back to article Opera sings praises of Microsoft-browser statement

Microsoft browser-rival Opera Software has welcomed a European Commission statement that the company has broken European competition law by including Internet Explorer with Windows. Opera chief executive Jon von Tetzchner said the Commission's statement demonstrated that it's serious about getting Microsoft to "start competing …


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  1. Eric

    What a bunch of morons.

    IE/wmplayer/whatever else is included with windows because its basic functionality that the user expects. If they want a really shitty experience where they have to go find a bunch of 3rd party apps to get stuff working they can use linux.

    Everyone who wants to use a browser or media player other than what comes with windows will go out and get it. If Microsoft prevented them from picking an alternative, that would be a problem. But thats not the case.

    All this does is waste consumers time and taxes. Is the EC out for Microsoft just to be dicks or are they completely incompetent?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    But they would say that, wouldn't they?

    As they've duped the idiot eurocrats into another ridiculous decision. Doesn't change anything - still won't use opera - it's sh*t. I even rate IE and Safari over it, but would sooner use FF.

  3. John
    Thumb Down

    maybe it's just me

    but as an hardcore opera fan who paid for it before it was free, I think Opera should leave the court action and focus on being the best browser. FF and Chrome are fast-moving competition, and FF has huge marketshare in some European countries.

    And they should hurry up and get on the iphone! Even if they are only allowed to make a wrapper around webkit, I think they can still come up with a raft of usability enhancements, like fit to width, gesture-based navigation, etc.

  4. Alastair

    Chicken and egg

    So, if my OS doesn't come with a browser, how do I download a browser?

    Even if it had say, 3 browser to choose from on install... who gets to choose which browsers are featured? What is Mr. Joe Average User going to make of it all? Most likely get more confused and annoyed.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton


    Forgive me if I'm being dumb, but can somebody explain to me why MacOS and Safari are less tied than Windows and IE? Last time I installed MacOS, Safari was the default (and only) browser.

    I haven't installed Windows in years so maybe IE is more insiduous ;)

  7. JB
    Gates Horns

    Maybe then, but not now

    Maybe back in the mid-90s, when relatively few people used the internet, would it have been advantageous to include a browser with the operating system, but they have no excuse now. Personally I think people should have more than one browser on their machine, for example I visited a site today and had to use my three browsers before I could get it to load properly. Either that, or there should be more publicity telling average users that other browsers are available, like on the Radio Times ads.

  8. Chris

    two points...

    a) they would say that now wouldn't they

    b) agree heartily

  9. Christopher Ahrens

    Shut up already Opera

    Because of this idiocy I have personally stopped using Opera on principal.

    This is what Opera is sounding like: "Whaaa, MOMMY, but ITS NOT FAIR!"

    I realize that Microsoft can be overbearing with some it products, but Users DO have a choice about what browser they use, Firefox will change the file association so that ALL html documents are opened in it (some applications might specify IE when you click on an internal link, but this is a minority).

    I wonder why the EU is actually paying attention, since with IE8 MS is making an *attempt* at making a standards compliant browser.

  10. David Webb

    The story so far...

    Opera > "So, get them to stop shipping IE with Windows!"

    EU > "Ok, we'll see what we can do, ok?"

    MS > "Umm, ok, we'll no longer ship IE to any Windows PC's in the EU, we will also apply a forced update to all Windows based PC's through Windows Update to uninstall IE from all Windows based PC's in the EU, that work for you?"

    EU > "Yes!"

    3 days later

    Guy > "Honey? Wheres the little blue E thingy gone?"

    Gal > "The little blue E?"

    Guy > "Yeah, you know for the internet"

    Gal > "Isn't it there?!"

    Guy > "Wait, theres a message..."

    Message > "Due to an EU ruling Internet Explorer has now been removed from all Windows PC's within the EU, please click this link to go to the IE home page"

    Guy > clicks link

    Guy > "What? Nothings happening when I click this link!"

    At an important world wide number 1 business place

    BOFH > "IT support, this better be good, I was just about to complete leisure suit larry!"

    Fella > "Umm, we can't seem to access the company network any longer"

    BOFH > "Let me check" click click click "Everything seems to be working fine on this end, what appears to be the problem?"

    Fella > "The big blue E has umm, vanished"

    BOFH > "What?!"

    Fella > "There is a message" (says message)

    BOFH > "So now I have to install IE on all the computers in this entire place, or recode the company intranet sites to work in browsers other than IE? Wheres my cattle prod"

    In France

    Farmer > "I shall just check ze subsidies I am due mai qui!"

    Farmer > "WZF? Ow am I supposed to check zee subsidies now and claim my money for doing no work! I shall have to go on strike and burn zee sheep!"

    At the EU place

    IT Support > "Well yes, the entire company really needs IE to function properly, all our web pages are designed to be run with IE but now that MS has followed your orders and removed it, we no longer can, and as none of the computers have an internet browser now, we cannot use them to download the latest version, we're screwed really"

    EU Chaps > "Wait, you mean 70% of the EU can no longer access the internet because of us?"

    IT Support > "Looks like it, I really hope they can understand why you did it!"

    EU Chaps > "Because its the right thing to do?"

    IT Support > "Don't be stupid, becaue Opera is an EU company!"

  11. Don Mitchell


    Didn't Microsoft produce a browser-free version of Windows a few years ago, and nobody wanted to buy it?

  12. Jim

    Whiny bitches.

    They should spend thier money on getting better than FireFox or Chrome, rather than pushing for MS. Else they should get really serious.

    No Browsers included with ANY OS.. Just because you can't uninstall IE doesn't mean they should bitch about it.. Let's take it further - Make sure you can not ship a browser with any OS.. Safari - Gone, IE - Gone. KDE has a browser Right? GONE..

    Opera preinstalled ? NFW!!!

  13. Brad Darwin

    Hold up

    Wait... If Microsoft isn't allowed to include Internet Explorer on Windows, what do I use to download the browser I WANT to use?

    Seems to me that at least SOMETHING has to be included by default...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    A proprietary OS with no proprietary browser?

    As stated often enough above an OS without a browser is a bit daft really.

