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EU Accepts Microsoft's Browser Choice Promise

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-that's-it-then dept.

Microsoft 336

itwbennett writes "Hurrah! The European Commission's antitrust investigation of Microsoft's position in the browser market is over. The EC has accepted Microsoft's commitment to offer users of 'Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 a choice screen through which they can pick the browsers they want to install on their PC,' writes Peter Sayer in an article on ITworld. 'The screen will be offered to users in the European Union and some neighboring countries for the next five years via the Windows Update mechanism. In addition, PC manufacturers will be allowed to ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer.'"

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Hurray! (5, Funny)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457364)

No more IE being forced down our throats... Except when we need to access our corporate intranet.

Re:Hurray! (0, Redundant)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457400)

No more IE being forced down our throats... Except when we need to access our corporate intranet.

... and school computers, and grandma's computer, and websites that were designed for IE 666

Re:Hurray! (2, Interesting)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457600)

Which IE8 can't do, I think. Can you even install IE6 on Windows 7?

Re:Hurray! (5, Insightful)

dotwhynot (938895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457782)

Which IE8 can't do, I think. Can you even install IE6 on Windows 7?

Only in VirtualXP mode. I believe Win7 is the best bet to get rid of most of the remaining IE6 users, because many corporation and governments that skipped the Vista upgrade cycle, and didn't want to update/certify intranet applications between cycles, will upgrade to Win7 (for many reasons). Let's hope they do it quickly. At least IE8 is a huge step in right direction.

Re:Hurray! (5, Informative)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458192)

IE8 is certainly a step in the right direction, and I will be so happy when IE6 finally eats flaming death; but there are still glaring omissions [wikipedia.org] . Not that any browser is a model citizen in this regard, but IE is definitely worst. Now I'm aware that it is possible to work your way around the differences, I just finished a library to be used internally that emulates W3C-compliant DOM events in IE; but I'd rather spend my time doing actual development than working around browser bugs (which 99% of the time are caused by various incarnations of IE).

Re:Hurray! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458224)

IE8 is still a PITA. One example: The most useful feature in web design, PNGs with alpha channels, is still horribly broken in IE8 when used in all but the most trivial ways. You can't simply combine them with the alpha(opacity) filter (which is Microsoft's weird way of working around the lack of CSS opacity support). There are even some cases which IE7 got right and IE8 screws up. Even in the cases where it seemingly works (i.e., it doesn't turn the alpha-channel into GIF like 1-bit transparency), IE8 and all IEs before it get alpha-channel PNGs with alpha-filter on top completely wrong. Buffoons.

Re:Hurray! (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458032)

and websites that were designed for IE 666

I wonder what choices Microsoft will suggest. Maybe Lynx or Links? Or Konqueror? Who knows, maybe they'll even suggest Opera. If they suggest Firefox or Chrome, I will be very surprised.

Re:Hurray! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457862)

I don’t get these comments about IE required for corporate intranet. I’ve never seen something like that.

Also: You are free to allow another company to buy your services, or just sell right to end-users.

Re:Hurray! (3, Informative)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458034)

A lot of intranet applications require proprietary ActiveX / OCX controls, which only work in IE (I think). I've also seen quite a few intranet applications that run with VBScript, which also requires IE (again, I think).

Re:Hurray! (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458376)

At the very least, most security DVR systems I've used or seen require an Active-X control to be used to view the cameras, which then requires IE.

Re:Hurray! (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457916)

Or if you need to get that DRM'd music ripped from Windows Media Player activated on your mom's computer...

Re:Hurray! (0, Flamebait)

brewmage (1221022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457928)

And don't forget that Microsoft Update only works with IE, so you have to use it then too... Unless they make changes for it to work with the others.

Re:Hurray! (5, Informative)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458042)

Vista and Windows 7 don't use IE for Microsoft Update, but nice try.

Windows XP (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458350)

Even back at the time of Windows XP and Firefox 1.5, users were able to update their machines without IE by using Windizupdates.
Also, the system daemon running periodical downloads and updates in WinXP wasn't IE-dependent either (only the user interface).

Last but not least, the patch themselves are always available for download from MS' website, no matter what (that's how Windizupdate did obtain them).

