back to article Microsoft's Automatic Update - the way to browser competition?

Microsoft could restore competition in the browser market overnight by throwing open its Automatic Update service to Google, Mozilla, and Opera. Opera Software's chief technology officer told The Reg that the inclusion of rivals to Internet Explorer in Microsoft's software update service would mean Microsoft reaches millions …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no update

    If you want to update your pc using the windows update web site you have to use IE as it requires activex to work.

    perhaps they should solve that issue before worrying about windows offering other browsers.

  2. Neil Alexander


    I notice that Safari's not there.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a joke, right?

    Even if we were to contemplate for a moment or two the idea that MS's automatic update mechanism is totally hackproof, thus rendering the infinite rewards that would drive every bad guy alive to do his utmost to push out malware to every Windows box on the planet no longer available, which bit of their modus operandi does this even vaguely resemble?

    Not going to happen.

    A more likely scenario, methinks, would be a parallel automatic update system purely for third parties with pop-ups, UAC dialogs and labyrinthine nested tick-boxes, all slathered in ads for IE:

    "Are you sure you want to download another browser? Internet Explorer now has twice as many rendering engines as any other browser." Yes/No

    "Are you sure you want to download another browser? Internet Explorer can now render some websites just as well." Yes/No

    Etcetera, etcetera...

  4. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Not enough

    This will only work for me if MS if forced to COMPLETELY REMOVE IE from the install. That means no direct tie-in with its engine, no "we'll remove the links and pretend it's gone"... total removal!

    I "uninstall" IE from every PC I get my hands on and yet it still pops up whenever I do certain things (for example, using Help).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Interesting proposal

    It's an interesting proposal to turn Microsoft's guns against themselves. If they can push the fat IE8 through the software update, they can surely find room for a slim Opera and a slender Firefox.

  6. John Phellis

    IE8's rendering engines

    IE8 has more than two rendering engines (as stated in the article), it has at least four (IE6, IE7, IE8, standards mode). The number is likely to grow as new versions of IE are shipped. Unless EU can persuade MS to stop the madness.

  7. Herby

    Standards are standards!!

    Just make IE8 ONLY render according to published standards. Then have it the only browser for Vista/W7 (or whatever they will call it). If your web site doesn't work with IE8, TOUGH. Make your users go back to WinXP for compatibility. Oh, WinXP isn't available for new machines TOUGH. Versions of IE before 8 aren't available for Vista/W7? Sorry not my problem. Sue Microsoft for having a non-standards compliant browser in the first place. Then make your site work with standards compliant browser (personally I'd suggest FireFox).

    So it will be a burden for those idiotic web sites that aren't compliant. My heart bleeds. Then people will understand the power Microsoft has and do something about it!

    Your site should say: "Works with a standards compliant browser"

  8. Geoffrey W

    Why stop there?

    Why not do the same for every bundled application for which there is an open source or free version available? Email clients and media players for instance. But to be fair to everyone all operating systems should have to follow the same rules and provide access to alternatives where available, including Apples OSX, otherwise its just a childish exercise in vindictiveness. And if you do enforce it across all OS's then, well, it still seems meddlesome and bureaucratic to me. If you take it to its logical conclusion you could end up having to wade through endless choices of apps before you get started with any OS. Who wants that? And all because Opera feels disgruntled that no one much is using its brilliantly beautiful browser which is so wonderfully wonderful and wicked that it *MUST* be Microsoft's fault that its being ignored. I can understand their disappointment and frustration but this is just petulance.

  9. Adrian Esdaile

    Yay for over-regulation!

    "emerged the Commission is thinking about ordering Microsoft and PC manufacturers to "obligate" users choose their browser "

    Why not order MS & OEMs to "obligate" those thinking of purchasing any technology to first purchase A CLUE?

    But why stop there? Mandatory licensing for PC use! Obligatory foam helmets to protect against asteroid impact! Make atheism illegal! Bwahahahaha! RULE THE WORLD!