    Only politicos with dull (un) civil servants could arrive at that one with both having an aim to influence something big.

    And, to be fair to MS, it is very easy to install the browser(s) of your choice using IE as the means to make the download happen.

    I think the EU 'views' Windows as an open source OS rather than a proprietary one. Love or hate it or professionally admire it it is a proprietary browser on a proprietary OS.

    The EU should be giving kudos to MS for offering a proprietary OS that supports so many diverse different software organizations rather than thumping it - as should Opera.

  15. vincent himpe

    chicken egg problem

    like someone already posted.

    If you have no browser you cannot go online to download a different one either... Ah well.. guess that's too difficult for the UE to grasp.

    And yes i AM an opera user. have been since version 3.x. Don't want anything else anymore.

  16. Mark


    Uh, Apple aren't a monopoly that has abuse the power from the monopoly to quash the market in another areal. Added to that, you can remove Safari and you can't remove IE (to the extent that security bus in IE STILL need to be patched).

    But apart from that, yes, they should go after apple. WHEN THEY ARE A MONOPOLY.

    Fuck. What a moron.

  17. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: But they would say that, wouldn't they?

    And Microsoft would do any dirty trick they could manage to make more money.

    Include lock out any other players from making any money from something that MS don't control.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Its about tying....

    Its not about shipping IE with Windows. Its about tying IE and Windows together. You CANNOT get rid of IE, you might install other browsers and change all the preferences but it is still there and from time to time IE will pop up and slap you in the face just to remind you that its there.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Most of the people reading this are well aware of the Er, limitations of IE. I'll bet that a fair few are using other browsers.

    But this does not help the masses of people who use Windows. Why? A LOT of people who use a computer are not comfortable with it. Try explaining to these people the difference between a program installed on a computer crashing or a driver crashing and you will get Windows is crashing. They don't see the difference between the things added to or the things required to use a gadget, it's Window's fault. That's not to say that these people are stupid, just that the experience or expertise does not necessarily translate to understanding what Windows or any other operating system is telling them.

    This is universal to any operating system, those who doubt it just need to do a search for help and the name of the OS to see a multitude of forums about different operating systems.

    I suppose your wondering why I'm saying all of this. It's because people who don't know these things are frightened because they don't understand and are frightened by change. Decoupling IE from Windows or offering a choice of browser to install will not make much of an impact in my opinion because these people will just say "I need a browser for the interweb, I'll choose this Microsoft one because they made Windows so it must be the best". A lot of people can't tell the difference between their computer going wrong and a web site being unavailable.

    These things are not only in the realm of the scared and clueless, witness a huge amount of web sites infected with sql injection attacks redirecting traffic all over the place, programmers not bothering to check user input, shitty drivers crashing gadgets and games.

    Only today I read about a virus infecting ~9million Windows computers, even though the patch to stop it was issued by Microsoft in October 08. They were blaming lazy admin staff not rebooting servers to apply the patch before it spread.

    I have even seen people on forums proudly proclaim that they are running a version of Windows with no updates since before service pack X. What can you say to these people? They turn around and say crap like it interferes with some gadget/bit of software.

    Mind you, when someone will not patch their O/S because some software will not work, I wonder how much that has to do with not having a legal copy or letting the support fees slide?

    Still, having twonks proclaiming that you don't need to update and telling less knowledgeable people that they will also hurt is just mental. Especially, when some of these people admit to running a different primary O/S and duel booting into Windows.

    So with all this bollocks going on and much more, how can any third party browser hope to see a more level playing field? The way I see it, the only way is with a multi million prime time advertising campaign on TV and in the national medial.

    Good luck!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it's already been posted but...

    ...I can't help agree that if you don't bundle a browser with the OS, how is a run of the mill user going to download a competing browser? It's not really competition anyway. Nobody's paying to download a web browser. At the end of the day IE gives you a starting block to go and choose your preferred surfing tool.

  21. kain preacher


    The IE share is declining . I hate IE but like windows media player. I remember win 95. I had to open up an FTP session and download Netscape. Do you want to tell your average user to do that ??

  22. Pheet
    Thumb Up


    "my OS doesn't come with a browser, how do I download a browser?"

    1) FTP - windows explorer works as a crude FTP client


    2) Bundle the installers for the major browsers with the OS and let the user decide on first login.

    @David Webb

    1) It's not specified that any judgement would be applied rectroactively as you're suggesting (and I'm sure you know that)

    2) "all our web pages are designed to be run with IE"

    Well that serves the company right for using a frontpage kiddie instead of designing to the standards. Which is half of Opera's point.

    3) "Don't be stupid, becaue Opera is an EU company!"

    It may have changed, but last time I looked Opera was a Norwegian company. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it is a member of the European Economic Area (and Schengen).

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @David Webb

    As an avid user of Opera because of the functionality it offers (it has a long history of adding functionality years before anyone else... tabs would be the most obvious one to the casual surfer.. zooming in on webpages woudl be another (quite useful on my 24" when I sit leaned back)) I think I should point out that Opera is actually not an EU company.

    As mr. T Blair stated a few years ago "But Norway isn't even in the EU!"

    No, we're not mr. Blair. I believe it is called having the last laugh.

    Caveat: Anyway, yes, I know; tabs and zooming webpages are pretty run of the mill these days, but they were already old news on Opera whenever FF and IE caught on to the idea. I won't even try to describe the things I can do today :o) Rest assured, in about 2 years time you will rant on about similar features on your html parser of choice ;o)

    Oh, and I don't think that IE should be removed from windows, _that_ would just be silly. I believe the point is to make it less tightly integrated with windows... yet still shipped with it... (have you ever tried removing IE from windows? No? Trust me, it's like separating conjoined twins).You might as well try to play audio in itunes without quicktime.

  24. marc
    Gates Halo

    Doesn't opera bundel an email AND Bit Torrent client with their browser?

    Call the browser police! Opera are bundling stuff!

    Their browser sucks. Hell, it's free, and still nobody uses it. Firefox came from nowhere to take 20% of the market share in 5 or 6 years. Opera has been lingering around for about 13 years, and still can't get over 1% of the market share. Why? Because it's utter crap. I'd rather use Netscape Navigator 4.01.

