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Google Joins EU Antitrust Case Against Microsoft

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the sure-why-not dept.

Google 373

gubm writes "Google said it wants to help the European Commission prove its antitrust charges against Microsoft regarding the bundling of the Internet Explorer browser with Windows."

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Nothing new (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999161)

Companies typically interest themselves with anything that weakens their competitors. Google must be losing confidence in their ability to compete on merits alone.

Re:Nothing new (4, Insightful)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999241)

Could be. I tend to think that Google would rather compete on the merits of their products than the lockin of the browser. If IE retained the market share it had just a few years ago, do you not think that MS would have leveraged that market against Google? MS is known for ruthless business practices, not Google.

Re:Nothing new (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999329)

Sure, it's not as if Google was leveraging their market dominance in search against MS.

Re:Nothing new (5, Interesting)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999403)

And it is not as if MS didn't interfere in hearings about the Google/Yahoo deal either.

Re:Nothing new (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999645)

It's not as if Google ever actually intended to buy Yahoo, either.

Re:Nothing new (2, Informative)

IchNiSan (526249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000143)

Who said anything about buying? Google/Yahoo was a cooperative [washingtonpost.com] deal, no purchasing involved. Also non exclusive.

Re:Nothing new (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000157)

>>>Google would rather compete on the merits of their products than the lockin of the browser.

I agree. Google's browser has little chance of success when it is more difficult to obtain (download/install) than Microsoft's browser (already there and operational). Google simply wants to support the EU's attempt to bring an even playing field to the market.

Re:Nothing new (0, Troll)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999259)

My faith in Google just dropped significantly.

Re:Nothing new (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999455)

When someone is kicking you in the shins, you kick right back. You don't ignore it and go about your daily business.

Microsoft is currently part of a massive PR and political campaign to damage google in the US.

At least google isn't sending packets of propaganda to politicians.

Re:Nothing new (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999973)

"My faith in Google just dropped significantly."

I would put forth, that putting "faith" in any company, is faith misplaced.

A company isn't a benevolent entity that cares about people and the general 'good'....not if they are for profit.

A company's ONLY allegiance is to the stockholders and the almighty dollar (substitute your country's currency here). Does it have to act in a negative way? No. But, having and losing faith in a faceless, non-human entity is just not something to do. I'd say that you should, in general not put faith into anyone or anything that is beholden to someone else for their current position....politicians included. They are out to get re-elected and unless you really matter in that equation...well, I think you see where I'm going.

Unless someone is in a somehow powerful position, but, altruistic and not for profit, and independent...I'd not be putting my faith in anyone.

The only person looking out for YOUR best interests....is YOU.

Re:Nothing new (3, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999401)

Google must be losing confidence in their ability to compete on leveraged monopoly market positions alone.

Fixed.

(As I've noted elsewhere, I disagree with some of the finding-of-fact material used to claim MS has a monopoly. But, the courts disagree with me, both here and in the EU. That being the case, competitors in those markets have every right to expect enforcement of the law consistent with those findings.)

Re:Nothing new (0, Troll)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999845)

"Google must be losing confidence in their ability to compete on leveraged monopoly market positions alone."

That statement implies that Google doesn't think merit has anything to do with it at all.

Re:Nothing new (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999535)

some days i would be google searching for things and google would turn up crap on occasion, and i would use various search terms on occasion just to make sure the google's search engine, database [whatever] was understanding what i was looking for, google does look like it is getting swamped with pay click crap websites on occasion, i would guess people in charge of these crap websites are working 24-7 to game google's system for profit...

insert sardonic snort ... (4, Interesting)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999747)

'Google, Yahoo, IAC, AOL, and Lycos -- the major Internet search companies other than Microsoft [informationweek.com] -- on Wednesday filed a motion to compel the Software Rights Archive (SRA) to reveal who is behind its 2-year-old patent lawsuit against them'

'Microsoft today argued that US House and Senate Judiciary Committees that the proposed Google/Yahoo deal, claiming that Yahoo's agreement to support ads through a non-exclusive deal is anti-competitive and would allegedly hurt innovation [electronista.com] '

Re:Nothing new (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999905)

I guess you're trying to bait people, but I think you're right on both counts. Google has a number of projects that they've been working on that depend on moving web standards forward. Microsoft's inclusion of IE as the default browser in the most dominant desktop OS, paired with Microsoft's refusal to implement web standards, have clearly made it difficult for Google to build the sort of business they'd like to build.

It seems to me that Google has valid grounds for complaint that they can't increase the merits of their own products, due largely to IE's weakness, so I can't imagine how they could have the confidence to compete "on merits alone"? That's why they need to push anything that might encourage people to use a real web browser that works properly.

The plan is in motion (0, Redundant)

Slide100 (150632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999171)

Well, I hear the hoofbeats of the four horsemen over MY shoulder.

I guess this is the start of Google's plan to take over the world beginning with the biggest kid on the playground.