  10. Peter Snow

    Only IE Need's Two Rendering Engines

    I don't understand why this would force the likes of Opera (and I guess Firefox) to have two rendering engines all of a sudden?

    This doesn't change anything for them. They can continue just as they did before, in that already they are standards compliant and able to render most websites correctly. Why should MS's attempt at standard compliance force the others to do anything different? Afterall, the actual websites haven't changed, it's just one of the browsers used by some, to access them.

    I do wonder why MS doesn't capitalize on their windows update program by offering software distribution to software companies via it. They could organize it into categories, like Office Software, Browsers, Anti-Virus, etc and charge the vendors for bandwidth and maybe even a commission per download.

    Peter Snow

  11. Christopher Martin

    "it'll take a legal ruling to enforce genuine standards on IE"

    That'd be rich - we should legally force Microsoft to comply with a "standard" which, in the history of the web, has never once been properly implemented by anyone.

  12. Ben
    Thumb Down


    "According to Lie, though, this will create a problem for browser makers like Opera as they, too, will need to include separate rendering engines and code to replicate the behavior of IE 8 for web sites"

    Unless I completely mistaken, no they won't.

    All that a site will need to identify is IE 7 and below, all the other browsers (IE 8 included) should just be served the standards site

    And why would Opera want to make their browser render as badly as previous IE versions anyway?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Cool story, bro.

    I can't see this ever happening. And even if it did come to pass, there are still plenty of lusers who will just get confused by the choice...

    Also, tags on websites so IE knows how to render them? Who do Microsoft think they are...

  14. Paul
    Paris Hilton

    What's the point?

    I always thought the courts kind missed the point on the browser wars thing. They seem to think the problem is that Microsoft gave away IE with Windows, and that this can could be corrected by providing other browsers with Windows too. If that's all it was I don't think many people would care. The real problem is that they made it PART of Windows, so you can't NOT use it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    To quote

    Vyvyan from The Young Ones, "Not bloody likely".

  16. Ben

    3 Modes

    @ John Phellis

    No, IE 8 has 3 modes

    Quirks - which is basicsally IE 6 and below

    IE 7 Standards - which is IE 7


    Standards - IE 8's default mode and the one that passes ACID 2 and CSS 2.1

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    While we're at it...

    Why not pass a ruling that Microsoft can only allow programs thats conform to the MSDN docs of the Windows API to run on each version of Windows. Get rid of all that kruft in the OS dedicated to nonsense like backwards compatability and watch the system fllllllllllllllyyyyyy.

    There's a HUGE number of web sites that were written once and will never be updated to be standards compliant. Deciding to make them not work is a foolish idea. Don't forget that Netscape wasn't a standards compliant browser. Was the LAYER tag in Navigator 4 ever part of a W3C standard? No. Don't have a whinge and say Microsoft is the root of all evil. They certainly weren't alone in defining their own standards. The amount of work they do in other areas like accessibility and enterprise Group Policy support is far beyond anything Opera or Firefox will ever do.

    Paris: because you'd have to be that dumb to propose removing backwards compatability.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Moron from Opera

    Wonderfull - so this chump from opera wants to force Microsoft into forcing its customers to download fucking opera (which is utter total crap despite what all the virgin nerd fanbois think)...

    Yeah - beacuse we have all that spare bandwidth floating around to download shite browsers that are beyond rubbish...

    And before all you virgin nerd opera fanbois wank on about asking users for their choice - i am referring to the bit where he said "...while the other would see a range of browsers downloaded with the user asked to chose which they'd like to run..."

    And I dont even want to be interrupted and asked for a choice - fuck me - why do I have to put up with this shit just because some corporate failure cant compete with microsoft...

    I fucking hate fucking cunts that fucking interfere with my rights (to not have my bandwidth taken up with shite i dont want and to not have to answer 50 billion fucking questions just to install and o/s - which media player, which browser, which firewall, which anti virus, which anti spyware etc etc - because that is where this dumb arse idea will lead) just because they are too fucking incompetent to actually run a business well...and the average user is too fucking clueless to know there are alternatives (actually is that the average users fault or the fault of the fucking moron running the company who cant get his message out)...