    The EU are of course looking after their own here. Pathetic.

  25. Seán

    Fuck em

    MS have been told before to do this and they are due another eye wateringly massive fine. They may come from the land of bribery and barbarians but the EU will put manners on them. I can almost see the veins bulging on Ballmer's pinhead.

    The reason noone cares about OS X is because if you buy an apple you're just a consumer end user type buying into a shabby proprietary system.

    PS What's with the degenerates supporting Microsoft they seem overly simpleminded even for MS supporters.

  26. Lager And Crisps
    Black Helicopters

    ...intersting, with a touch of de-ja vu!!!

    Judging by many of the comments above my post, one would naturally think you guys had something to lose in Microsoft's Internet Explorer not being the default web browser on every PC in the known universe. Do you guys have something to gain in keeping the status quo?

    Opera may or may not have a legitimate issue with Microsoft's business practices in Europe, but are you people posting on a UK website from America, somewhere around Redmond?

    I doubt this comment will even be shown in this section, do not upset the corporate sponsors and all (of coarse I will make it available on other sites, and by other means). But I do know this, if you depend on the Microsoft infrastructure (MCSE, MVP, .NET/VB programmers etc) , you will decry anything BUT Microsoft. This is after all, your duty.

    I have cut and pasted this reply into other forums across the web, it would be nice to know a UK website was not dependent on an American company for anything more.

    Black helicopters? Who owns your PC, I'm not sure if I own the computer I'm typing this on?

  27. OpenSauce

    Bundling isn't the problem

    It's the fact IE implements non standard features and encourages their use thereof.

    If MS had stuck with the standards, I.m sure there wouldn't be so much fuss.

    As mentioned above, if you bundled 3 or more web browsers, customers would probably be confused.

    It saddens me that even today, if I have a customer on the phone & I say open up a web browser, they don't know what one is... Closely followed by open up an Explorer window, and they of course open Internet Explorer.

  28. James
    Gates Horns

    In their defense...

    My issue with IE is it cannot be removed from a Windows machine, it's so tightly integrated you simple are not able to remove it without borking the entire system. Can I remove Firefox from my linux box? An easy peasy one line command.

    And as for everyone bleating about how you cannot get a browser without having a browser in the first place there are other ways of doing it - I could imagine a small app using wget that gives you a choice of browser installers to fetch. It's ugly, but it's possible.

    Personally I think it's MS's right to include their browser on their OS and I think it's daft if they should be forced to include any competitors software, but they world would be a better place if:

    a) the OS didn't depend on the browser for critical functions, eg Windows Update

    b) a user could remove IE if they wanted to

    c) MS got with the program and starting supporting the current standards rather than making their own ones

  29. Jason
    Paris Hilton

    RE: The story so far

    LOL I like that post.

    On a side note I have to agree that this is stupid. Just because windows comes with IE doesnt mean you have to use it. FF is fast gaining in market shares, and even Chrome has more users than Opera.. Come on already.

    Jessica Simpson - Because even she is confused why Opera would push the issue.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    The more I think about it ...

    the more uncouth Opera's statement seems to be.

    The MS proprietary OS and proprietary browser provide a fantastic opportunity for a third party (in this case Opera) to flaunt its skills.

    If the Opera team do not like that well let them design, market and sell a suitable alternative OS (proprietary or open).

    Same goes for other organisations making lots of dosh or otherwise on a proprietary OS. Yes?

  31. Brendon Lucas
    Jobs Halo


    Now i don't like MS anymore that the next computer guy, but if Microsoft want to include a web browser with as part of its windows distribution wheres the problem?

    Note to Moron Eric, one of the main reasons why Linux Mac, and every Major OS except Windows, is more secure and stable than windows is its built its built in package and dependency system, every application that you could ever need readily available and a few clicks away to install, and it keeps everything up to date and running smoothly, (well unless you use Ubuntu, but thats not a real Linux Platform, its a developer toy, lol :) Mac, Linux, Solaris, don't really have this dodgy third party vendor issues that Windows users suffer, so for Microsoft to at least include a web browser is surely a good thing.

    The concerning part of this case is the precedent it would set, it would be open season every time a software outfit got upset that an OS vendor was opting to support and preinstall a piece of software, i like having a selection of apps integrated into the OS, it improves the desktop experience and functionality, thats why i won't use windows, too much downloading and purchasing of dodgy apps that don't really work in balance with the system,

    so for once, leave MS alone, or all hell will break loose.

  32. Joe

    I'm sure you're all missing the point

    Microsoft sells most copies of Windows to PC manufacturers, not end-users. The ruling has to do with MS insisting that IE be pre-installed along with Windows, instead of the PC manufacturer having the freedom to choose any browser. (For an end-user to buy Windows with IE and WMP included free I don't think is a problem legally.)

    Also, I think the reason why it doesn't apply to Apple is because they're in a different market - Apple are a hardware company not a software company. So Apple aren't selling their OS to PC manufacturers and saying "you have to install IE and WMP as well", they're selling to end-users who have the freedom to choose to buy a PC from a different company.

  33. David Simpson

    IF it stinks like.....

    My problem with IE is first it's shit and second it cannot be removed.

    Yes i can add/remove windows features and it hides but it is still there. If i want to run windows update IE has to be used.

    As for how do you get on the internet without IE, really simple when inputting username etc. on first boot you get to pick a browser too, default install all, you untick what you don't want.

    I think it's important to remember Apple have a very small share of the market and when you drag safari into the waste bin it stays there software update still runs.

    Until FF came along we were all stuck in active X hell and Microsoft nearly succeeded in killing it with their questionable business practice back when it was netscape.

    I agree the pro-eu/opera crap is annoying (I am not a fan) but it might help us all have a happy ending.

  34. Herby

    "Microsoft Abused..."

    Why you could have blown me over with a feather.

    Later that day, virus writing HQ:

    "Say Joe, we're going to have to be more sophisticated and write a better virus. Everyone won't have IE and we will need to find new loopholes in non-Microsoft code. It won't be as easy as before!".

