back to article Mozilla mauls Microsoft on IE, Windows 7 bundle

Mozilla has issued a broadside against Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 operating system, by claiming it stifles the browser market and gives Redmond’s Internet Explorer an unfair advantage over its rivals. According to the Financial Times, Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker said: "Our initial review suggests this is a blatant …

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  1. Mike Dyne

    I'm sorry...

    but it's a Release Candidate... get over yourselves Mozilla!

    Jesus, you'd think MS were evil for bundling their browser with their OS.

    If people want FF, they'll download it. Christ it's pretty much the first thing I do when I install Windows.

    You want a bigger market share? Then do some large scale marketing of your application - don't expect MS to bundle it with their OS just because you feel left out.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about instead of bitching...

    they give a VIABLE example of what MS should do.

    Bundling firefox, opera et all with windows 7 is NOT a viable example as there is NO way they can include EVERY browser in the list, there will always be a new one that gets to complain because they are not in the list (bare in the mind the user will get VERY confused as well with that, because a default will be needed to help with that and THEN the other lot will complain about what is set as the default)

    NOT bundling any browser is also not viable as users EXPECT a web browser to be there , also then we will be going back to the old cd way to get the browser which could cause other issues.

    so what should ms do? how about constructive help from this bunch of whiners

  3. Daniel Harris
    Thumb Down

    Why

    "The EC could order Microsoft to distribute rival browsers alongside IE when bundled in its Windows operating system. A response from Brussels is expected next month."

    Why should Microsoft have to do this? It's their software (Windows) and they should be allowed to just bundle their browser if they wish to. I find it perfectly acceptable that when I want firefox to be installed along side IE I need to download it myself.

    How are they supposed to decide which rival browsers to bundle into Windows? Surely if they include one rival browser then they need to include them all? Also whilst they are at it they obviously need to include all rival media players, photo viewing software, and email applications...right?

    Usually when rivals complain about Microsofts business practices, they just wish they could be in the same situation, no matter how ethical they claim to be...they are all in business for profit.

    I do hate how people stick with IE6 for so long though, people need to let go of it once and for all....please! Hopefully Windows 7 will catch on. I've tried it and think it's great myself.

    I don't just love Microsoft either. I just use the software/OS/whatever that I prefer to use and that helps me get my work done on time and also enjoy some entertainment.

    Out of interest do Apple bundle rival browsers with their products, or just Safari? This is no way intended to take a shot at Apple. Just that if they don't bundle the rival browsers...shouldn't they have to if Microsoft are forced to?

  4. Liam
    Thumb Down

    ffs not this again....

    its funny this one...

    safari is ok to be bundled with apple

    firefox is bundled with every linux disto i have seen

    wtf are MS users supposed to do. install the OS then try to download FF/opera with no browser?

    i wouldnt mind but FF is getting increasingly shite over the years... problems with addon makers etc etc.

    does ford get in shit for having ford stereos in their cars? im sure blaupunkt would prefer theirs in there?

    if anyone wants to use a secondary browser they can - its easy to do. i could imagine if MS made FF run slowly or not install. i mean apple are much more restrictive with their apps.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Double standards?

    But are they complaining about Google pushing Chrome on their front page? Many would that's a clear abuse of Google's near monopoly in the search engine market. However Mozilla are unlikely to go after Google given their relationship.

    So until they complain about Google I don't think we can take them seriously can we?

  6. ekimdam
    Stop

    Why? It wouldn't make any sense.

    Quick! Someone issue a complaint that GM unfairly bundles their radios and CD players with their cars which is obviously stifling the aftermarket radio competition.

    Seriously people... cry me a freakin river already! Would Opera/Mozilla like a piece of cheese with that wine?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh please

    not this, still

    why not moan at apple while you're at it? or some of the linux distros...

    of _course_ microsoft don't want to bundle some random people's code with their OS (and what browsers, anyway? if it's just FF then isn't that just as market-manipulative? so should they include every OSS browser ever, no matter how broken? and what about closed-source browsers like opera? should they trust them as well?). The alternative is not to bundle IE with the OS either, and that leaves you a bit screwed.

    every OS in the world comes with a browser and a media player, and it's not like it isn't easy to change what gets used as the default under windows

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the EC too blind to see

    The simple facts here are that Microsoft has the OS and they have a browser, they are unlikely to bundle another company's browser as that is like saying that their own is crap.