Why? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999175)

1. What does Google have to do with it?
2. The browser wars are basically over (the monopoly stage, that is). Everyone and their dog has heard about firefox by now, and how good it is.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999231)

1. What does Google have to do with it?
2. The browser wars are basically over (the monopoly stage, that is). Everyone and their dog has heard about firefox by now, and how good it is.

1. Google has developed a browser. 2. If the war is over and firefox has allegedly won, why does the large majority of internet users still use IE?

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Slide100 (150632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999277)

2. If the war is over and firefox has allegedly won, why does the large majority of internet users still use IE?

Because it comes with the OS that's on that 'puter they bought a Wal-Mart.

Doesn't MS have, like, a 90% penetration in the market?

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999347)

You've answered the wrong question. That would fit the question "If Firefox is superior, why hasn't Firefox won the browser war?"

And that is exactly why this is still an issue, GGP's assertion that the browser war is over notwithstanding.

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999559)

How is this marked insightful if the poster hasn't read the comment he's replying to?

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999539)

90% of people use IE because 90% of people just want a basic browser, and don't really care about things like extensions, better security, better features, etc. that browsers like Firefox provide. IE is installed by default so they just use that. It's the same reason 90% of PC users use Windows Media Player to play their audio and video files rather than one of the numerous other superior media players out there.

Re:Why? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999735)

Maybe the war is over because most people still choose to stick with IE?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27000125)

((Thumbs Up)) Yup! I am extremely computer literate by any standard, and even if MS was forced to de-bundle IE from Windows, I would still download and use IE. Wouldn't make a bit of difference. It's just a preference, and no arguing will change my mind -- I LIKE INTERNET EXPLORER BETTER! They might not follow the "standards," but when the standards are as bass-ackwards as they are and IE does things with some congruency, it just makes sense.
(Obligatory: I am serious, some out there might think this a joke/flame. Oh, and I still use IE6, so there.)

Re:Why? (1)

hannson (1369413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999285)

Probably because Google is highly dependent on javascript performance in browser. Fewer people with IE means more are running faster browsers.
 
Faster browsers == more javascript executed in the same time == heavier webapps.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999337)

1. What does Google have to do with it?

They market their own browser?

2. The browser wars are basically over (the monopoly stage, that is). Everyone and their dog has heard about firefox by now, and how good it is.

Then why is IE still by far the most used browser?
Exactly, because it's bundled and because a lot of people wouldn't know how to get on the net without it unless they're offered a 1-click option.

If it was up to me I'd still insist on unbundling of IE.
It is sufficiently documented when IE suddenly, and for MS conveniently, became 'part of the OS', no doubt to take away traction from the then running court case.

Re:Why? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999765)

Then why is IE still by far the most used browser?
Exactly, because it's bundled and because a lot of people wouldn't know how to get on the net without it unless they're offered a 1-click option.

It couldn't possibly be that they don't care about the "improvements" FireFox offers them, could it?

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999987)

You can replace IE with browser X. People would still use it because its bundled. What people don't understand is choice in browsers for most people is meaningless.

If you went to buy a stereo and they gave you a choice for the DAC/ADC between chip X and chip Y, you would look at them like they're crazy. Whats analogous with the computer here is that few people want to break down the machine into software and hardware and choose everything individually, and fewer people want to break down the operating system and choose individual OS components.

Similarly whenever a consumer makes _ANY_ purchase there could be thousands of brands that they are not aware of, many of them better. If you have a bigger marketing budget and a decent product - you win. (Yes, other things matter too, but I'm trying to keep it simple)

Should we now force retailers to carry many products based on some consumer rights activists notion of "fairness"?

Should we FORCE OEMs to give a choice (i.e. confuse non technical people) to the consumers on individual components of operating systems? Whats next ? Force choice of different kernels to choose?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000007)

Lots of your responses to your first question are focused on the fact that Google is marketing their own browser. While that's true, I would go farther than that: Google's entire business relies on web browsers. If lots of people are using a web browser that doesn't function properly, then it's a big headache for Google. If one of the most powerful companies in tech is pushing people to use a browser that doesn't work properly, then I'm sure Google will take an interest.

And beyond that, Google has been very interested in pushing web standards forward so that they can improve their products. There are things like improved javascript support, client-side caching of web applications, and improved CSS+HTML support that would allow them to build more advanced web applications. That's why they've invested money in both Firefox and Chrome. They can't continue to build their business if Microsoft is going to stonewall browser improvements.

Re:Default search (3, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000055)

IE is the default browser, so MSN is the default search engine. Even though people go to Google automatically these days, I wouldn't be surprised if their new browser is just a cover story. If they work a deal with OEMs, they could have the default browser be Chrome, with the default search engine being Google. Or even if the OEM wants Firefox, Google could still be the default search engine via their past investments and agreements with Mozilla.

Getting IE off windows, or at least not as prominently featured, is probably seen as a key strategy in the fight for search/ad market.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Jaazaniah (894694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000129)

You make quite a few assumptions in your last statement. There are still MANY consumers here who just use IE because it came with the computer and it works well enough, AND have never heard that there are alternatives, let alone what firefox is.