  19. Michael

    What about OSX and Linux distros?

    Surely Apple bundling Safari with OSX and Lunix distros eg Ubuntu bundling Firefox with their OS are just as bad as Microsoft?

  20. Adrian Tritschler

    Windows update for all apps

    Its one area where Windows is now well behind the linux distributions, a single unified update. I can run apt-get and update all the packages on my linux machine, but on the Windows box each app does it its own way, if at all. Having a common API where installed Windows apps could register an update URL with the OS and then have the "Windows update" check all of these would be hugely advantageous, and stop a lot of wheel-reinvention.

    On the other hand, it seems obvious and useful so it'll probably never happen.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Flocke Kroes Silver badge


    Most Linux distributions give you a choice of Firefox/Iceweasel, Konqueror, lynx, w3m and others. You can make any program the default browser. In windows, selecting your own choice of browser exclusively is beyond the ability of most users.

    Microsoft are accused of breaking the law in a way that puts Opera at a disadvantage. The courts may well impose a judgement on Microsoft with the stated aim of reducing the effect of that alleged illegal activity. This has nothing to do with what would really benefit users.

    The competition laws do have a useful purpose - to prevent a company with a near monopoly in one field using that monopoly to gain monopolies in other fields. If such behaviour is accepted, companies become more powerful than governments. It would be nice to think that governments are protecting their electors from a state run by unelected coporate executives. Someone cynical might think they are just maintaining their own monopoly on the power to collect taxes.

    If ordinary users get anything of value from this dispute I will be shocked. Even if an interesting judgement is selected, Microsoft have demonstrated their ability to pull the teeth from any serious judgement against them.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't think my Linux Box wants to go to MicroS**t for its Firefox updates.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh FFS, For the average user, IE is fine.

    God, what is all the fuss about.

    Im an ex IT proffesional and am sick of having to repair PC's where fuck-wit users have heard something bad about IE7/8 and then, without the slightest comprehension of what or WHY they are installing another browser, phone my support desk up to tell me that, and i quote, " some one told me internet explorer was bad so now i have installed foxfire or oprah and i cant get the interweb." Cue the old addage of "if it isnt broken WHY did you fix it."

    Im sorry but no browser or standards will stop cretins pushing the wrong button or listening to GIBA (Good Intention Bad Advice). The point is this, your avergae joe doesnt care, so long as he can surf porn he'll be happy. IE allows them to do that and allows me to quickly fix the machine.

    Long Live IE.

  25. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Up

    The problem goes beyond just competition.

    I think the problem goes beyond just competition and can slip into standard ownership.

    1) If IE is the only browser included with Windows it will automatically have a majority of the browser market share, because a lot of users don't know how to replace it.

    2) If IE has a majority of the browser market share it means websites must be compatible with it.

    3) If websites must be compatible with IE it means that the must follow any non standard change that Microsoft makes to his rendering engine.

    4) Any non standard changes Microsoft make to IE rendering engines are proprietary information of Microsoft, and they can chose not to disclose it to anybody else.

    5) As a result Microsoft controls the "real" web standards, no matter what the "official" standard is and can pretty much force every machine designed to display a web page to buy IE & Windows for the guarantee of a 100% compatible standard experience.

    This was (and I think still is) Microsoft's plan. The only reason why alternative browsers such as Firefox managed to gain some market share is that MS became very sloppy and failed to update IE for a long time and that some users started to accept that some pages wouldn't render properly in exchange for the convenience of tabbed browsing (not to mention the hundred of devoted Firefox supporters that reported non compliant websites etc...).

    If Microsoft had executed properly we would still be using IE6 rendering engines with some proprietary extensions (but inside a browser looking more like IE8) and only Windows would be able to render most web pages correctly. Mac and Linux would have much smaller market share than they have now, there would probably be no iPhone or it would run windows mobile and pocket IE (but of course it would not have the success it has because of the horrible browsing experience).

    legislation is needed to avoid a repeat of the situation of the mid 2000 where IE 6 was the "de facto" standard for the web and Microsoft's property.