The only IE-dependencies should be for a couple of applications requiring IE HTML-rendering libraries to render their UI. None the less, the WINE team has managed to create the necessary glue-code libraries to use Gecko's HTML-renderer instead. So it should be possible to go completely IE-free.

Yeah right. (2, Informative)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457402)

Good luck with that. IE is still a huge chunk of the shell and is shipped with XP weather you like it or not. (can't comment on win7/vista)

Re:Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457454)

Good thing MS stopped shipping XP.

Re:Yeah right. (0)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457644)

I imagine the IE install files will still be on your computer no matter what. I'd laugh if MS set this up to throttle your connection when you're trying to download one of the alternate browsers, with a message popping up every few minutes asking you if you'd rather go with IE instead.

past behaviour (0, Troll)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457408)

so this is a remedy for future anti-competitive concerns. How does this address past anti-competitive behaviour?

It sounds a little like "Microsoft murdered people. Microsoft enters into a legally binding agreement not to murder for the next 5 years."

Re:past behaviour (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457604)

Unlike murder, anti-competetive isn't a problem as long as no one complains.

Re:past behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457672)

Yes, that's right. Supplying your own browser with your own operating system is analogous to murdering someone. Good work.

Re:past behaviour (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457974)

Anti-competitive behaviour is not like murder. That's an unfair comparison.

MS was fined 1.3 billion for past behaviour. This promise is needed for them not to get future fines:

http://slashdot.org/yro/08/02/27/1152208.shtml?tid=98

Next up (4, Funny)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457424)

Uberdork: "Now if only we could get them to ship Windows with a choice to use bash."

Re:Next up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457476)

slashdot user: "Now if only we could get them to bash Windows themselves".

Re:Next up (2, Informative)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457610)

That's why I usually install cygwin on my computers; I just can't get used to Windows' commands.

Re:Next up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458072)

That's why I usually install cygwin on my computers; I just can't get used to Windows' commands.

using cygwin is like using a blow up doll. It doesn't even feel like the real thing. (capcha is probing!)

Re:Next up (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458230)

The voice of experience, I presume? :D

Re:Next up (1)

Ralish (775196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457618)

Well, not bash, but they do ship their high-end editions of Vista/7 and most (all?) Server 2008/R2 editions with csh and ksh as part of Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications [wikipedia.org] , an optional component. And, there's always Cygwin [wikipedia.org] . But really, PowerShell [wikipedia.org] is better than all of the above. Yes, I know I just pissed off a stack of people devoted to the inherent and forever eternal supremacy of the Unix command-line paradigm, and while I would have agreed with you until the advent of PoSH, I can't anymore. Those who have to administer Windows machines would be richly rewarded by learning it. Yes, I know the parent was comment in jest :)

Re:Next up (2, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458196)

But really, PowerShell is better than all of the above.

Depends on whether you think that types are a good thing or a bad thing in shells. If you like types, then PowerShell is indeed MSNirvana(TM). Those of us who think that types are just an annoyance when it comes to sticking programs together to do cool stuff, well, we're just never going to be all that impressed with MS's offering here and will stick to other technologies.

Who's right? I'm definitely biased, but I rather like the POSIX way of doing things.

Re:Next up (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458394)

PowerShell is very cool but in reality it's not just about the shell, it's also about the tools: typical linux install has a better selection and there are loads and load more available with just a quick "apt-cache search problem ... apt-get install new-tool"

Re:Next up (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457904)

Real geeks prefer zsh! ^^

And ubergeeks prefer a shell for their Emacs VM. ;)

YAY (2, Insightful)

Kc_spot (1677970) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457434)

Congrats Europe!! you'll finally be able to use Firefox and Opera or maybe even Chrome!! ...4:1 = a majority of stick with IE...

Re:YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457658)

we've been able to use those browsers for a long time...

Re:YAY (0, Flamebait)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457702)

I think that was the point he was trying to make, in an effort to downplay this whole affair. Nothing really changed, in other words.

Additionally, I find it amusing that it's now perfectly fine for computer manufacturers to "ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer," but not for Microsoft to bundle their own browser into software they created.

Re:YAY (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457920)

Additionally, I find it amusing that it's now perfectly fine for computer manufacturers to "ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer," but not for Microsoft to bundle their own browser into software they created.