As to your first comment, people have pointed out the competition angle, but consider also that when you connect to some site, your browser type is transmitted. Being the dominant search engine on the web, Google is in an excellent position to present statistical usage data across unique locations (look at it by MAC address). So, not only does it help Google, but they are now in a position to take a direct stab at the company that inspired their 'Do no evil' slogan. Now, whether this action is construed as evil on Google's part or not is up to the public, but at this point I look at it like the breaking point between two giants, and war is going to erupt.

News at 11 (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999185)

Company's major competitor promises to do all it can to help in the case against the company.

Turnabout.... (1, Insightful)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999189)

is fair play in the corporate world. Be wise, Google.

Re:Turnabout.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999483)

Yah ... turn about

Like when Microsoft insisted on artificially raising government scrutiny of the now scuttled Google-Yahoo merger.

Yup, turn about is indeed fair play.

Re:Turnabout.... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999903)

Sure, because there's no legitimate antitrust implications of merging the #1 and #2 companies in a market.

Better Link (5, Informative)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999213)

I found a much better informative article [nytimes.com] . Even though the damn site won't let you see the printable version first since web browsers tell the NYT server you came from slashdot. ;)

Re:Better Link (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999383)

The nytimes.com site doesn't appear to be using the referrer URL to decide whether or not to show the print page. (Try copying/pasting that link into the address bar and you'll still get taken to the main article page.) Or, rather, it does use the referrer URL and only allows access to the print page when already coming from the nytimes.com site.

The choice (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999229)

offer an installation screen that gives consumers a choice of which browser to install.

Will the masses still opt for IE?
What if the IE choice says "Choosing IE will give you a substandard browsing experience, plus your computer will be pwned by malware. Oh and also you are holding back the progress of all mankind you douche"

Bets please.

Re:The choice (1, Insightful)

Surrounded (1487683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999537)

What if the IE choice says "Choosing IE will give you a substandard browsing experience, plus your computer will be pwned by malware. Oh and also you are holding back the progress of all mankind you douche"

You mean: "Choosing IE will let you view almost any website with little or no problems, plus your computer will be pwned if you have Flash or Reader installed by malware. Oh and you are one of the only non-zealot fanbois who think Microsoft must die"

And if you picked Firefox: "Choosing Firefox will turn you into a Firefox fanboi, giving you a clunky browsing experience, prompting you to update constantly, and still get pwned as more people use it."

Can't forget about Opera: "Choosing Opera will not make you cool for being the only person you know who uses it (See random distros of Linux)."

What about Safari?: "Choosing Safari will allow Apple to recommend installing other Apple services, still let you get pwned by malware and make you an Apple fanboi."

Re:The choice (1, Troll)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999791)

No, that isn't what I meant. What I said was what I meant.

More and more site developers are coding to standards rather than browsers. That means IE gets the degraded shitty experience, whilst any standards compliant browser gets something approximating what the developer intended.

That's the way it should be. Fanboism is irrelevant, people should have the choice of compliant browsers, and IE should fuck off and die.

Re:The choice (1, Insightful)

Surrounded (1487683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999873)

So people should have a choice, but IE should go and die? Doesn't sound like a choice to me.

I don't know about you, but the only website I've ever had problems with in IE was .... Slashdot.

FYI - People can use any browser they want right now - All possible because there is at least one browser already installed on Windows.

Re:The choice (3, Interesting)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999921)

You sure use the word fanboi a lot for someone who systematically goes down a list browsers, humorously lashing out at all but one of them.

Macs come only with Safari (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999303)

Macs come only with Safari...should there be a required option for Mac OS X too?

Re:Macs come only with Safari (4, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999505)

And many linux desktops only come with Firefox or Konqueror, and many mobile platforms only come with Opera, and many consoles only come with their own half-baked browsers, unless you go out of your way to find an alternative. That's not the issue. The issue is that IE is bundled with a monopoly product, non-standard, has related development tools that encourage writing for just it, and the end result is that a monopoly is, by default, becoming more of a monopoly, when the intent is that, instead, competition and progress should be encouraged.

Re:Macs come only with Safari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999779)

The issue is that IE is bundled with a monopoly product

I've never paid attention to the antitrust case closely and this might be a dumb question, but since the grandparent mentions OS X, I thought I would ask. What exactly is monopolistic about Windows? Especially nowadays when both the Apple and Linux markets are growing (even though they existed 10 years ago). There's nothing stopping anyone writing the next big OS, either. If this is about brand-name machines having a Microsoft tax, then isn't that the responsibility of the manufacturer? If this is about IE being a big component of Windows, then couldn't the same be said about OS X and Safari? I don't use Safari on my OS X boxes, but I know the underlying technology is required for OS X to function properly.

This is nothing like the telco/cable markets, where, as far as I'm concerned, true monopolies exist.

Re:Macs come only with Safari (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000029)

...and Galeon, and Dillo, and lynx, etc.

Re:Macs come only with Safari (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000115)

and if anyone wants proof that the monopolistic way is a bad thing, if it wasn't for the competition from Firefox, we'd all still be using IE6.