  35. Matthew
    Thumb Down


    I use FF, but even so having IE is still better than any other browser like opera or safari. I hope they're going to stop apple shipping safari with apple's?

    It's going to be quiet a hassle to get windows started in the EU now.

    1) Go to another computer

    2) Download Web Browser

    3) Buy flash disk

    4) copy Browser to Flash disk

    5) Go back to original computer

    6) Install Browser

    Yeah.. great step forward.

  36. P. Lee
    Thumb Up


    Nobody seems to have noticed that the complaint is about an issue starting in 1996 when a browser wasn't as critical or integral as it is today.

    By leveraging its desktop monopoly to bundle IE, MS created a large base of non-standard clients which couldn't render standards-compliant code properly. This in turn prompted developers to code specifically for IE which locked out standards-compliant (non-IE) browsers by making them appear broken. This further consolidated the desktop monopoly as only Windows (realistically) supported IE. It was classic, embrace, extend, extinguish behaviour.

    MS, as the incumbent monopoly supplier should have played nicer than that in the past. One way to do that in the present, would be to stop breaking windows-update (as launched from the control-panel) if IE isn't the default browser. General web-browsing and OS-specific update utilities don't need to be combined.

    No-one is suggesting removing IE, but they do need pay for past offences which continue to benefit them today. A bit of punitive action to discourage future offences wouldn't go amiss either. Companies will keep breaking the law until it becomes unprofitable for them to continue to do so.

  37. Roger Heathcote


    "IE/wmplayer/whatever else is included with windows because its basic functionality that the user expects."

    It is now, it wasn't back when all this started. This ruling is an acknowledgment that MS set the browser market back a whole decade with their tricks in the 90s. Only now have we got enough competition to drive innovation in this field and don't have to suffer their boring buggy shit any more. Of course you can't go back in time and it would be dumb to try and insist they stop providing a browser these days but maybe all people who suffered virii and spyware and general shitness for the last 10 years deserve some compensation now?

    " If they want a really shitty experience where they have to go find a bunch of 3rd party apps to get stuff working they can use linux."

    Have you ever used Linux? Find me a single modern desktop Linux distro that doesn't come complete with Browser, IM, Email/News and Office Suite pre-installed and I'll buy you a copy of MS Office - moron.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Head... meet wall

    I’d really like to see my cash being spent more wisely than this… I mean really, honestly, does the average end-user really give one whether or not they use IE? Microsoft doesn’t put a spanner in the works if you want to change your browser (for those who have a personal preference) and so what if IE is integrated with the OS? Obviously that’s the way MS built their software, it doesn’t stop you using FF or whatever so stop bloody moaning before we end up back in 1995 installing browsers from whatever demo disk is doing the rounds this week.

    My major gripe is the commentarts that make blanket statements like “My problem with IE is first it's shit and second it cannot be removed” – what planet are these people on?? The times when I read these comments looking for clever, informed and TECHNICAL incites sadly seem to have disappeared… IE 6 was crap and should burn in hell alongside roller-skates and Cliff Richard – IE 7 is much better (thanks to competition of course) and it sounds like IE 8 will improve even further.

    OK so let’s throw in a hypothetical and say MS completely remove IE and all ties between IE and Explorer. They produce two versions, one with IE and one with no browser, put them next to each other on the shelf and price them identically – which one, honestly, would the average user buy? Let’s go even further and say that you couldn’t buy Windows with IE anymore… how long before OEM’s include IE in the standard build anyway??! And the only browser they would include would be IE because… it’s what the user knows. Sure they might include a list of available browsers but I’ll bet 9/10 users would click on that big familiar blue e everytime.

    It’s a browser… they are free… you can have as many as you like! Whether we like it or not IE has the biggest market share, it’s the most used browser in the world and it’s the only browser I would allow in an enterprise environment (see GPO and WSUS).

    FF is great, I love it but it’s not without its flaws and I’m so tired of people screaming about its open source credentials… FF hasn’t been fully open source for years – and before you start flaming go and check.

    And don’t get me started on Apple…

  39. MacroRodent

    There is no Chicken and Egg!

    Many comments have made the same idiotic objection as this one:

    > If you have no browser you cannot go online to download a different one either...

    > Ah well.. guess that's too difficult for the UE to grasp.

    Hohum. Can be done same way as people installed browsers in the beginning of the WWW: Many alternatives:

    (0) Sell in stores on CD. I myself bought a copy of Netscape Navigator this way circa 1996, before Microsoft's bundling forced them to first distribute the program for free, and then go under. (I wonder if that CD is already a collector's item?)

    (1) Supply on magazine cover CD or DVD. Before bundling it, Microsoft used to distribute IE this way to WIndows 3.1 and 95 users.

    (2) Download with the text-based FTP client that is standard on most operating systems (even on Windows). MIght be difficult for some totally computer-illiterate people, but they could help friends or even a PC maintenance service to help.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support for alpha blend PNG

    not much to ask, but it is stuff like that, that makes IE such a bloody annoyance.

    And if MS wanted to come across cool, just create an IE for Linux, it is the small things that would gain them support.

    Anyhow, I think MS should reduce their IT involvement and become a bank, the market is right for it, their brand is pretty well known, I think they would have more fun, what is not to like about that transition.

  41. Andy Worth

    Re:@David Webb

    The thing is, Opera may have included all of these features for years but they've managed to put it together in such a way that it feels shit to use. I liken it to certain smartphones - absolutely bundled with features but about as pleasant to use as having your ball hair plucked. It's just a perfect example of something technically excellent but functionally awful.

    Opera's lack of browser "market share" has very little to do with MS bundling their browser with Windows and almost everything to do with poor marketing of a fairly poor product.

    @David Webb

    Your post made me laugh, I especially liked the French Farmer and his "WZF?"

  42. Anonymous Coward


    What part exactly of Norway isn't in the EU didn't you understand!? Besides, accusations of protectionism from an 'Merkin!? Very rich... It isn't about including/not including IE. It. Is. About. Uncoupling. IE. From. Windows. You need to get your reading age up mate... Oh to every one mentioning Apple/Linux. At what point was either mentioned in the article? You Microsofties have got to understand its a massive piece of bloat!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    MS illegaly leveraged a monoply position in pc operating systems to gain a near monoply in internet browser software. Why? Because they famously missed the internet as Netscape became the preferrred browser. The plan? - "embrace, extend and extinguish".