Wait, what? That's exactly the point: preventing companies from abusing their de facto monopoly in one market to strangle other markets.

The computer manufacturers can't abuse it, because:

1) None has a dominant position in the market
2) The browser they ship won't be theirs, so they're not gaining market share, the web browser developer is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_82 [wikipedia.org]

About time. (0)

Kyrene (624175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457442)

I'm a developer and use Firefox and the "load IE as tab" when I can to avoid using IE. IE is a piece of crap, and given the browsers it's now competing with on the market Microsoft needs to spend time being forced to improve it versus just shrugging their shoulders and forcing the majority of computer users to deal with it as default. Now there can be some genuine competition and hopefully a chance to improve the software.

Re:About time. (2, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457814)

There has been genuine competition for years now. The problem is, most people are 1) too stupid to learn about other browsers, even when you tell them flat out or 2) just don't care because it would require a minuscule amount of effort to install a new browser and adjust to it's layout. I even know people who've been in IT for decades who say "Why would I use anything other than IE?" even after you repeatedly explain all the superior features of other browsers plus IE's security problems. The main problem probably won't go away for a few decades, then it'll be the people who grew up using Firefox, Chrome, etc running the show and we won't have the old dinosaurs who can't comprehend installing a new browser dragging people down.

Re:About time. (1)

Kyrene (624175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458044)

I don't think it's that simple. In every corporate culture I've been in, IE is the default. Given it's installed on every machine that has Windows, it's what people use. And if they're not in the IT world, they have no reason to use anything else. Microsoft has presented it as THE browser of choice, and there's no reason for most corporate environments to behave any differently. Unless you're working for a software company and not on an internal project, nine times out of ten you'll be told users will be forced to use IE, period. I'm lucky that in my IT experience I've never met anyone who refused to use anything other than IE. If that were the case I'd wonder why they were so willfully ignorant of the other choices out there, or it was a forced choice due to the corporate reasons listed above.

Re:About time. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458178)

Ironically IE was once the hip new upstart with better features and a minority share to the old dinosaur that was netscape. What makes you so sure that if FF obliterated IE it wouldn't make the same mistakes? (And trust me I'm no big IE fan, I've used FF since '04, just playing devil's advocate)

Re:About time. (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458324)

I'm saying that people being used to using different browsers and trying new ones won't fight people who try new browsers. It's the same as the old lead IT guys right now who refuse to let people install freeware and insist on paying for a product that does the same thing because "it must be better, it costs money". One of the major clients I work with has an IT head like that and it kills me how much money they waste when they could use free products to do the same things (like using Winzip when they could use 7zip for free).

oh dear (4, Insightful)

kennethmci (1472923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457446)

sounds great - although, i can hear the customes complaining 'i cant find internet explorer'! i love the alternative browsers , but cant help feel the 'average consumer' doesn't really care that much? i have actually installed firefox on family members computers, and couldnt really answer ( with info that they found useful ) what the difference was... my family dont really care to much about usability compliance and security ( well - until theyre shot down themselves with it! )

Re:oh dear (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457524)

You are doing it wrong. On the ignorant user you should just force it. Remove any IE shortcuts and they'll be fine.

I replaced IE with Firefox and Outlook with Thunderbird at my parents years ago. Told them 'the red icon is internet', 'the blue icon is email', and they are happy. The amount of sites that don't work in firefox are limited, and yes, I got lucky with the online banking. That all works in FF.
Now if they only learn that they can install java/flash updates without my help then they'll do fine.

Re:oh dear (1)

clodney (778910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457612)

I can understand replacing IE with Firefox, but unless you are planning on using IMAP instead of MAPI I think Outlook is a far more capable product than Thunderbird. Free as in beer I understand, but if your parents already have a valid Outlook license why would you take it away?

Re:oh dear (3, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457786)

My parents use web based e-mail clients happily. I'm yet to see a free e-mail provider with MAPI. Gmail does POP and IMAP. Outlook does not do IMAP. POP3 just confuses them because it deletes all their mail from server and they can read it at other computers. That leaves Thunderbird, but honestly the Gmail web interface is better, if you have broadband and connection is always available.