Now we just need to see the same level of competition within the Windows monopoly for all other computing features and applications.

Re:Macs come only with Safari (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999759)

Macs come only with Safari...should there be a required option for Mac OS X too?

Not unless they become a monopoly and use that monopoly illegally, in which case the answer will be yes.

Re:Macs come only with Safari (1)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999835)

Is Safari an integral part of the OS? Nope. Can you remove Safari? I think so but I haven't used a mac in ages.

Unfair (3, Interesting)

leptons (891340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999317)

If the EU does this, then will they also force Apple to open the iPhone to other browsers? Will they force Google to allow other browsers to be shipped with android? Ok, these are not desktop platforms, but the same should apply.

Re:Unfair (5, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999441)

Is the iPhone or Android market dominant? Are Apple or Google able to impose their de-facto standards on anyone else?

Re:Unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27000173)

Yes.

Re:Unfair (2, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999447)

I agree. But then again a version of Windows that will only run MS software is also fine in my eyes. It's their product, and if people aren't happy then they shouldn't buy it. Does the EU force Apple to unbundle QT and Safari, or what about iTunes? Are BMW forced to fit a third-party stereo?

Re:Unfair (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999525)

I'm sure that as soon as either of those get convicted of illegally leveraging a monopoly they'll come under the same scrutiny as Microsoft does.

Until that happens would you like some cheese with your whine ?

Re:Unfair (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000013)

I'm sure if that ever happens many Slashdotters will find some excuse why it's unfair to Apple.

In any case, the EU could force Apple to unbundle QT and Safari if it wanted to without any finding of Apple leveraging an illegal monopoly.

Re:Unfair (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999545)

Why is this investigation in MS/Windows/IE so hard to understand?
There must be dozens of makes and hundreds of types of phones on the market with several different operating systems.
But every time I go shopping for a PC I find they all come with Windows, unless you build one yourself there isn't any choice.

Because (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000057)

phones aren't computers perhaps?

Re:Unfair (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999615)

If the EU does this, then will they also force Apple to open the iPhone to other browsers? Will they force Google to allow other browsers to be shipped with android? Ok, these are not desktop platforms, but the same should apply.

The same laws do apply, you just don't seem to have a clue what they are. You first clue should be the word "antitrust". Find out what a "trust" is and you'll be most of the way to understanding why MS's action violates an antitrust law while Neither Apple nor Google's bundling of a browser does.

Re:Unfair (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000001)

No. These are different thing, it's like comparing..well you know where that goes.

Apple is providing the complet experience, MS does not.

If MS built computers along with putting the code that runs them, then that would be fine.

This is not the case.

Using this as a reason to open up any software on the device, is like demanding that the company that makes your TV must allow different software to replace the firmware.

Re:Unfair (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000131)

If the EU does this, then will they also force Apple to open the iPhone to other browsers?

I hope so. I generally don't have problem with laws that give consumers more choice. In fact, I hope that sooner or later Apple gives up on this notion of controlling all application distribution for the iPhone.

But even if they don't address those issues, two wrongs don't make a right. I have no objection to Microsoft being forced to support removal of IE and bundling of other browsers.

This is just stupid... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999365)

Why is this such a big issue, do I get a choice of Browser on a Mac, does Opera come pre-installed in Linux???

Perhaps Ford should stop selling cars with Ford radios in them because it isn't fair to Alpine...

Re:This is just stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999557)

Ford is to Motorcraft as Microsoft is to ________.

*sigh* (1, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999385)

And now we will have a ton of posts that either bash or IE or stick up for IE. This isn't about IE and its merits. It wouldn't matter if Microsoft had THE best browser in the world. The EU doesn't care about that, do they? This isn't even about the consumer. This is just a political/corporate game.

And frankly, letting the EU play it (and Google, now) simply because *we* don't like IE is ridiculous. Next thing we know, they'll have to start bundling Notepad++, too, because Notepad has the market cornered ;)

Besides, so let's say they don't bundle IE... or say they have to bundle a competitor. Which competitor? Firefox? Why not K-Meleon? Safari? Opera? Seamonkey? And hey, what about all those other calculators out there? And what about bundling openoffice.org instead of an Office trial version? And what about ...

It's stupid. I use Firefox and really don't like IE at all, and I still think its stupid...

Re:*sigh* (1, Troll)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999563)

Agreed. This is one cluster-fuck can of worms they're about to open.

Re:*sigh* (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999589)

Groan, you complete miss the point. IE is not a neutral browser, it encourages sites to be broken and IE only. If it was standards compliant and was a simple drop-in replacement for FF, Opera etc, no one would really care, technically or politically. But when you abuse your monopolist position to repeated cause breakage with those not using your products, sooner or later you are going to face situations like this. MS know this and will continue to act like this. Their position is reinforced every time they pull such stunts, and it takes several years to reign them in. By then it's too late, the damage is done. Then the cycle repeats until the company becomes irrelevant like IBM's mainframe control. Why do you think MS are desperate to get into other markets and control them? Their own writing is on the wall for software and they know it. So they look how to get into then control other markets, which is proving to be somewhat more difficult that they'd like.