  26. Peter Holgate
    Thumb Down

    Too many computer morons

    The remark posted by Anonymous Coward ... "and the average user is too fucking clueless to know there are alternatives" ... I will be brave enough to reiterate this statement. They ARE fucking morons.

    I support 3 schools and a lot of home users, the majority of whom are only skilled enough to turn the computer on - don't confuse them with trying to make choices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Filippo Silver badge

    Be serious

    Forcing a company to provide updates for competing software (for free!) is the most moronic idea I've heard in a good while. I get that bashing MSFT is trendy, but this is so deeply unfair that I can't fathom how anyone can say it with a straight face. What's next? Forcing McAfee to provide updates for AVG? Having Adobe provide updates for JASC PSP?

    Have Microsoft disentangle IE from the OS once and for all, so that a copy of Windows *can* be sold without IE. That'd be the first step to a real solution.

  28. AlanGriffiths

    Who's is it?

    It is annoying enough with Microsoft trying to dictate what runs on my computer (which I paid for), gets downloaded (over my bandwidth), and installed on my hard disk. Now Opera and the EU want to get in on the act too?

    I think not.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Michael re Apple and Linux

    Microsoft have been found guilty of abuse of monopoly, which is why they find themselves in this discussion. The same does not apply to Apple/Safari or indeed pretty much any other player in the PC world.

    Quiz (to see if you've read properly): Why does this only apply to Microsoft with IE, and not to (for example) Apple with Safari?

  30. Ian

    I'm with Geoffrey W

    Why waste time complaining that Microsoft ship a browser with thier OS? It's not as if you can't use it to go get your favourite.

  31. Daniel

    "M**** from Opera"

    Yes, that's Håkon Lie, the guy who works for Tim Berners Lee. The man who proposed the Cascading Stylesheets standard. Clearly an idiot, compared to your startling genius, Mr Coward.

    Now go back to your Active Directory modal dialogue and try to get your user's exchange server running properly, instead of shirking off and reading articles you're too stupid to understand.... you drooling, slack-jawed, beetle-browed, servile, little Windows system administrator! No one will sack you, if your boss happens to look at some non-Microoft software, because you're already the IT-equivalent of a burger-flipper!

  32. Mark
    Gates Horns

    re: Moron from Opera

    Clearly you have some issues. Perhaps it's because deep down you know Opera actually is everything all the others promise to be...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so they want..

    .. all broswers to be on all pcs, this is a even worse security nightmare imo as theres even more doors open (people who think that firefox is massivly secure really are idiots,if it was so secure then they wouldn't need security fixes).

    Also it would mean lots more setup time, as now i have to go through and remove all the crap I don't want.

    To to that another small browser complaining that they are not included in the list.

    Oh to the person who "uninstalls" ie from every computer, well done mate, great idea to break parts of the system so that people complain about something not working and blame ms for it!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Geoffrey W

    Do you really not understand why? Or are you the one being childish?

    Now Geoffrey....that's OK; you take your time deciding.

  35. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Windows update for all apps

    "Its one area where Windows is now well behind the linux distributions, a single unified update. I can run apt-get and update all the packages on my linux machine, but on the Windows box each app does it its own way, if at all."

    I think the knub of the issue is "if at all".

    There are a handful of non-Microsoft apps that do a background check for updates and tell you when they are available. These systems work perfectly well without "integrating" with Microsoft Update, and leave both Microsoft and the third party vendor on a surer legal footing.

    What happens if "Microsoft" push out a "fix" that corrupts user data? It may be signed and sealed by the vendor, but it was still Microsoft's call to offer it under their "Automatic Updates" brand, so the MS brand gets tarnished and the lawyers chase the richer target. What happens if Microsoft *fail* to push out a fix that would have protected a user's system? It *might* have been because the third party vendor didn't adhere to the APIs properly, but it might not and would again be worth arguing in court. Yummy!

    In a closed source universe, each vendor really has to take on the responsibility themselves.