Re:oh dear (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458162)

Outlook does IMAP just fine, I'm using it for both my university and gmail account (i don't even have pop enabled on my gmail account, so when I add the account to outlook, it autoconfigures for imap)...

Re:oh dear (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458432)

Thunderbird 3 made some big strides in usability, especially for IMAP (and Gmail specifically). If you haven't looked into it, it may be worth a try, though it sounds like you already have the situation settled...

Re:oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457986)

If it replacing Outlook's retarded bastard brother, Outlook Express, anything will be an improvement. Most residential e-mail offered with cable modem and DSL service is POP so IMAP is probably not an issue.

I hate supporting POP with OE and other cheapo e-mail clients since since it is extra work to backup that data and restore it on another PC or that same PC after a OS reinstall.

Web-based e-mail is nicer for most users since they can use multiple computers and the spam filters reside on the server side so a local spam blocker is not needed. Also, if a computer goes belly up, they don't lose the e-mail since backup of the e-mail is the server's responsibility.

Re:oh dear (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458352)

Who said that they had a valid license?
They are using POP3.
And thunderbird is a less target for viruses (which was a huge issue when I replaced it years ago)

Re:oh dear (3, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457652)

My dad certainly started to use the red ring thing for internet after I had to clean off porn spam off his PC. He is in his sixties and was somewhat embarrassed about it. The rest of the family does it because I named it The Internet and put it on the desktop. Since then time needed to spend cleaning both family computers during my home visits has gone down to about an hour per year. So the user might not care, but the tech savvy family member that gets the free cleanup work does.

Re:oh dear (1)

Brewmeister_Z (1246424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457812)

The diffeence? Three letters for you:

ABP

I have put Firefox with ABP on a few computers for users that seem to have problems with ads and will click anything without concern of the linked site installing malware (like those lovely fake anti-virus programs that Norton and McAfee do nothing to stop). I usually show them the difference using Facebook (if they use that and play game apps) so they see the difference.

Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457522)

I sure hope the EU now forces APPLE to do the very same thing because Apple is far more controlling and "locked in" then Microsoft ever was.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (0, Redundant)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457552)

damn fucking damn fucking editing skills damn argh.. DOH!

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457608)

Last I heard Apple weren't a convicted monopolist.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (0, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457806)

And why werent they? Isnt that the point? Apple does the same thing and they walk away untouched.

Safari, Itunes, Searchlight etc...

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457864)

Safari has under 4% marketshare.

Good luck proving a monopoly with that fact.

It's not like Safari has been around for many years. It's not like Apple have a monopoly in the operating system market that they're using to gain marketshare in the browser market.

Seriously, you should research the original anti-trust case to see what all the fuss was about. Microsoft uses their monopoly power to subsidise functionality in a different business area in order to gain control and be anti-competitive. They came within a bush of being split up.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458334)

Safari has under 4% marketshare.

Good luck proving a monopoly with that fact.

It's not like Safari has been around for many years. It's not like Apple have a monopoly in the operating system market that they're using to gain marketshare in the browser market.

Seriously, you should research the original anti-trust case to see what all the fuss was about. Microsoft uses their monopoly power to subsidise functionality in a different business area in order to gain control and be anti-competitive. They came within a bush of being split up.

Safari has the vast majority of the mobile browser market share in the United States. And unlike MS, whose crime was bundling a browser with its platform, Apple won't even let competitors offer an alternative browser on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457976)

A couple of reasons:
  1. They don't have over 90% of the OS market.
  2. They don't have a bunch of cry-baby fellow Silicone Valley entrepreneurs with a case of sour grapes using their money and political power to push the DOJ into attacking them.
  3. They're creating markets as opposed to controlling them.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (2, Interesting)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458280)

Microsoft has been convicted of violating anti-trust laws. To force a browser down someone's throats for them is bad because they have 90% of the computing world at their fingertips.

THAT'S the difference between Apple and MS. Apple does not. They have, what 8%? That is not a monopoly. Therefore, it is an inane comparison to make. Microsoft is severly limited by what they can and can't do because they are so large and powerful, NOT because of the morals of the issue.