Re:*sigh* (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999719)

But the IE8 dev team has already proven they are working this crap out of the IE codebase. Hell producing a list that admits what major sites WILL break in IE8 is about as good as they can actually do at this point. Why is MS only being punished for things it did 10 years ago now. Just as its trying to turn things around?

Re:*sigh* (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999947)

I don't think it matters. The EU is not in the business of quality assurance for the internet nor web browsers. And the cycle repeating until the company "becomes irrelevant" is precisely what is supposed to happen. Businesses make mistakes and lose the limelight. It should happen to most businesses. Google will make a mistake at some point, go in the wrong direction, and someone else will rise out of it, etc...

Re:*sigh* (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999629)

Yet another person who doesn't understand why we regulate monopolies.

Re:*sigh* (3, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999637)

The point is that MS doesn't use the ubiquity of notepad to push licenses of MS .TXT File Server or something like that.
They don't break .txt file interoperability to shut out competitors.

They do do this sort of thing with IE.

I agree the solution of bundling different browsers doesn't make much sense. I think that a much better approach would be promoting standards compliant web pages and browsers.
I'd like to see the EU and the US Feds requiring it for anything that gets any government funding.

Re:*sigh* (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999711)

Actually I think the real solution is to break up the OS devision from the rest of Microsoft. Remove Office, programming, web, etc permanently from the OS.

Unfortunately this is difficult fir the EU to do alone and the US so far has been unwilling.

Re:*sigh* (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999971)

Yeah, what we need are more products that have nothing to do with each other and that don't work well together! And what's with Linux developers working on multiple projects? Not good!!

Allow me to ask ... why can't a SOFTWARE company produce SOFTWARE that goes well with other SOFTWARE that it has produced? Just because a lot of people use it? Eh. I don't know if popularity should have that kind of downside :)

Re:*sigh* (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000031)

That's what open standards are suppose to be for. As a bonus, if everyone adheres to the standards, not only do you get software that works well together, but you get lots of it, and therefore choices. That is what is ultimately good for consumers and what is at the core of the antitrust rulings against microsoft.

Re:*sigh* (1)

imcclell (138690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000111)

I think you misunderstand the original intention.

Bill Gates for everything else about the man, was about making things usable for the average person. Did this always work? Nope. Did they cut a lot of corners out of laziness? Yup. Did they do illegal things with their monopoly? Sure did. Was adding IE one of them? Not from their point of view.

From their point of view, they created software to fill a need their customers wanted. ActiveX, piece of trash? Yup. Made to destroy other browsers? Not likely. ActiveX was a lazy way of fixing a complex problem. They had a lot of that over the years.

People make it sound like they went out of their way to destroy Netscape. I don't think that was the case at all, because what would they gain from it? Windows was already dominant with no other competition in sight, and they didn't sell IE. The more likely answer is they went to make a better experience for their users, and Netscape being ruined was an unfortunate side effect that frankly, didn't matter one way or another to them.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999675)

Agreed, where do you stop...oh, and by the way...how are most user's supposed to browse to google and download chrome if they don't have a browser to begin with. Big fan of firefox, and chrome, but this is stupid

Re:*sigh* (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999807)

This isn't even about the consumer. This is just a political/corporate game.

Yeah, I'm sure enforcing the same laws they enforce against everyone else must seem like a political game if you live in a country where MS gives huge amounts of money to politicians and those same politicians make sure laws aren't enforced against MS.

And frankly, letting the EU play it (and Google, now) simply because *we* don't like IE is ridiculous.

Speak for yourself. Some of us actually understand antitrust law and the damage MS's illegal actions have done to all of us and would like to see the advantages of a free market apply again. Why do you hate the free market? Are you a commie or something :)

Next thing we know, they'll have to start bundling Notepad++, too, because Notepad has the market cornered ;)

Sounds good to me, maybe MS will finally be motivated to fix Notepad to properly handle all unicode and line endings.

Besides, so let's say they don't bundle IE...

Okay, so OEMs preinstall other browsers and users use Firefox or Safari by default sometimes. I don't see the problem. Maybe developers will then target standards more and we won't have to worry about broken "IE only " pages as much and developers may even use some f the cool new HTML5 features and just tell users to get any browser but IE until IE catches up. Again, sounds like a good thing to me.

or say they have to bundle a competitor. Which competitor? Firefox? Why not K-Meleon? Safari? Opera? Seamonkey?

All of them that want to be included, of course. Mind you this is just speculation as the only one to mention such a potential remedy so far has been MS themselves, not Google or Opera or the EU.

And hey, what about all those other calculators out there? And what about bundling openoffice.org instead of an Office trial version? And what about ...

What about them? Why should MS get a free pass to have crappy applications installed. End users deserve better and can have better if we restore the free market. Let MS sell their crappy calculator and text editor and word processor on their merits the same way every other developer does.

It's stupid. I use Firefox and really don't like IE at all, and I still think its stupid...