    Apple does not have a monoply in pc operating systems and thus can bundle whatever they want without breaking anti-competition laws.

    PC OEMs could (and would) supply browser software to meet consumer demand.

    MS was busted thoroughly by the US DOJ only to be let off by the incoming Bush administratiom.

    Bravo Opera.

  44. Brian Dines

    Have they really thought about this

    Ok, microsoft removes the browser so that windows comes without any browser out of the do you download a browser if you don't have a browser to get to the website with browsers for download???

    They really haven't thought this through, have they?

  45. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Up

    The problem is in informing the user

    The problem that the bundling causes is that for many of the less technical users, Internet Explorer ends up being the internet. It may sound stupid to us but it is a fact: a lot of people are still not really aware that you CAN use another browser than IE to access the internet because by default IE is used.

    That is where the competition issue lies: Microsoft is not making users aware than IE is just an application and that it can be replaced. What should happen is that the first time a user wants to access the internet it should start a small application that will connect to a page called "how do you want to browse the internet" and allowing the user to select a browser (a bit like an app store page). If a non-MS browser is selected that browser is automatically downloaded and installed. This should also give the option to easily disable IE (for those who don't trust it for security reasons).

    There is nothing user-unfriendly about this and it would make the user aware that a choice of browser exists.

    BTW, on most Linuxes more than one browser often installed by default (for example if you have KDE you automatically get Konqueror in addition of Firefox) and in the case of Ubuntu alternative browsers are displayed in the add/remove program applet for the user to install.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "According to Opera, the browser is the "most important application on the PC."

    So they want MS to remove there browser, so theres no (and they used the word) "important" software to use to get another browser.

    Why don;t they stop making crappy browsers, that might help there market share.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Apple aren't a monopoly that has abuse the power from the monopoly to quash the market in another area."

    yeah cause bundling a browser with itunes that is required for your ipod isn't abusing is it.

  48. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Missing the point

    The decision is one about unfair competition and that the media player decision can be seen as a precedent. There have been many analogies for other industries which don't need repeating here. What probably is important is that it makes it less likely that Microsoft can railroad Silverlight through as the rich runtime. But the decision also sends a warning to Google's nascent ambitions with Chrome.

  49. M

    Have you all forgotten already?...

    back in good olde days, the browsers came in a CD yup the round thing you put into the drive! Oh yeah that's a good way to obtain any browsers in one CD. More choice that way....


  50. Francis Fish

    Standards compliant browser?

    This will break all of the sites that don't work properly except with IE 6. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    /Wipes tear from eye.

    Most of the professional web developers I know use FF and then get it working with IE because its the easiest way round and FF comes with lots of free tools that make life easy. But the bedroom boys and girls use IE because that's what they've got to hand, and they outnumber the rest of us about 10:1.

    IE is *part* of the OS, it's in the DLL's strewn everywhere. Uncle Bill explained that a while back in a response to some questions in court with the US. There was a huge crowing noise coming from slashdot and other places along the lines of "you mean it's not modular? you mean that compromising the browser can compromise everything?"

    Yeah, windows isn't modular.

    This is why Windows is such a mess, it follows the "big ball of mud" design pattern and it's very hard to fix one thing without breaking something a long way off in the code base without even knowing you have.

    So you can't get rid of IE, can't uninstall it, it's baked in. You can just choose not to use it.

  51. Geoff Matthews


    OK, so as has already been stated this will not be retroactive.

    Therefore it will only hit Windows 7 and Vista and you don't use IE to apply windows updates in either OS.

    So the comments about browser integration above are slightly misleading.

  52. Gregor

    A few facts

    I hate to rain on some incredibly silly folks' messages, but I just thought I should clear things up..

    Norway isn't in the EU.

    Opera is a Norwegian company.

    Therefor, Opera isn't an EU company.

    This is not an example of cronyism.

    Furthermore, this is about being able to remove IE, and to prevent you *having* to use IE. It's not about bundling things in or not, like the WMP debate at all, Opera do not necessarily wish Windows to ship without IE. This is about MS forcing you to use IE for things like Windows Update.. And also about being able to remove IE from the system altogether.

    If you so wish, you can remove Safari from OSX. From my machine, I can remove Safari, Chrome, FF, Opera, but not IE.

    As for the Americans thinking the EU has the power to remove programs from machines already out there, just wtf? Your ignorance is frankly, astounding.

    I think this can only be a good thing, if it goes ahead, as at least it will force people to think about what they're doing with their machine. And it will be amazing to see the vast increase in security of any Windows box post-IE.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see that the Wintard sockpuppets are out in force...

    ...again. Yawn.

  54. Jo-mo
    Thumb Down


    I'm an avid Opera user, but this complaint is just getting silly.

    A modern OS has to include some basic functionality out of the box these days, and with the Internet so important, a browser is obviously top of that list. The basic components of IE are used within Windows to render web content, and some programs explicitly rely on it to function. Linux is much the same, using whatever component it is these days (KHTML?). In both OS, you remove these components and something won't work, simple as that. Despite IE's shortcomings, it is extremely useful to different people for different reasons, so why would you want to remove IE completely by default?

    Anyway - nothing prevents an OEM or PC manufacturer from putting an alternative browser on if they so wish. It's perfectly likely that Google will push for exactly that, once Chrome has fully matured. But OEM's will only put the extra effort in if they're getting paid to do so - which is why IE remains the default.

    You as a user also have the choice. Since XP, Windows has had prominent "default programs" links in control panel/start menu, where you can explicitly set it so IE is not used. If you want to use FireFox for everything web related, nothing is stopping you from ever having to use IE again. Same with WMP, photo viewer, Windows Defender, Windows Mail, WIndows Firewall....etc..etc... There is nothing to stop these never being used again.

    Opera is whining and moaning as a result of simple layman behaviour - IE is 'good enough', and therefore most people won't bother changing it. It's the same with Safari on Mac, and whatever browser is thrown into your Linux distro, there is no difference. Opera desktop use is disappointingly low - but this will do nothing to change that, people will only resent them for it.