Just because you don't like Apple and their way of business doesn't mean you have to go around every story posting about how Apple should be procecuted for violating anti-trust laws too. They do not have a monopoly on computer hardware and therefore cannot violate these laws - they merely do not allow anyone but themselves (and chosen others) to sell their software and hardware. As for the iPod, that may be a different story, though the MP3 player market is so random and shifting that it's hard to punish anyone for what happened a year ago when it's already irrelivant.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458322)

But they are anti-competitive. Can I sell Macs with Firefox installed instead of safari?

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457630)

The difference is that Apple, unlike Microsoft, is far away from a monopoly. They can be as uncompetitive as they want and get away with it, because their market is still too small to matter in the big picture. And IMHO, Apple users don't deserve any better for buying overpriced eye-candy.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457840)

Really? So you can buy Apple computers with Linux on them or just windows 7?

Apple controls the entire Apple computer market and ship their computers with Safari, Searchlight, Mail, ichat, and itunes. Microsoft can barely get away with including Media player at this point. They had to remove their email and IM programs, and now they have to offer you which browser you want?

Gee... It sounds like I would just buy a mac if i wanted a complete OS with tools out of the box... It sure would be nice if MS provided that... oh they cant by law.

So Legally MS is gimped, and Apple walks away free? How is that fair? Oh right because we hate Microsoft.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

DefenseEngineer (1277030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457988)

I'm guessing you were marked as flamebait because of your tone. But your points are valid. I personally do not like or use Mircosoft products at home. But this ruling is clearly unjust for it to only apply to Microsoft. For something to be deemed fair, it needs to be applied industry wide. Note that I said "fair" and did not say "fair and reasonable," because I believe that applying this ruling industry wide would not be a reasonable decision.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458306)

So Legally MS is gimped, and Apple walks away free? How is that fair? Oh right because we hate Microsoft.

No, because Microsoft has had a stranglehold on the desktop computer industry for years. When you are a monopoly, the same rules do not apply to your company as do to the rest of the industry in question.

Complaining about Apple controlling the Apple computer market is like complaining Toyota controls the Toyota car market. Microsoft has controlled 90%+ of the worldwide desktop computer market for going on three decades now and has been repeatedly busted engaging in illegal, anti-competitive practices. They *shouldn't* be treated the same as Apple or any other company until they stop abusing their dominant position.

Crying "unfair" for poor Microsoft is really, really funny. Being a Microsoft apologist is really amusing, too, but if you feel like defending that behemoth from a bunch of mean Internet posters, knock yourself out.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458378)

Complaining about Apple controlling the Apple computer market is like complaining Toyota controls the Toyota car market

Actually, MS doesn't sell computers. It has no control over what decisions dell,hp,sony etc make with regards to bundling. - See all the trialware that gets included.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (3, Informative)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458348)

Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. They have lots of power (90% of computers) that triggers a group of laws that limits what they can do. Are you getting this in your brain?

Apple is under no legal obligation to sell anything on their hardware, nor is any other hardware vendor. They are not powerful enough to trigger the laws Microsoft has triggered, and therefore do not have any limitations on what they can ship their computers with.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458414)

Apple doesn't have a stranglehold on the desktop market. Microsoft did (or does) according to trials before this which have declared it a monopoly. Non-monopolies can act as unfairly as they want on the basis that consumers have a choice not to use them. Once declared a monopoly, you have to be more considerate of your consumers since they arguably have little or no choice to use your products.

Re:Will this "FAIR" decision will include Apple? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457912)

It depends on what you want to consider a monopoly. Microsoft is hated by the european socialists so it's a monopoly. Apple is loved so it's not. Pretty simple.

Besides it's impossible to have a true monopoly without the governments blessing. I have no problem with Microsoft or Apple including whatever they want in their software. You have a choice to buy it or not. You are also free to start your own computer or software company and run it the way you want.

Where you get true monopolies are with utilities that have used eminent domain to take land for a right of way. It is near impossible for a start up power company to run their own power lines by buying the rights from land owners. But even then if they raise the prices high enough you can get your own generator. Same with phone lines. The technology is such that you can go all cellular.

Finally! (2, Insightful)

dotwhynot (938895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457542)

This is great! Now all the users that really wanted a different browser finally will be able to get one!