    The real problem is with products for which there is no such system because the vendor either isn't tracking vulnerabilities or isn't offering free upgrades. Having a public API is not going to help here.

  36. Schroeder

    @Why stop there

    Funnily enough in the days before the free bundling of IE and the widespread availability of broadband, I seen to remember consumers having to do something similar to select the applications they wished to use with their PC's, in a place built from bricks and mortar, quaintly referred to as a shop ...

    But then you probably panic when faced with all choice on the shelves on your local supermarket don't you?

    As has been said before (and willfully ignored by the shills), it's all about Microsoft's abuse of it's monopoly position, to try and force itself into other areas, at the expense of other competitors.

    For those raving against the removal IE, the main point is to do with Microsoft's web strategy based on i.e. IE -> ActiveX -> Silverlight, and through this path the idea to tie a 'rich internet' experience to Windows only, at a time when more and more devices are becoming web-enabled. I'm sure the phone manufacturers are really happy at the idea of being forced to license a version Windows that is full of bloat and insecure, instead of other more suitable options, simply because Microsoft has been able to tilt the playing field.

    Oh and AC:02:19 - wow, I really hope that's a satirical trolling take on Microsoft Shill, because if it isn't and you claim to be an IT professional, well, god help your users.

  37. Steven Snape

    Forced to choose??

    I await another confused phonecall from my parents and grand parents.

    Being a computer tech dealing with the genrral public I dont think forcing a choice is a good idea as I would say that over 50% of customers do not even know what Internet Explorer is, they just know of it as Talk Talk, BT, Pipex, Etc... They would end up choosing their browser based on which name they like the best and I would have to pick up the pieces when there browser has changed and their buttons are not where and what they used to be.

    Personally I am happy to have IE on my PC and choose to use another browser.

  38. Simon Neill

    Bleh, browsers

    Its a dilema. IE doesn't follow web standards, FF doesn't play with group policy. We have nothing but IE at work for that reason.

    You want me to deploy FF in a corporate environment? make it work properly with group policy.

    As for bundling other browsers with windows, I'd rather have to install FF than have to uninstall Safari/Chrome/Opera etc etc etc. What these tards need to realise is that its EASY to install extra browsers, the reason people don't is that your average user doesn't care. IE gets them to their e-mails, youtube and google. I bet even if you offered a choice all the people that currently use IE would STILL use IE.

  39. Nicholas Shaw

    @ Anonymous coward

    I would suggest that Apple is a far more restrictive OS and company than M'soft ever is, was or could be. Any Apple clones? I was under the impression that M'soft were being bollocked for integrating IE into their OS and then forcing everyone to take it. They have the largest market share (one reason for that is oh yes, everyone can install windows into their PC, a strategic decision made at the start of their life, the opposite of Apples. The irony here is a decision to enable everyone to have a pc that worked has made them a monopoly whereas Apples manic control freak mentality has kept them small in the PC field.)

    so everyone has IE until it is removed, ignored etc. HOwever that does not remove the fact that it is inbuilt into their OS which is bad (or so people say.) In which case, Apples insistance that Safari is the default browser and the fact htat it is bundled with and integrated into the OS is equally wrong.

    Furhtermore, despite setting Firefox as my default browser (which can only be done by going into Safari and setting Firefox as a default browser, not very intuitive and definetely in place to limit people doing this, a classic case of control freakery and Macs It just does NOT work) Safari randomly kicks out Firefox and launches itself as my default browser. Nor can I actually remove it from my system.

    All in all, a far mor unpleasant browser/integration experience than M'softs. Of course lets not talk about Apples control of the istore and any applications put out over that. If people have an issue with M'soft for controlling what happens on their system, the same must be applied to Apple who are far worse.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But who's actually going to pick Opera? Morons will pick IE, FF users will pick FF, and Operas 1% of the market will pick Opera.

    Don't really see this making any difference, let alone bringing back competition.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Couple of responses..

    @Christopher Martin

    "That'd be rich - we should legally force Microsoft to comply with a "standard" which, in the history of the web, has never once been properly implemented by anyone."