    PS. to all the fools claiming you can do fine without a browser ("WGET is like, so easy!"), you need to get out more and meet the %80+ of the population who wouldn't have the faintest clue where to even begin. For the vast majority of computer users, a pre-installed browser is an absolute neccessity. For the rest of us, it would just be a pain, WGET or not.

  55. David Edwards

    My car

    My car has a clock in it. It was installed at the factory. I cant fit any other clock into my car wihout damaging it or leaving parts of the clock in the registrly (I mean dashboard). The clock was free so lets go against Landorover and all the other car manufactureres for being anti competative.

  56. Ralph B
    Thumb Up

    Bundle wget

    Like I said, MS should bundle wget with Windows and all of this chicken-and-egg nonsense is solved.

    (BTW, loved your post, David Webb.)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reg journalism standards must be slipping.

    They must be, mustn't they, because the Great Unwashed Readership still don't get the fact that this isn't primarily about bundling per se, it's about Microsoft undermining the standards to reinforce their monopoly.

    But I'm pretty certain I learnt that from your article, so maybe your readers are just mindless automatons.

    So to answer the yawnsome usual questions:

    1) Why aren't they complaining about Mac OS and Safari?

    a: Safari is about as standards-compliant as it gets, so bundling does not proliferate proprietary variants of HTML on the web

    b: MacOS doesn't have a majority market share in the PC market, therefore there is no dominant position to abuse. And given a) it wouldn't really do all that much harm.

    2) IE 8 is going to be standards compliant.

    They announced that *after* the suit was announced. The continued action maintains the pressure on them: remember that they were originally going to make "IE7 compatible" the default mode -- the U-turn on that will be in no small part down to this suit.

    And once again, it's not just about PCs.

    Opera is very successful in the consumer electronics space, but the browsing experience on consumer electronics is being damaged by the vast number of non-compliant webpages. Opera wants to be able to display every webpage on your palmtop or mobile, and on your Wii. Microsoft want to keep browsing a PC-based activity, as that means more sales of Windows. If not, do it on Windows Mobile or an XBox.

    So it's about market dominance -- and a monopoly is only good for Microsoft.

  58. Dan Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    So say that MS do this...

    Say their Internet Connection wizard connects to MS to download a list of browsers and then it opens a wizard to give you the choice of browser (i.e. each browser's icon with its name underneath and a bit of blurb selling the snakeoil) followed by an invitation to click on a browser you want to use. It then downloads the browser installer from MS, Mozilla, Opera, Apple, Google, or whoever, runs it, runs the browser itself, and brings up the home page.

    It has to be done like this otherwise MS can get shafted from another browser provider when they go bleating to the EU, and it's easy enough to do because the MSHTML and MSXML DLLs will have to be on the system anyway.

    So how would the uninitiated user know to click on the red O instead of the blue e? Everyone knows what the blue e does. And the blurb would be something like "Windows Internet Explorer is the standard browser that was built into Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista" just to hammer the point home. And the uninitiated user will willingly press the mouse button over the blue e to remove all doubt and the browser they know and love will appear about a nanosecond later as it's all built in anyway.

    So I'm not too sure that Opera's usage is going to skyrocket.

    And what about those broadband connections that need a browser to configure them in the first place? Getting an offline installation from another computer will be close to an insurmountable task.

    And then we need to wait for a complaint to the EU over the order of browsers in the list...

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how quickly yoiu forget.... don't need a browser to download from the internet.... have you all forgotten wget ? You'd think you people had never seen a command shell.....geeez

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Windows Update in Vista is a separate application, although you do still need to go to the Windows Update site in IE to enable Microsoft Update (which is a bit stupid - I don't know why there's no tick box option in the WU application by default).

    As for removing IE, a lot of applications use DLLs related to IE to display web pages, such as mshtml.dll, as this is part of the Windows API. Developers could use other rendering options, but I guess that this is the easiest way to do it, and means that you don't need to bundle as many DLLs with your application. Even if developers from now on used something like WebKit, there'd still be legacy applications which would be broken by the unbundling of IE.

    If IE is unbundled then how exactly would you be able to download another browser, as many people have already said? You could use FTP, but an average user would probably struggle with that, and would need to know the URL to connect to. You could also bundle other browsers with Windows, but Microsoft would have to include every single browser available to avoid others complaining about unfair treatment (and it would have to be Microsoft doing it, for the people who buy Windows separately to their computers).

  61. michael

    my 1.3p (at current exchange rates)

    you do need somway of getting a defult browser on your system and just to give my ansers to a lot of the points pepol raised

    @ the pepol who say you used to get browsers on cd's and things

    yes any you usted to get lots of programs on cd's and you used to get your porn on VHS the internet has changed a lot of things and pepol no lomger get things on cd

    @ the pepol who say they should bundle "the most popular browsers" with windows

    so who decided who gets in this special bundle and how long before the first complaint about z new browser not being included

    @ pepol who say use wget or ftp

    how meny pepol do you seriosley expect to be able to understand that sort of thing 90% of the pepol I suported when I was a self inployed it tech could not handle a text ftp or anything else some of them could not handle downloading a new browser using the IE

    @ pepol complaning about ie being tied in to windows

    it is there os if you do not like it build your own one

    @ pepol complaing about lack of ms following stanbdards

    what univers have you been living in

    @ pepol complaing about ms behavior in the late 90's

    get with the times

    there my job here is done

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    yeah becouse my mum is gonna use command line ftp to get a browser. And why should the link be to download firefox or opera, there's plenty of other browsers out there - but being trapped in your failfox world they are hidden to you.

    As to the notion of having multiple browsers to select from at installation.

    "[] INTERNET EXPLORER - Microsofts recommended choice for a better brower experiance."

    "[] Lunarscape Browser - An IE Compatible browser."

    "[] Green Browser - Another interesting browser from the competition."

    "[] SpaceTime - Amazing browsing experiance - may not be compatible with some sites"

    Looks like a pretty healthy list to me. I could probably and another 20 or so browsers and never mention "Opera, Firefox or Safari."