That's fine. Think it is stupid if you want. I, on the other hand applaud restoring free market competition because I understand and believe in the benefits of competition and the innovation that results. Of course I passed Econ 101, which seems to be pretty abnormal here.

Re:*sigh* (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000089)

Hello, the below sounds really harsh. :( but isn't meant to be. I'm just typing quickly.

The same laws enforced on everyone else? Hmmmmm. Name one? Preferably a software company, please.

I like the free market. Which implies the EU not getting involved in it... or the US, or whoever else.

Hehe, fixing notepad would be good... wait, no it wouldn't, because then there'd be another monopoly there. As it is, I'm forced to download a competitor. Bad notepad == good for competitor business. Why do you want them to fix it? :)

OEM installs other browsers... well, they can do that now, if they want to, can't they? "No, because then Microsoft won't let them use Windows." Great, then maybe they'll start using Linux. Unless Linux isn't as good as we like to think it is, and people actually can't use it as well? Hmmm. Regardless, if THAT was the lawsuit - forcing Microsoft to not make deals that kept OEMs from putting Firefox on a computer that they sell - I would suppor tthat. But forcing MS to take it out of Windows altogether is stupid, IMO.

All of them that want to be included? Great, my computer will now ship with 50 browsers. :)

End users deserve better and can have better if we restore the free market ... by what? By telling Microsoft, by court-ordering/government-mandating them to shape up and produce better products or leave? Sounds like free, consumer-driven market to me! (sarcasm, hehe). Maybe bad MS products will drive people to use other products. Isn't that how the free market is supposed to work? Not the government or EU or whoever TELLING consumers that they NEED to use other products because this company's ones aren't that great... ?

Hmmm. While we're at it, I don't like Hershey's chocolate. Can we force them people to buy good chocolate?

And incidentally, MS Word isn't as bad as you seem to think it is :) Other than that it doesn't necessarily support this or that standard. Which shouldn't necessarily be bad, unless "free market" now means that everyone has to work together or else.

Re:*sigh* (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000197)

"The same laws enforced on everyone else? Hmmmmm. Name one? Preferably a software company, please."

Well I believe AT+T got broken up many years ago for violating antitrust laws. (The same should have happened for Microsoft) I don't know about any other software companies that have been convicted of antitrust violations but maybe that is simply because other software companies haven't done so. That doesn't mean the law does not apply equally. it just means that MS is the only company to break it (or get caught, 'cause I could name a few others that should be charged too)

 

Hyperbolic bullshit (5, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999811)

And now we will have a ton of posts that either bash or IE or stick up for IE. This isn't about IE and its merits

That my friend, is correct.

The EU doesn't care about that, do they? This isn't even about the consumer.

This, my friend, is 10000% incorrect. Anti-trust is exactly about the consumer. For capitalism to work, competition must be preserved and consumers must have choice. MS is a convicted monopolist, and MS has been proven that it exercises it's OS market share to intimidate PC makers to only bundle IE, and because it gives away IE for free, it under cut Netscape who, at the time was switching to a pay model for it's web browser.

This is just a political/corporate game.

That's true, at least for Google and Microsoft, but don't try to lump the EU into that same category. I'm not saying any government, even the EU, is perfect, but I'm sick and tired of people who don't understand trust law not realizing that prosecuting a monopoly is a Good Thing.

And frankly, letting the EU play it (and Google, now) simply because *we* don't like IE is ridiculous. Next thing we know, they'll have to start bundling Notepad++, too, because Notepad has the market cornered ;)

Obviously a troll, but I'll bite. First, you say this has nothing to do with the quality of IE, which is absolutely true, so the first part of this sentence is invalidated by that. It's not about if we don't like it, it's about if Microsoft is abusing it's monopoly power. Remember, although the penalty phase was messed up, in the US, Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. Second, your comment about notepad shows again you don't understand monopolies. The monopoly here is in the OS market with windows, and the abuses are using their OS dominance to gain dominance in another market, the web browsing market, which, despite Firefox, they still have a dominant share in. Besides... who's to say microsoft's licensing language doesn't prevent OEMs from installing notepad++? Notepad isn't a powerplayer here, but if the maker of notepad++ and dell wanted to enter into an agreement, and Microsoft said "if you do that I will jack up your licensing fees" then that's abuse of monopoly power. Dell has no choice, and that's a bad thing. That translates into no choice for the consumer.

Besides, so let's say they don't bundle IE... or say they have to bundle a competitor. Which competitor? Firefox? Why not K-Meleon? Safari? Opera? Seamonkey? And hey, what about all those other calculators out there? And what about bundling openoffice.org instead of an Office trial version? And what about ...

All very valid points, and I simply reply by saying "yeah that's a good idea, why not?" For the browser at least, since it's essentially required software, install a bunch of different ones, and allow OEMs to create a program which says "hey, which browser do you want to try?" Or, allow OEMs to chose a browser other than IE. But there are other solutions as well. We don't have to worry about the specific solution here because the article makes no mention of a solution, so you just pulled that out of your ass. They haven't gotten to that stage yet.

