt to "sell" potential customers? There'd be practically no point in making MS do it, and who's to say they won't do some half-assed job just to satisfy the requirement? In any case, is there really much of a point to this? Again, TFA makes a good point. Average users aren't going to know the difference between browsers. They just want to be able to double-click an icon on their desktop that has the word "Internet" in it, and couldn't care less about "enhancements", "features", or "security". It just sounds like some stupid monopoly argument, without a whole lot of revenue involved.

Simple Fix (1)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966065)

Maybe what Microsoft will do is to build an Operating System into their browser... creating havoc for all the other vendors of browsers.

Oh Wait... http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/22/1724244 [slashdot.org]

This is petty and stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966069)

...and no longer timely, even for EU regulators.

This is absolutely rediculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966077)

Seriously, if they demand microsoft provide alternative choices up-front in the windows software, how the hell can it be always neutral in what choices it provides? I mean really, they include a choice for Firefox and Opera, ok thats great, what about chrome, safari, or say anything else that strolls into the picture?

Can they also demand that its unfair that they dont have the same benefit? This is absolute madness.

And so help me if the EU demands microsoft remove IE entirely I will scream. How else are we to download Firefox?

Again theres no way in hell this can be done in a completely neutral manner

US govt. not the only wasteful and stupid one... (1)

scorpiuss (940237) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966079)

nice to see the European government is just as inefficient as the US's. First of all, the Trident engine behind IE is used in a heck of a lot of Windows components and software. Are they going to demand that Trident be replaceable with Gecko or WebKit? Cause otherwise it's still going to be darn important to Windows.

Second of all, this decision is so 2003... Has the EU not noticed the success of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and even Opera hanging around? The browser market is fine. Let Grandma and Great Aunt Sue keep using IE6 and being happy and let the market take care of itself...

Stupid Stupid Stupid (1)

blakeh (177460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966125)

And so many people in the USA want to be more like Europe! "They are so hip over there. They really know how to run a country."

Oh well, it's where we are apparently headed, down the tubes!

OEMs (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966133)

Should be up to the OEMs...

Technical support implications (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966139)

If MS is forced to bundle others browsers, they cannot be expected to support them. When regular mostly computer illiterate users have a problem with software they phone support, MS will be more than happy to redirect the calls to opera, (is there even phone support for FF?), and tell them they will have to pay extra thanks to the EU. It is one thing to tell MS to bundle competing browsers, it is another to force them to offer technical support for them for free.

Megamongo12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26966145)

Good it is about time MS loses its browser %.
IE is so crappy you are probably better off using Netscape navigator...

There is no reason firefox and chrome shouldn't be installed in new windows devices.

I'll sing it to you (2, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26966179)

How can open source best exploit this latest EU decision?"

More to the point, how is Microsoft going to exploit it? I'm not an anti-MS zealot, but I can completely see them bundling some third-rate thing that still uses the IE rendering engine or something like Safari that's nowhere near usable on Win32.

That said, if IE is still the default option (or from the user's perspective appears to be), then this judgement really amounts to zilch no matter which side of the debate you're on.

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