    And why is that? Because other browser vendors have to spend more time fixing IE compatibility problems than working on implementing the actual standards!



    "Forcing a company to provide updates for competing software (for free!) is the most moronic idea I've heard in a good while."

    Microsoft broke the law. That has consequences. Maybe they shouldn't have broken the law in the first place.



    "Why waste time complaining that Microsoft ship a browser with thier OS? It's not as if you can't use it to go get your favourite."

    Because MS uses that browser to prevent competition.

  42. Edward Miles

    @Simon Neill

    "You want me to deploy FF in a corporate environment? make it work properly with group policy."

    Firefox Community Edition?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Opera is bollocks anyway.

    Personally I dont think Microsoft "should have to" do anything. Its their product and they can do what the hell they like with it. If people dont like it, dont buy it.

    As for MS having to offer other browsers for download? wtf? Sure, while they're at it, why not offer OpenOffice as a download as well. Why not when you install Windows is there an option for installing Linux instead? Heck, why not just put all the software in the world on their update site so other companies dont have to waste their bandwidth.

    I am not always a fan of what MS do, but I know if I was the one creating a product and was told I had to change it or remove parts of it to appease my competition, I'd be issuing a press release telling them to slobber all over my nutsack.

    Actually I'd be pretty happy if I could get all of the software I want directly from msupdate since its always given me pretty good speeds. Although, Opera I would never install. Basically, its a big pile of shit.

  44. Russ Pitcher


    This sort of thing makes my blood boil!

    Microsoft were indeed very anti-competitive some years ago, but they have beyond recognition and have complied with all the rulings. Now the EU are, yet again, having a pop - without good reason in my opinion. It's extremely simple to use a different browser, and to suggest that competitors in the marketplace - that are already significantly eroding MS's market share - should be using MS's own code is unreasonable at best.

    To also suggest that other browser manufacturers will have to add 1000s of lines of code to replicate a rendering engine that they and the community have universally condemned for years is just plain hypocritical! This lot have been banging on and on saying MS should make their browsers render in a standard manner, and then when they do so they complain that it's anti-competitive! Any respect I have for these people is rapidly being eroded with every one of these ridiculous comments.

  45. Jerome
    Paris Hilton


    WTF is this? "Guy at Opera believes it'd be really cool if Microsoft were forced to screw themselves over". No shit.

    In other news, I believe Paris should come to my house and blow me. Film at 11.

  46. Simon Neill

    FF community edition

    When did that come into existence? this will make life easier.

  47. Wortel

    We went over this

    In the previous article. now move along, nothing to see here

  48. Lee Fear

    I say break non compliant sites

    After all it is quite easy to make a site compliant. I am a web developer and all my sites are XHTML 1.1 validated (apart from the version delivered to IE as it can't handle the xhtml mime type properly for some stupid reason). If companies have sites that are not compliant then it is their own fault for not developing to standards.

  49. Simon B

    NEW PC: Download Firefox? Sorry you can't, no browser exists by default to do it now!

    "According to Lie, though, this will create a problem for browser makers like Opera as they, too, will need to include separate rendering engines and code to replicate the behavior of IE 8 for web sites."

    ERRRR no it wont, simple answer for Opera & Co. is DON'T replicate IE8 behaviour. Just because Microsoft wrote html wrong doesn't mean EVERYONE ELSE has to for compatability! I use Firefox, and only use IE on sites where firefox doesn't work. The more people that use the likes of firefox and Opera the more sites that use M$ HTML will be affected, eventually meaning THEY will loose out as customers move to sites written properly!

    On M$ side though, calculator, search and media player comes as standard yet I don't use the built in player or search, I download better ones. Do they need to un-bundle the calculator too as it's anti competitive?!! The browser is there so when a person buys a pc they CAN surf the net, the browser is part of the pc experience, along with the calculator and notepad etc etc. If people WANT a better of different tool they will and do get one! Hell windows has it's own firewall but people still go and buy Zone Alarm, and the less inteligent buy Norton Bloatware. So why pick on the browser? I don't like IE so I don't use it. why the fuss? And without IE how do I download Firefox when I buy a new PC?!! ROFL

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have any of the Opera detractors...