See, in the old days, MS said to OEMs "You will bundle ONLY IE with windows or we will charge you outrageous licensing fees!" And it worked. IBM said no, and they found out they weren't the 800 lb gorilla any more and had to pay through the nose. Dell complied and they got some of the best prices. However, consumers complain to Dell, and want choice from Dell. Dell's hands are tied, and consumers suffer. Dell has no way to improve the experience for customers and evolve because Dell is bound by Microsoft who demands this. Dell I'm sure would like to offer another browser. Let Dell chose, and thus the consumer judge Dell it on it's own merits. Choice is stifled here, therefore the consumer loses. Microsoft may still be doing this to a degree, despite being a convicted monopolist, and the EU is trying to break this monopoly.

It's stupid. I use Firefox and really don't like IE at all, and I still think its stupid...

I don't like IE either. I also don't like Monopolies, and I like that the EU is going after them. But what's stupid is attacking everyone involved like no one has the consumer's best interests at heart. The EU isn't pristine and I'm sure they would like the prestige of busting a trust, or get additional "fines" from MS to prop up their economy, but it's something that should have been done a long time ago. It's the right thing to do, even if just to make sure Microsoft doesn't continue to screw around with OEMs and consumers.

Re:*sigh* (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000067)

No, it's a good res[ponce the the problems.

You just don't bundle any full browser at all.
Or you bundle the top 5 available browsers.
IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and safari.

Office trial version is part of the default install. It's an add on by PC builders.

Toposhaba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999413)

If windows didn't have IE, how would we download firefox

Re:Toposhaba (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999471)

Re:Toposhaba (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999753)

We have to end the monopoly of wget included with windows! It's a damned near monopoly!

"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundled?" (4, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999433)

Well, there are a lot of ways to do that:

1.You can use FTP.
2.You can download Firefox installer on another PC and then transfer it using floppies, USB flash memory or some other sneakernet technology.
3.You can include the Firefox installer to your Windows install CD.
4.Microsoft may make a program that lets you choose between IE, Firefox, Opera and Chrome.

Anyway, how do you install network card drivers after installing Windows if your network card is not supported by the default Windows install?

"But Joe Sixpack will not know how to accomplish options #1-#3 and MS may not make option #4 available to him"

Well, there is a high probability that Joe also does not know how to install Windows. So he has two options:
1. Ask a friend to install Windows for him
2. Buy a PC with Windows already installed by an OEM.

In case of #1, the friend will also be able to install Firefox, in case of #2. the OEM will have installed a browser for him.

Re:"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundle (2, Insightful)

Slide100 (150632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999605)

1. Ask a friend to install Windows for him
2. Buy a PC with Windows already installed by an OEM.

In case of #1, the friend will also be able to install Firefox, in case of #2. the OEM will have installed a browser for him.

And, the OEM will likely install IE. Joe Sixpack will have no idea that there are other options out there, and continue to use what he's given.

I have tried to get my wife to use something (anything) other than IE, but she won't. She knows how to use Windows (in a limited way) can get her email and the few websites she is interested in. She also uses Word to do her report cards 3 times a year - and she happy with that. I think she represents the vast majority of computer users out there who aren't interested in the latest and greatest.

The average /.er on the other hand.........

Re:"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundle (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000009)

Well, if your wife bought a new PC and it only had Firefox browser, but no IE, she would either have to use it or learn how to get IE (well, she could ask you, but what if this happened to a person who is not married to a slashdotter?)

Re:"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundle (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000187)

Probably not becasue they would ahve to deal with the EU if they only added IE.

This could be good for PC makers becasue they could charge a fee to be added to their build.
So you want to be on a dell PC? pay .01 Cents per install.

The fact that your wife can't do something as simple as use another browser for you speaks more towards your relationship then it does for the average user.

I explained why I don't like IE and my wife switched. It's not like there is much of a learning curve; even less now.

My wife is an avid volunteer at our kids's school, we PTA president. We don't use office, so when we would get a Doc in MS's ne format, we would request that the sender save it as a doc file, explain why we don't use office. People understood and a few that have since got a new PC have moved to openoffice.

This are very typical people, very few with a technical background.

Re:"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999607)

In case #2, the OEM have been able to install what ever browser they want up to now. If you want Firefox to be put on by the OEM, ask them. Or get laws forcing the OEM's too do it.

Re:"But how will I get firefox if IE is not bundle (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999641)

I want to write a new browser. Now MS have to include my browser on their install program.

Do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999445)

So much for that. Getting involved in the legal process to stab a competitor is far from evil (even if the target is evil themselves). How long until the EU starts an anti-trust case against Google and MS returns the favor?

Re:Do no evil? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999575)

So much for that. Getting involved in the legal process to stab a competitor is far from evil (even if the target is evil themselves). How long until the EU starts an anti-trust case against Google and MS returns the favor?

Being remarkably less evil will help mitigate the potential harm of this.

Google has a lot less to lose from monopoly scrutiny.

In the words of Denis Leary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999533)

Talk about the pot and fucking kettle...