(And all users that don't care or don't understand will pick something at random, from a list of up to 12 (!) different browsers, is going to make life interesting for developers again now that we finally were seeing IE6 starting to disappear :)

Re:Finally! (1)

Avalain (1321959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457908)

Well, all users that don't care or don't understand are going to pick one of the first 5 browsers. The other 7 are going to be initially hidden and no one who doesn't care is going to bother scrolling down. (Ok, "no one" is a little strong. I'm sure there are some people who will do it).

Actually, I have a feeling most of the users who don't know what they're doing will look for "Internet" and find "Microsoft INTERNET Explorer".

Hurrah? (3, Insightful)

NanepubPncvgnyvfg (1663251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457568)

This is yet another instance of the state violating our rights. "Boo", not "hurrah".

Not that I'm a huge fan of Microsoft. Financially it's not like it's going to hurt them or anything (I don't think?). But Windows is Microsoft's OS. Why should anyone have the right to force them to be "fair" and let users decide which browser to install? What's next... should we start forcing Microsoft to include Emacs, Vim, Notepad++, and Notepad2 because it's "unfair" that Notepad is included with such a popular OS?

You don't like that the OS doesn't include other browsers by default? Wipe it and install something else. You want to use a different browser? Fire up IE, and go to Opera.com, Mozilla.com, Google.com/Chrome, Webkit.org... nobody is preventing you from doing so.

But don't violate someone's right to decide whether or not they want to bundle your competing software with *their* software. Don't violate someone's right to sign a contract with someone else that says they agree not to bundle other browsers with the default installation of Windows as long as they sell PCs with Windows on them already.

Re:Hurrah? (3, Insightful)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457682)

When governments are not a huge customer of Microsoft, there might be some ground to complain about them being subject to anti-trust laws.

For the moment, "Microsoft tax" is far too literal. And your comment far too close to the usual silliness of reducing regulations on government-supported monopolies...

Re:Hurrah? (1)

NanepubPncvgnyvfg (1663251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457938)

I actually completely agree with you. I'm not just against the state, I'm against companies that use the state as a tool to shut out competition. Most big companies (like health insurance companies) do this, I'm sure you already know.

It's just the principle of the thing I'm against. Last thing I would want is to write an OS, bundle my own browser with it, go into an agreement with PC manufacturers to not bundle other browsers with my OS (something I probably wouldn't do, anyway, but...) and have the state think it has the right to come down on me for "unfair" practices. Bullcrap.

Re:Hurrah? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458188)

When governments are not a huge customer of Microsoft, there might be some ground to complain about them being subject to anti-trust laws.

For the moment, "Microsoft tax" is far too literal. And your comment far too close to the usual silliness of reducing regulations on government-supported monopolies...

I'm having trouble with that statement.

The Government chooses MS based upon their criteria and needs - whatever they may be - and they would know exactly how MS does business because they investigated the products and licenses - right?. Now, after choosing MS, they decide after the fact that they don't want to do business anymore based on the terms they implicitly and explicitly agreed to so, via the law, they change the agreement.

Basically, this sets up a precedent where a company in good faith makes a deal with a Government, and then the Government throws everything out the window and they decide what you will take - maybe give them nothing.

That's scarier than any Microsoft's business practices.

Oh, and they do have an alternative - just ask Richard Stallman.

Re:Hurrah? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458440)

This does not compute. You could say that the government, as a result of these cases, shouldn't sponsor Microsoft until they're a proper law-abiding company, but if you did that for all companies that run into a lawsuit here and there, you wouldn't be able to use almost any products in government.

Notice that I said after the fact, not before. The government may very well use Ford vehicles for all their transit needs and then end up suing Ford because of some other corporate failure like tax evasion. The two issues are orthogonal.

Re:Hurrah? (1)

RingPeace (1049708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458052)

Microsoft don't have any rights past being able to do business under the laws present in the market, the laws have changed in the EU if Microsoft still want to sell products in the EU they will either conform to the new laws or stop seeling in the EU.

Noone is forcing Microsoft to do anything, but if they want to be a part of the EU market they will have to abide by its laws.