    If the EC do decide that MS should remove IE as the default browser then the same should apply to Apple (Safari) and to Linux (whatever comes with that flavour), and no OS should come with a bundled browser made by the same company, and where would the internet be then.

    Opera have a good standing as a mobile platform, but for real internet access I know of no-one that actually uses it, why, because it really isn't that much better than any other browser, and they should get over that fact. Even is MS was forced to remove IE from Windows, they wouldn't put Opera there instead.

    These guys should spend more time marketing the benefits of using their browser if they want you to use it, and provide a real benefit to doing so, rather than bashing MS. If the Opera/Firefox guys wanted to make a statement they should extend their lawsuit to include Apple and Linux as they are as much guilty of the same thing, but they won't.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh look....

    ..Firefox is bundled with Ubuntu...Wahhhhh not fair.

  10. Greg

    @ekimdam

    While I do agree with your point (and I do) I really do wish that manufacturers were forced to use a standard cage, connectors etc for stereos, so I don't have to buy £30 of extra adaptors and fit them into my dash just so I can have a Kenwood rather than a Beta.

  11. Cucumber C Face
    Gates Halo

    Firefox out of Ubuntu then?

    So Mitchell Baker will also be campaiging for the 'debundling' of Firefox from Linux distros?

    Face it - your average user is going to be confused by anythng other than a single default web browser ready waiting for them on their shiny new OS. Far less will they expect to use a command line ftp client to access their browser of choice.

    Get over it.

  12. Kevin Johnston

    yawn yawn

    Complaint is still misdirected. As everyone above (at the time of writing) has mentioned, users need/expect at least one browser available but what Mozilla et al should be complaining about is that even after installing your browser of choice you cannot Uninstall IE.

  13. Lozzyho
    Thumb Down

    Maybe...

    just maybe they looked at the multi-tab aeropeek on IE8/Win7 and wondered "how the fuck do we do that?" and then decided to whine about it instead.

    What a storm in a teacup.

  14. Steve

    There are two types of people

    1. Those who buy a computer and will use the software that's bundled and...

    2. People who install the system themselves.

    For group 1, bundling is irrelevant as they'll use whatever Dell etc installs and those companies are free to put in whatever browser they like while they're adding the rest of their proprietary software and AV packages. For the rest of us, installing an alternative to IE is part of the windows installation process. I installed the Windows 7 RC the other night and I didn't consider the process complete until I'd added Kapersky, Firefox and a graphics card driver.

  15. Peyton

    A note on linux*

    Most distros come with Firefox and then either gnome+epiphany or kde+konqueror- in other words pre-installed browsers > 1.

    Also (imho) safari on mac is such a steaming pile of.... well let's just say it does everything but pop up a dialog "You could do a lot better than this, ya know" every time you launch it...

    *this is not a rebuttal to other comments - I don't use Windows enough anymore to know what the IE experience is like these days

  16. Adam Trickett
    Linux

    It's a fair complaint

    Microsoft are in a monopoly position, by giving away something - in this case a browser, as part of the whole they are abusing their monopoly position by excluding others from competing fairly.

    All the whining from Microsoft apologists are not fair comparisons. Apple and Ubuntu are not convicted monopolists, they are free to do what they want.

    As long as Microsoft continues to bully smaller companies with dirty tricks it deserves to be kept under anti-competition law scrutiny and they should be forced to bundle competitors browsers such as FF and Opera as part of the default install and/or offer a browser free version of Windows 7.

  17. Roger Greenwood

    more yawn

    Kevin Johnston has the point here - resellers cannot remove IE and put their own favourite on, and neither can you or me. It's not the initial bundling but the inability to remove.

    Of course the biggest crime is to force resellers to put windows on at all. Price the OS separately (and honestly) and see where people put their money . . .

    Don't you just love the sound of a Gloucester Old Spot tootling overhead.

  18. Adrian Challinor

    Mozilla has bigger problems than this

    At home, on Linux, Firefox is fine. It still has problems and needs to be coaxed, kicking and screaming, in to running some video feeds on a 64bit install, but its do-able.

    However, in the office - IE is the standard. Why? Because it works with all our service providers. At least three web applications I use just don't work with Firefox. They do work with IE. Yes, I guess we could get the apps fixed to work with FF, but why would we go to that bother? We have a business to run, we are not a browser testing shop.