  63. Charlie Mason

    Why not strip it then?

    What I can see happening if Microsoft is asked to remove the browser is they'll offer a download link which downloads IE, WMP, Live mail and whatever else they have. So we're back to square one.

    What I'd like to see them do is stop providing Windows to the EU. You don't want it the way we sell it? Ok we won't sell it anymore. Let's see what uproar that provides.

    Or just remove IE and add the notion that with this version of windows you cannot get updates or patches seeing this is integral part of windows.

    Regarding solutions so far:

    - Use the command line / wget

    --> how would including wget or ftp not be bundling?

    --> how would you get your granny to figure this out?

    - Add a list of browsers

    --> why would Microsoft ever promote their competitiors. That's just retarded.

    --> how could Microsoft be held responsible for providing the correct links if they are located on other people's servers OR how could Microsoft be held responsible if they did not have the latest version available.

    --> would these browsers need patching by Microsoft? I gues not.

    Both solutions so far are bollocks imo. Having antitrust for being anti-competitive, sure. Making Microsoft provide other people's software to harm their own business, no way!

  64. Christopher
    Thumb Down


    As an Opera user I sort of wonder how people would even get another browser if it was unbundled, do an AOL style campagne of Opera discs at every shop?

    Think they are shooting themselves in the foot trying to promote Opera, its a brilliant browser but this sort of coverage makes the company look childish.

  65. David Webb

    The story later

    5 weeks after the EU ruling

    Guy > "So instead of having the big blue E on my desktop, I've got to go to the local store and buy a magazine with a DVD for £6 and install an internet browser thingy? Why do I need to pay for something thats free?"

    BOFH > "Well, even though IE8 is apparently getting more standards compliant and passes the Acid2 test, but not the Acid3 test - companies which have minimal market share complained to the EU. The EU enjoy slapping companies, gives them something to do, so they agreed and told MS to stop bundling IE with Windows. MS threw a hissy fit and went OTT, the EU didn't think things through like 'so, if they do remove IE, how will people use the internets?', its all to foister competition!"

    Guy > "Competition? Huh? I just want to install IE, what other browsers are there?"

    BOFH > "Firefox, Opera to name two"

    Guy > "Firefox, I've heard of that, but Opera?"

    BOFH > "Decent browser, doesn't have the sex appeal of Firefox, hardly well known, hardly used, doesn't advertise on every website with 'Get Opera' and blames MS for its poor market share"

    Guy > "So what does that mean for most people?

    BOFH > "Why don't you search the internet and find out?!"

    Guy > "....."

    BOFH > "Oh, right. For most home users, like the older generation who don't want to faf around with installing a new browser, who just want to use their computer for email and the internet, it means they are screwed and will now spend a fortune on 0870 numbers calling their ISP's (if they can find the number) and be left wondering how they get on the internet. I'm making a fortune out of it! For the tech savy, they already have Firefox or Opera or even Chrome already downloaded so does not effect them.

    Guy > "So it kinda screws the not so tech savvy?"

    BOFH > "No, it gives ME lots of work. Do you know how many intranets use IIS rather than Apache? Using ASPX rather than PHP? Using functions which only work properly in IE? More than 4, probably more than 6, so now the system admin has to stop playing F.E.A.R. 2 and get IE back on thousands of computers, some colleges will have over 4,000 computers that need IE installed!"

    Guy > "So why did MS retroactivly remove IE?"

    BOFH > "You realise this is a premium rate number right? The PFY set it up just as the EU ruled?"

    Guy > "..."

    BOFH > "They did it to prove a point, an OS without a browser is like a rampant rabbit without batteries, sure its fun, but its just not enough, you may get satisfied, but wheres the buzz?"

    Guy > "So basically Windows is a vibrator, and IE is batteries?"

    BOFH > "..."

    Guy > "So whats my solution?"

    BOFH > "Well, I got several copies of this wonderful OS laying around, called OS2.. Warp... its fantastic and for only £75 a licence!"

    I just don't think the EU are thinking this through, they are on an anti-MS crusade and will take whatever action they think they can get away with when it comes to MS. They have a history of screwing with competition and damaging the big guy in the hopes the little guy will actually make in-roads. Firefox is gaining popularity, not because its a better browser, but because everywhere you go there is "Get Firefox!" and through word of mouth. Opera is not doing this, I don't think I've seen a "Get Opera" advert.

    If MS were to lock down Windows in such a way that FF/Opera/Chrome couldn't work, or did an Apple Quicktime and changes file associations every time you used it, then yeah, Opera would have a valid case. But people won't stop using IE if IE is removed.

    The sort of people who use this site will know how to get a browser installed via FTP, but the vast majority of people wouldn't know their FTP from their NTP and asking them to accept an OS without a browser installed is punishing them. They won't switch to Firefox/Opera, they will most likely INSTALL IE off a cover disc and stick with it. I know if IE was removed from Windows I'd never go near Opera again.

    Its 2009, the whole world needs to be online to do business, do the EU really want to put the EU at a major disadvantage to other trading blocs? What next, Windows must unbundle its boot loader as it over-writes Linux? That'd be a laugh.

    People should be given their own choice, but every OS should have a browser installed by default. IE is the browser that comes with Windows, sure they could bundle Firefox/Opera, but they get in trouble for bundling, and also who would offer support then? If it comes with Windows, MS would be expected to support Firefox/Opera, and should FF/Opera suddenly develop a major exploit that lets hackers download your hard drives or something, MS would be to blame as they bundled the software.

    Mind you, they could try adding Chrome to a Windows install......

  66. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Dear...


    The universe where we all use a common fucking dictionary! You are a pyjama developer (one that develops in their bedroom) aren't you! I take it "self employed in tech" means fixing your mates pc's...

    @Charlie Mason

    Good joined up thinking there. MS to pull out out of Europe. Opening the door for Limix and Apple to battle over a Market that is enomous, ultimately allowing Microsofts competitors to dwarf them. Please tell me you are not in management..

  67. Shakje


    Sorry for asking a silly question, but why exactly is FF3/Chrome better than Opera? Chrome especially. The only downside I've ever found to Opera is that there are less plugins than FF, but since most of the functionality I need to get from plugins is already in Opera, this doesn't really bother me. Seriously, it's a great browser..