Google just proved they have no real way to compete with Microsoft. Most of us already kind of knew that but at least Google has made it official.

shame on you google! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26999541)

isn't a little too late to do this? i mean c'mon...one browser can be installed in less than 5 minutes or 3 clicks on almoust every operating system, does every operating system let you choose a compeitior browser at install?..no ..it's a default option ..change it if you don't like it!

This is ridiculous (0)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999553)

I don't get it. Microsoft makes a web browser and bundles it with their operating system. Big deal! Apple does the same thing with Safari. My iMac didn't come with FireFox or Opera, but I've since downloaded them. I have IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome & Safari on my XP machine at work. Microsoft in no way prevented me from downloading these or installing them. If you went to download a FireFox or Chrome and IE threw up a 404 page or gave some sort of warning like "Use of this browser will compromise the security of your computer" I could see their point. Besides, aren't they kind of late to the game? If this was at the time when MS killed Netscape they may have had some true concern, but the market has been working this out, even if it isn't at the same pace as the fascists at the EU would like.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999805)

But you can't UNINSTALL the browser!
Microsoft entwines it so much with the OS that it's ALWAYS THERE.
It removes your choice and unfairly stifles competition!
Antitrust! Antitrust!

Fucking companies who can't compete need to gtfo. It's the coddling and "yes you can! everyone's special" attitude that has led to the massive failure we're seeing now.

Windows is almost always bundled with machines because that's what customers want, and that's what OEMs seek to deliver. OSX is bundled with macs because you have no choice.

IE is bundled with Windows because Joe Schmo can't be trusted to understand what a browser is, and can't be trusted to provide his own without an existing browser to get on the interwebs and download a different one. You can't (easily) remove IE because Joe Schmo can't be trusted to not remove it and then blame Bill Gates for not being able to read up on the latest Nascar news.

If you can't compete, too bad. Life isn't fair.
If you're stuck on the ass end of an interest-only payment scheme, fuck off and pack your bags.
If Billy is being a little shit in school, the teacher should beat his bare ass in front of the whole class.

-Google has no business in this case.
-The case has no merit. This shit was settled multiple times, ages ago but the EU just views MS as a piggybank they can fine whenever they want. I'd love to see MS just pull out of all business in the EU.
-Slashdot will mod me flamebait.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

parodyca (890419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999869)

"Windows is almost always bundled with machines because that's what customers want, and that's what OEMs seek to deliver. OSX is bundled with macs because you have no choice."

What a load of rubbish. Customers are generally ignorant of other options and the OEMs are more than happy to keep it that way.

1) Microsoft gives them good discounts if they do NOT use any other OS
2) third party companies pay the OEMs to install their trialware.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999841)

As I see it, if you're given a choice you decide which browser you want to use. If you're not, which is the case here, you might not bother. Many IE users I have talked to said that the reason they used IE was simply because it was there and they didn't want to bother installing other browsers. Or they simply didn't know they had a choice.

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999945)

I don't get it.

No you don't. Why don't you look up what antitrust law is and gain an understanding?

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27000035)

I don't get it. Microsoft makes a web browser and bundles it with their operating system. Big deal! Apple does the same thing with Safari.

That isn't the issue. Microsoft are treated differently because they have a monopoly and they allegedly leverage it to gain further control.

It would only be the same thing if Apple were in Microsoft's position, a monopoly. In that case they would be under the same scrutiny, but they're not so they aren't. Likewise, if Microsoft were in Apple's position they wouldn't be facing this right now.

Just practice for Google lawyers (1)

mikefocke (64233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999713)

for when they have to reply to an anti-trust complaint.

Why does IE have the highest usage ranking?

Because it comes with Windows and has been tested in advance to work with Windows. So people have no reason to try the many options that are different. People don't want different, they want familiar. Another reason is because IE terminates normally and doesn't leave processes hanging like Firefox has done for the last 2 years. I love Firefox's interface and use its latest (on both XP and Vista) but am not blind to its faults and can't set my wife up to use it. I'd have to be her full time process killer.

And Google's quality in most of their applications lacks IMHO compared to Microsoft's (compare Gmail to Outlook).

Every ISV and user should be involved! (1, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26999929)

Microsoft and its monopoly has materially harmed the industry and consumers for so long, it has to stop.

For everyone that argues that Microsoft innovates or has created the computer market in the first place, I submit that you either don't know the history of the personal computer or choose to ignore it.

Thin client computers were killed by Microsoft. The "Are you my friend or are you Larry's" asked Bill Gates, and poof the DEC Shark was dead and so, eventually was DEC.

"Go" computers got killed when Toshiba pulled out of an agreement. The "rumor" was that Microsoft threatened them.

DRI's DRDOS, ConcurrentDOS, Gem Desktop, and the list can go on and on.

Many of these technologies were better than what Microsoft was offering and had a chance until Microsoft used its monopoly position to threaten suppliers and pay off retail outlets.

So, because of Microsoft's actions, we are STUCK with computers that come with Windows pre-installed. No one gets to choose. Its like a DVD player that only plays movies from Sony. That in itself isn't bad, but when that is the only practical DVD player choice, it kills everything else.

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