    So, Mitchell, stop the pathetic bleats and fix the browser. You are starting to loose market share, not because of any nefarious dealings by MS, but because you have fallen behind.

  19. Matt

    Try reading the complaint!

    I see a lot of people here haven't read the complaint and don't understand competition laws.

    The question is whether MS are abusing their near monopoly position to push IE. You can't complain about Linux or MacOS because they haven't got a near monopoly position.

    The point is that browsers used to be separate and MS have dumped IE on the market to force others out of business (that's the accusation). They could do the same with Accounts software, CAD software etc. Then they put the price up once the competition are dead. At the very least they make it more costly for a competitor to get a foothold in the market place.

    Of course there's also the question of which tools are reasonable to bundle with an OS.........

  20. Tom Chiverton

    why not moan at Mac or Linux

    Why not moan at Apple over Safari or Linux over FireFox ? Because neither of those two are *convicted criminals* with a past and ongoing history of *unfairly* and *illegally* screwing people over...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still not...

    ... seeing any actual workable ideas from the peopel maoning at ms, just more internet idiot rants about ms being "convicted criminals" and "bullies".

    How about instead of sitting on forums complaining you get outside adn get a life, or even better DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Make your own browser, consulte your MEP don't just sit here and bitch about them , it makes you sound retarded (which i know most of the population of ms haters is)

    Can we have a pic of a retarded tux or something, all the icons seem to be anti ms except one out of date one!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: why not moan at Mac or Linux

    In my opinion Apple should be a convicted monopolist already; for their forced bundling of iTunes with the iPod if nothing else.

    If anything these days I believe Apple is more abusive than Microsoft. They are far better at spin though.

  23. Chris Ovenden
    Thumb Up

    Isn't it amazing

    ... how many thick people read The Register!

    Microsoft are specifically not allowed to leverage their OS monopoly to disadvantage competitors in other areas, in either the EU or US, and probably elsewhere in the world too. The same rules don't apply to non-monopoly players.

    I am in complete agreement with the proposal to bundle Firefox with Windows 7, as the second most popular browser, and perhaps Opera, Chrome and Safari too. There aren't actually that many. Maybe the first time a user clicks the Internet icon they could be asked which browser they want to make the default, much as MS have already had to provide a way in IE for users to select their default search provider.

  24. Frank

    @Adrian re. Mozilla has bigger problems than this

    "..So, Mitchell, stop the pathetic bleats and fix the browser."

    I'll wait for various people to explain things to you :)

  25. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    @Adam Tickett

    So, that a company follows the same practices as a "convicted monopolist" somehow relieves them of responsibility? Not so. The points from the "apologists" are fair, and if you were not such a fanboi you might see it clearly.

    Microsoft produces an operating system. That operating system is useless without a browser, and almost impossible to support if it does not have a uniform ground on which to stand.

    In-depth dissection of your argument is a waste of time. In short, if Microsoft should bundle Opera and Firefox with Windows, does that not open them up for non-competitive complaints from other browser makers, such as Google and Apple? And how useful is an operating system without a browser today?

    Producing a browser-less version of Windows is asinine. This eliminates the out-of-box, ready-to-run functionality that basic and novice users require. And while it does not stand in the way of the power-user who wishes to use an alternate browser, neither does Windows with Internet Explorer.

    FFS, I actually know several "novice" users who download Firefox on their own.

    Paris, because a vagoo-less version of her would be just as asinine. And, no, she does not bundle alternative vagoos -- you get the one she has.

  26. Eric

    They should just pay Dell to install it

    If some company wants their browser on prebuilt machines, just do like google does with their shitty search and pay Dell to install it. If microsoft does something nasty about it, THEN you might have a case against them.

    But for retail copies, the idea of shipping an OS without a browser is retarded. However, I would expect nothing less from the EC.

  27. Lewis Mettler

    IE is not free

    You pay cash money for IE. Only retards think the toy in their happy meal is free.

    But, that is not the real issue.

    Browsers are not necessary to use the internet. A simple download script can be provided for all the major browsers. And that eliminates the need to pre-bundled any browser on Microsoft, Linux or even Apple.

    Give the consumer a choice. Whether they pay money like with Microsoft or actually free and unattached.