    That doesn't mean I agree with what's happening here, it's clearly ridiculous. Might as well suggest that you don't bundle notepad/calc because there's plenty of other alternatives.

    As for Apple, I wouldn't agree that an Apple PC is a PC in the same sense as any other PC. They clearly have a monopoly on shiny computers that cost stupid money and are good at about 5 things.

  68. Anonymous Coward


    >So, if my OS doesn't come with a browser, how do I download a browser

    sudo apt-get install <browser>

    I'm only using that because a comment doesn't support the quick screen grab of the UI where a normal user would do it.

    What do you mean your OS can't download and install software you ask it to at will? Oh, right, you're using a crap one. Might I suggest you go get a proper OS? You know, one that works? And has things like security?

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    So the most corrupt (allegedly) organisation in Europe, who have never published accounts because we might see exactly what we are paying for tell Billy boy what he is and isn't allowed to do.

    Paris - she doesn't mind a bent cucumber and I love her

  70. michael

    @Mac Phreak

    actuley I currently work as it suport for an international company of 500+ enployes but the reasion I can not spell is I am servley dyslexic and we use our own dictnorys

    if fact self imployed tech ment I fixed the computers of all the old pepol in the village I lived in who could not sort out how to get online even with IE as the defult so I know how completeley clueless some users can be

  71. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Re: Mac OS, Ian Ferguson

    Mac OSX and Safari are less tied because they both have a crappy market share. Thus nobody can really complain.

    I can't wait for the first batch of machines to hit the EU with NO browser installed.

    "How do I get the one I like?"

    "Go on the internet and download it."

    "Uhm... HOW exactly?"

    "Oh yeah..."

  72. Lewis Mettler

    wanting a browser is not the same as buying MS

    Strange it is that anyone would give up their right to buy products of their choice. But, just look at the Microsoft salesman.

    I guess they still have their mom put out their cloths on the bed each day so that they do not have to decide what to wear. Their mommy also packs their box lunch so that decision need not be made either.

    Needing to wear cloths or eat lunch NEVER means you have to give that choice to someone else.

    But, look at the Microsoft salsman (if you can call them that). They think your choice only extends to the plastic numbers you use to pay for IE.

  73. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Hey, here's an idea. If Joe Luser can't figure out how to download a browser with something simple like FTP, maybe he shouldn't be connected to the Internet in the first place, since he's probably also not smart enough to have installed antivirus/anti-malware software to prevent his Windblows box from becoming a spam-spewing zombie. Think of all the bandwidth the rest of us would have without that bunch of lusers chewing it up.

    NetWare forever!!!

  74. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @AC (14:23)

    And you, a coward, are telling us what they should do?

    Shit, man, how deluded are you..?

  75. David Webb

    @ Pirate Dave

    Quick question for you, without using a web browser to find the URL of the FTP download, how do you expect Joe Luser to be able to find the URL to get the FTP to download the browser? Random guessing? :P

    People *need* browsers to get the information they require to like, do stuff.

    However, worst case scenario, MS agree and change the Internet Explorer icon to a "Download IE" icon, it isn't tied to the system and only screws up the people who need a browser to go to or to set up their internet connection.... so that'll be a lot of people.

    Either way, the EU are not thinking this through properly, MS really should *not* be forced to include other companies browsers as that is unfair competition *coff* on other browsers, but forcing them to remove the browser is just asking for trouble, in fact I'm going to find out who my MEP is and tell them so!

  76. Rasczak
    Paris Hilton

    @ All those who think this means Opera want MS to remove IE

    Start reading and comprehending.

    Nobody is saying that MS should be forced to remove IE from Windows, just that I as an administrator should be able to do so if I wish without borking the rest of the OS.

    Paris as that seems to be the level of comprehension.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Webb

    At no point have the EU (as far as I can read) suggested that Microsoft unbundle Internet Explorer. The issue is two-fold.

    1. You CANNOT completely remove the software if you wish. I am going to differentiate between MSHTML/MSXML(FWIW both are terrible layout engines compared with Gecko and WebKit) and IE here. Sure, keep a layout engine installed for the OS, but make it easy to COMPLETELY REMOVE IE.

    2. Standards Compliance. A web page written for IE is generally broken on ALL other web browsers. The biggest install base is Windows. That means, BY DEFAULT, IE is the biggest browser install base (see above for problem with this). This, therefore, encourages individuals to write non-standard HTML using propiatary tags. This means standards compliant browsers will not render the page properly. This mean Johnny Average User thinks that Firefox/Safari/Opera/SuperduperFOSS Browser is rubbish and doesn't work. THIS IS THE CRUX! This is anti-competitive behaviour from Microsoft. The EU should really be saying that MS browser is not fit for purpose, and therefore can no-longer be called INTERNET Explorer. If it pleases the "Daily Express" style reactionaries,it should be called INTRANET Explorer.

    Sorry about the caps, no italics...

  78. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @David Webb

    You don't read much do you?

    As several people said before, same as when Windows didn't have IE:

    1) OEM picks one

    2) ISP picks one for the setup CD

    3) ftp

    4) from a cover CD

    5) from a plus pack

    6) from "X Internet Safety Suite"

    Dumb fuck

  79. Anonymous Coward

    Lol, just lol.

    Some of these comments are hilarious. Absolutely cracking.

    Rather then making things easy for the average user, you elitist pricks would rather they have to learn how to FTP/command line just to browse the internet. News flash idiots, just because it's easy for you doesn't mean it is for Joe Public.

    Oh, oh! Or they could use CDs! Because that's not a total waste of materials, not to mention regressing back 10 years. Yeah, the brainstorms just keep coming don't they.

    Fire; Some of you need to jump into one.

  80. Andrew Barr

    Next step

    So MS removes IE, keeping opera happy, but wait what will people use to download their browser of choice?

    Yes they can use FTP, but wait that is bundle with windows as well, so then generic FTP software company pops up and whines, it will never end.

    Maybe remove TCP/IP from windows to stop all the fuss!!

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