Re:Hurrah? (0, Troll)

NanepubPncvgnyvfg (1663251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458356)

Noone is forcing Microsoft to do anything, but if they want to be a part of the EU market they will have to abide by its laws.

The only laws that need to be followed -- in any country -- are just laws: laws that protect us against theft, assault, murder, contract-breaking, etc. These are common sense laws that really don't even need to be on paper.

Most laws dreamed up by the state are unjust laws.

Laws that say we can't do something, even though we're hurting no one, stealing nothing, breaking no signed contract, etc, are unjust laws that don't need to be followed... though you kind of do, unless you want to go to jail.

No one is forcing a company to do business anywhere, sure... but the state *is* forcing companies to do business their way or bust, which is unjust.

This is only fair under one condition (1, Redundant)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457570)

I've never installed a Mac OS, so I'm curious: are you given the option to chose your web browser on installation of a Mac OS? I understand from benchmarks that Safari isn't nearly as terrible as IE is, however this issue isn't about browser quality but rather about MS "forcing" users into using IE. Seems to me if MS has to comply with this, Apple should be held to the same standard.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (1)

iamnothere900 (1098065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457686)

Safari.app is not required for the proper functioning of Mac OS, and you can delete it like any other application. You aren't forced to use it.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457756)

You're not forced to use IE either, unless you lack a copy of another browser and need to use it to download one, which sounds like the same situation with Safari.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30458010)

You can delete the Safari application, but you cannot delete WebKit. WebKit is indeed required for the proper functioning of MacOSX, as are the Cocoa and Carbon bindings for interacting with WebKit. This is really no different than the situation in Windows where you can remove Internet Explorer but not the Trident renderer or the various libraries to host the HTML renderer.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (3, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457764)

Seems to me if MS has to comply with this, Apple should be held to the same standard.

Apple is not in a monopoly position, MS is. Different rules apply when you are, specifically about abusing your monopoly power in one area (e.g. operating systems) to muscle your way into another (e.g. web browsers).

Re:This is only fair under one condition (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457930)

If a user doesn't know enough to replace their web browser, I don't see how its MS's responsibility to notify them that there are better products available. This whole thing just seems like the developers of the "other" web browsers are upset that they invested time and money into developing software that most people just don't care about. If I were wrong, IE wouldn't have the marketshare it does.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (2, Insightful)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458428)

No, IE became powerful because it shipped on Windows by default. For perhaps one release, most considered it better than the competition. However, competition meant little once IE was used by pretty much everyone because it was default. Microsoft made sure that most users never had a choice between more than one browser, and because of this, they more or less shoved IE into the face of most Windows users, making competition a thing of the past.

This EU ruling came about a decade too late, but that doesn't mean it's groundless.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (1)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458434)

Incorrect analogy. AFAIK Apple forces you to only use their software when you buy a mac from them or any apple reseller. MS can't and doesn't (not recently anyway) force computer vendors to use IE. They are free to bundle whatever crap they want (and many do).

OS X got curl, however... (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458198)

First of all, the engine of Safari is open source, portable. See it at http://webkit.org/ [webkit.org] . It is so platform neutral that Gnome camp, KDE Camp (Qt 4) and Apple's toughest smart phone competitor (Nokia) uses it.

Do you see anything like mshtml.org ? Please tell me if you see one. Even Apple is not a convicted monopoly, by offering their Webkit openly, for free to dozens (including competitors) and enabling even MS IE to use it, if they wish, the situation changes instantly.

Stop comparing Apple Safari to Windows IE, they are really, really irrelevant. BTW; where is MS IE 8 for OS X? For what exact reason it is not shipped? Because MS wants to "punish" OS X users for not choosing Windows. Same can be said about Linux/BSD. EU and US Judicial system is dealing with a company like that. A total spoiled 6 year old rich kid.

Re:This is only fair under one condition (2, Informative)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458382)

Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. They have lots of power (90% of computers) that triggers a group of laws that limits what they can do. Apple is under no legal obligation to sell or offer anything on their hardware, nor is any other hardware vendor. They are not powerful enough to trigger the laws Microsoft has triggered, and therefore do not have any limitations on what they can ship their computers with.

Is IE in the OS? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457598)

Is IE still distributed with the OS or not?