    Look at all the little kiddies who think it is okay if mommy still puts out their clothes on the bed each day so they can wear them without thinking. And mommy packs a nice lunch too. They do not have to think. And not one of them does think. They are only selling IE for cash.

  28. sproot
    Jobs Horns

    Bad Analogy Guy

    All the posters with the car analogies are missing the point: Nobody cares that Ford put their own brand radios in their cars, Ford don't insist that radio stations broadcast in a format that only Ford radios can play.

    Nobody gives a toss what crap runs on your Windows boxes, only that the internet is getting shafted because of it.

    And @AC 14:03: Pot, kettle a bit doncha think?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bundle it - Support it.

    This is a good idea. The people sat in support centres over the other side of the planet always need more random applications to come up with generic and unhelpful replies for.

    "You need to replace your homepage[s] sir, just open up your 'internets', now, could you explain to me in 200 words or less the icon that you just clicked on. Unless you were using a non-standard icon, in which case I need you to guess what browser you're using. What do you mean you don't know what a browser is? Oh, no sir, BT isn't your browser it's your ISP. No I'm not calling you stupid sir. I'll get my manager..."

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take your pick and enjoy.

    Love Firefox, but this is just plain daft. The Fox comes with Google bundled in as the default search engine. Why aren't Clusty, ixquick, Yauba, Yahoo, Microsoft, and all the other SEs included? Because Mozilla has a financial relationship with Google. Follow the money.

    Mozilla deserves credit for compelling MS to raise their game to the extent that with IE8 they finally have a viable product in the browser market. Competition good - monopoly bad.

  31. A. Lewis

    And they're suggesting: what?

    That W7 should come with no browser? How are people going to download firefox? Or how about W7 with firefox preinstalled? Doesn't that just lead to the same situation in reverse?

    I like firefox, because I think it's a good product - but whining like this without suggesting anything constructive just makes Mozilla look petty.

  32. Thomas Bottrill
    Stop

    Reading the FT article...

    I couldn't figure out what Microsoft was doing differently in Windows 7 than other versions of Windows, until I read this bit:

    "However, Microsoft indicated that this only applied to the recommended method of installing the test version of Windows 7, and was unrelated to the experience most users would have when the new operating system is officially released."

    So Mozilla and Opera are complaining about IE8 replacing the default browser when performing a CLEAN INSTALL, thus wiping Firefox/Mozilla, and all other installed software, from the machine?

    Sounds like more tactics to stir up a technologically unsavvy EU committee to me.

  33. Kevin

    and next.

    Dodge will complain that Fford mustang's do not come with the option of Hemi engines as a option.

    For as much as I love using FF they maybe should put some of their $$ from suing MS and lobbying for MS lawsuits to TV ads, or paying Oprah off to say how good FF is on her show. The market share if Oprah talked about it would probably hit 85% overnight and crash their servers.

    Now if MS added mozilla.org to the hosts file by default to point to a null page or went out of their way to make it not work or even install on windows, then I can see the complaints. But as it is right now their bundling their software with their own hardware.

    Last I checked Apple included Safari and are not being treated in the same way. Most the Linux distros I've tried had Konqueror installed as default and not FF. So why isn't Mozilla not suing everyone else for anti-competitive practices is the only question I have.

  34. Rob Elliott

    In

    the good old days I used to get my browser:

    From a CD provided on the front of a magazine.

    Via a command line ftp client.

    From the CD my ISP gave me when I joined them.

    If Microsoft hadn't integrated IE4 with Windows 95 then there would never have been such a big issue, IE4 was integrated so tightly with the operating system it was almost impossible to remove. I believe this stifled the competition.

    Today I have the opinion that an operating system should include a browser, however I think this should be some sort of lite application capable of doing the basics. Much in the same way that Windows comes with a basic word processor (Wordpad). This way, if the user requires a more comprehensive application then they can choose which one they like.

  35. kain preacher

    Hmm please explain

    I worked for a company a while back that bought a lot of compaq computers. They came with Netscape . Netscape was right on the desktop. No one used it. So what now what you want MS to p ay for user training ??

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    MS fan boys, are you idoits?

    Yes MS and Apple should have to bundle a selection of browsers.

    Why not BSD/Linux? Because of the sea of distros. BSD/Linux can be forked and remixed into a different product in a way Windows and OSX can't. You can't sell repackaged Windows or OSX where you have swapped out apps and configured it differently. Though I notice in the pirate world there are remixed copies of Windows.