    ... actually used Opera recently - like version 9x?

    From the standpoint of actually browsing the web, it's probably the best browser going, it's fairly quick to boot, has in-built mouse-gestures, and a few other odds and sods. Unlike (much) older version 9x actually works... very well in fact.

    IE8 is a step in the right direction - not far enough but it's a start. Frankly, these days, I'd be happy if Joe Public would update to IE7 - at least that's MOSTLY compliant, it's possible to create standards compliant code that will work with IE7 and everything else (you do need to implement a few workarounds though). There are still some punters visiting our website using IE5 and we stopped supporting that years ago.

    Normally I'd happy join the "bash Microsoft" bandwagon, normally they deserve it... however, not in this case. The way to browser competition is for all the peeps writing websites to code to standards and direct their users/customers to either the IE update page, or Firefox, Opera, whatever homepages to get the punters to update... however, your boss may not see the positive side of this and you may get your very own P45.

    Any version of Internet Explorer older than 7 is distinctly dodgy - anyone deliberately coding for older versions of IE to the detriment of other browsers is dodgier still.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    More junk

    I already have to clean a load of junk off new machines because of all the trials and offers that marketing types dump on there. Now I'm going to have to remove browsers I don't want too? What a silly idea. I can already choose another browser if I want. If you can't manage to install a browser without the computer doing it for you then you probably aren't really interested in which one it is. As far as I can see the only people who feel that there is anything terrible happening are the ones who would make money out of the alternative software. Users don't care, generally.

  52. John Phellis
    Thumb Up

    Standards is good for competition

    Right, IE8 has three rendering engines. And more will be added when new versions of IE are launched. That will ensure the the web never moves over to standards, which is exactly what Microsoft hopes.

    For the market leader, standards don't make sense as they lower the barriers for competition. Which is exactly why standards make sense for everyone else.

  53. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: I say break non compliant sites

    "If companies have sites that are not compliant then it is their own fault for not developing to standards."

    The problem with that is that the costs are externalised. The company with the bad web-site won't want to pay (again) for the ponytailed web guru to rewrite the site. Instead, they'll just put a message "best viewed with Internet Exploder Swiss Cheese Edition" and foist the damage onto the waiting world. Sure, they *might* lose customers, but unless they are a Web 2.0 company, the chances are that the site is tick-box item that costs them money, rather than a revenue generator.

    How many people have changed bank because their old one required IE for the internet banking facility? (Probably *some* people here. Probably hardly anyone in the wider world.)

  54. Jord

    Blah blah blah

    We could go over the old "Microsft have been very naughty by bundling IE with Windows" crap once again, but what would be the point? Look where it got Netscape.....

    Microsoft have the legal representation one would expect from a loviathan company of 100 000 employees and the scruples of a candy-from-baby-stealing, murderous rapist, and no amount of court battles will stop them from doing what they do best.

    So stop bitching Opera, and beat them at what they aren't capable of doing: INNOVATING. Having used opera I can safely say this will be an alien concept to you, but it's got to be worth a shot.....

  55. Neil Bauers

    Standards Gloom

    Try submitting random websites to

    Every site I tried failed, some with hundreds of errors. Failures included the BBC, Amazon and RNIB the site for the blind. Only Mozilla passed.

    If you're a web master, try testing your own site.

    We're all doomed!

  56. Lewis Mettler

    unbundle Internet Explorer

    The only fair solution is to remove IE from Microsoft systems.

    If the OEM wants to include a browser in the box or preloaded, then give them the choice to offer whatever browser they want to include. And the option to change that over time so that if new and better technology comes along they can go with that. If the OEM wants to offer a choice of browsers so be it.

    The point is that your choice of browser should never be determined by the fact that you think you want one. That is a totally independant criteria. If you need a tire should you be forced to buy Firestones? If you need to ware clothing should you be forced to wear a state uniform? If you need to eat lunch should you be forced to consume food decided by someone else?