Dumb. (0, Offtopic)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457646)

This fixes nothing. Open standards and the ability to cleanly replace applications is what is really needed. This does nothing to address either of those problems.

Let's address what was in the findings of fact from the antitrust trial back in the late 90's.

Integration means it is still there (2, Interesting)

Brewmeister_Z (1246424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457670)

Since Internet Explorer is integrated into the OS, does this mean they changed the OS significantly or just removed the interface? If you just get rid of the icon and/or executable for IE, the operating system would still use the underlying functionality of IE for Internet access so some exploits would still exist and would require continued patching. This change does protect the user on behavior abuses involving the user when the browser is in use but not other Windows features using the underlying functionality.

As for a car analogy, isn't removing IE like removing a factory stereo CD deck that also does the GPS navigation and diagnostic interface then replacing it with an after-market stereo CD deck to gain the MP3 playing feature but without those other features. If the user expects to use those other features, they cannot replace the factory deck and would be better off to add a portable player (Firefox, Chrome, etc.) via the AUX input and never use the CD player part (IE).

Re:Integration means it is still there (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458140)

isn't removing IE like removing a factory stereo CD deck that also does the GPS navigation and diagnostic interface

No, it's not. IE isn't awesome like that.

Honda to sell Accord's with Toyota engines... (2, Interesting)

bmearns (1691628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457704)

I hate IE as much as the next guy, and have no love for MS in general, but I don't see what the big deal is? Why wouldn't they integrate their own browser with their own operating system? They don't even charge for IE, so how can it be a monopoly issue? I must be missing something. Are they going to have include the option of installing crimson editor instead of notepad? How about BB4Win instead of explorer.exe? They don't stop you from installing other browsers, so who cares? Grandma's stuck with IE because she doesn't know how to install Firefox herself. Then she probably wouldn't notice the difference either.

I once thought as you... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457850)

then someone asked me to imagine a Honda with a GM V8....

Re:I once thought as you... (2, Funny)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457984)

You mean an engine using 60 year old technology?

Re:I once thought as you... (1)

bmearns (1691628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457992)

Sorry, I don't follow.

Depends on the description... (5, Funny)

ActionJesus (803475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457748)

Welcome to Windows!

Looks like you need to install a browser. Would you like:

A) Internet Explorer, the latest and most secure browser from Microsoft
B) Firefox, a browser made by terrorists that want access to your computer.

Re:Depends on the description... (1, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30457996)

They'd never get away with that, but they will get away with this:

You must install one of:
A) Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 *
C) Mozilla Firefox 3

And let the users form their own uninformed opinions of which one comes with the newest, shiniest internet.
And of course, if they avoid the phrase "which web browser", a lot of users will think they're being asked to choose between the internet and something they've never heard of (these are the ones who successfully got through XP's network setup wizard by clicking on whatever button was closest to the word "Internet" until it worked).

* Remember, they are currently working on incrementing their version number as fast as they think they can get away with.

Re:Depends on the description... (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458286)

That's just about right, but you forgot another point.....

The IE choice is a large, attractive button with the word 'Yes' on it. The Firefox choice is a hyperlink in x-small size, off to the side, starting with, "No thanks. I'll try the other one".

'Change' is Good (0, Troll)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458112)

Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, IE are on my Virtual Windows Test Area. I can say to my clients, "My product to you is '5 Browser Safe';" With apologies to Mr. Asimov. I don't fully appreciate the "Use Only One Browser Rule". So I don't agree why people don't occasionally check other browsers out. Personal Computers are very flexible these days. And the Browsers I mentioned above all play friendly with each other. But then again, Soccer Mom, and Baseball Dad, IMHO, will never go to Stockholm to collect a prize.

It's also a shame that m$ has to choose names for its products such that they can get a better ranking by using their name on Google, than by their usefulness.

Re:'Change' is Good (1)

Richard.g.k (1215362) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458386)

Because, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera were all named because of their usefulness...

so um...Apple? (0, Redundant)

Richard.g.k (1215362) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458212)

When are they going to force Apple to do the same?

Good Job Microsoft (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458304)

Thank god, who really wants to install IE. Besides governement web apps which are programmed poorly to say the best and don't even work what else does any one need IE for?
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