    Only idiots and fools argue that your choice should be out of your control and determined by someone else. Themselves most likely. They only lie about who they really are.

    Microsoft employees argue that IE should be forced on consumers. Consumers would never suggest such a thing. Consumers always want a choice.

  57. Mark

    re: Standards Gloom

    Or in Opera, right click on the page, and select Validate... also passes...

  58. Geoffrey W

    RE: @ Geoffrey W


    By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 30th January 2009 10:24 GMT

    Do you really not understand why? Or are you the one being childish?

    Now Geoffrey....that's OK; you take your time deciding.


    Well, I thought I did. I read the reasoning in this article and I dismissed it as poor thinking. Others have already explained why in this thread, but it boils down to "Nothing has changed in the world except a new version of IE8. Web sites are the same after IE8 as they were before IE8, so no reason for any other browser to do anything they aren't already doing." I know IE is bolted deeper into the OS than a lot of folk would like but that is a different issue. This is just about offering choice and I cant see any reason for it other than Opera want Microsoft to help them come to the attention of more users. If I'm really misunderstanding something then stop being mysterious and condescending and tell us what you think. What is the deep truth hidden in this issue that I, and several others, are apparently missing?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Look at Netscape

    "We could go over the old "Microsft have been very naughty by bundling IE with Windows" crap once again, but what would be the point? Look where it got Netscape...."

    The US government dropped their case against MS when George W Bush came to power. This may have had something to do with campaign contributions. Fortunately, it's not so easy to bribe the European Commission...

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why is ther alway at least one wintard that'll ask "Why not force Apple/Popular Linux Distro to bundle alternatives too?" Is it like Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies? I propose "Mac Phreaks Law of S'not Fair!" When dicussing sanctions against Microsoft, someone will always ask why the proposed sanction doesn't apply to Apple/Linux/Popular FLOSS OS when the answer is blindingly obvious. The thread is over when someone suggests that Microsoft withdraw all their products and "services" from the sanctioning territory to "Teach them a Lesson (TM)". This faction instantly loses the argument.

    In answer though;

    1. Remove IE from your systems. I mean *really* remove it. See if your system still works...

    2. Market share. Whilst most of you Express reading Wintards cluck about how Windows is the single greatest achievement of mankind and that its 200% market share (gained by default) is an indication of this, you neglect to remeber that it leaves you open to accusations of "unfair business practices" or "Monopoly abuse" or "Anti-trust".

  61. Jim

    How do you download Opera w/o IE

    They have every right to have IE in the OS. Besides what happens if you break the install of your current browser. What they should do is allow OEMs and VARS to bundle and set an alternate browser as default. Also they should be forced to make Sharepoint and Outlook Web Access run under every browser. Also they need to support Silverlight in Opera.

    The autoupdate feature would be helpful, but i have doubts that Firefox would take advantage of it, there updates are actually pretty well done.

  62. jonathan ash

    pre-bundled softzware

    Firstly, I've always thought these arguments are stupid.

    Say MS are forced to remove IE from Window OS installs, how are users supposed to access the internet to download their browser of choice? Most ordinary users (those who aren't IT literate) would stare at the computer wondering why they couldn't access the internet then ring up whoever they bought the computer from and complain they've been sold a duff computer.

    So then computer makers (dell, asus, ... ) would have to start installing a browser with all the other crap they bloat new computers with, and which browser would they choose, because if they choose just one then that would surely be anti-competitive also.

    I also notice that no-ones suggesting that apple should start doing the same, do they not have to answer the same questions for bundling opera with their computers?

  63. Mark Morgan

    Forcing a choice

    If the user is presented with an installation choice when the switch on their new shiny box for the first time most users will pick by brand name as they will not know any better.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer

    Google Chrome

    Mozilla Firefox

    Opera Opera

    Apple Safari

    How many of Joe Public have heard of Mozilla or Opera? The result of this choice would be to increase Google's browser market share and possibly some for Apple too.

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