    Stop wining, it's in your interest competition is forced. You want to get left further behind then you already are?

    You forgotten the lessons of IE6 already? No competition equals stagnation.

    Then if you really think about it, you'll see that Windows and Apple are monocultures and Linux/BSD/Freesoftware is an ecosystem.....and if you know your biology.....

  37. Infi
    Flame

    If you don't like IE

    There's a very simple solution (and with apologies for the following language)

    Don't fucking use it!

    There, pretty simple I think

  38. Richard
    Pirate

    Two minds about this

    For the record, I am a Unix/Oracle programmer/analyst by trade and we have Macs and Linux boxes at the house.

    First, Microsoft has a point that we're talking beta and RCs here. This isn't a purchasable product. And can you imagine the uproar if they didn't provide a browser? The one solution would be, on configuring a system, asking whether you wanted (from a list) IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, etc. However, when you first fire up a system, particularly Windows, your priority is downloading the patches, correct?

    Also, while people claim they like choice, if you give them too many choices they vapor-lock and tend to choose a default. That would be IE.

    At the same time, I can see that MS is a convicted monopolist and should be held to different standards because of it. However, that train has left the station because Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson liked media attention and f***ed the deck so MS could declare a mistrial. At that point the case against MicroSoft became much, much less winnable. If you need a scapegoat, call up Judge Jackson and ask him if he thinks lawyers are an evil monopoly.

    Oh, wait, I'd better not type that, in case literacy is now a requirement for judges in the US.

    Personally, I blame Jeremy Clarkson.

  39. Frumious Bandersnatch

    gather round ye commentards, and listen

    To anyone making comments of the line that Firefox is bundled with Linux, go back and RTFA. It's a complaint about abusing or creating a monopoly on the OS level to leverage a monopoly situation in related applications. Last I checked neither Linux nor Apple qualified as monopolies in the desktop world. OK?

    That said, it does sound a bit silly to be complaining about a pre-release version, but I can also see the logic in moving now to forestall future problems when the new OS does roll out.

    On more thing: can we have a moratorium on stupid analogies? Please? I suppose not, but maybe some of you will hear my plea...

  40. Chris Ovenden
    Thumb Up

    @Rob Elliott

    I freaked out when I first read your idea, but after I calmed down a bit I realised what a good one it really is. There *is* a browser equivalent of WordPad. Let Windows' only built-in browser be Lynx.

  41. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    It's the removal or at least the default

    XP.

    Firefox is properly installed as default. I have Opera. I have IE7

    Why does ONLY Foxit PDF reader launch IE7?

    MS's own XP tools to set default don't work properly.

    Ditto on default Image editor (PSP, but occasionally MSPaint or MS Photo editor launch)

    The problem is not inclusion of IE, but the consistently buggy default application for a file, which is set in more than a few places and has never entirely worked.

    .html is labled as MSWord doc! (though FF does launch).

    MS have broke their own product.

  42. Dave

    Uses for IE

    When I've had a new Windows install, the first thing I do with IE is go to the Mozilla site and download Firefox, which gets installed as default browser. Then I use IE for Windows Update and pretty much nothing else, unless it's a work machine and I'm inside their firewall accessing Sharepoint.

    Linux is not a dominant force in the desktop environment, much as some might like it to be, and usually comes with several browsers bundled. Apple gives less choice, but then you probably knew that when you signed up to their culture and bought one of their machines.

  43. W

    Make it uninstallable

    I agree with Rob Elliott with the primary issues being that IE is too integrated into the OS and can't be uninstalled.

    An OS needs a browser nowadays, but whereas it can be uninstalled without many problems in other OSs and the user can choose which browser to use or not to have a browser at all, in Windows you cannot uninstall IE, so even if you choose to install FF/Safari/Chrome/Mozilla/Opera or whatever you want to use, you always have IE lurking in the background, wasting space and demanding regular security updates.

    MS did abuse it's market position and continues to do so even though many complained.

    So why not either provide a slimmed down no-feature-browser if there has to be one to display the windows help and whatnot and let the user decide which browser they want to use by either providing an overview page with links to the biggest alternatives including the full IE7/8 or, in the least provide an option to get rid of the thing if people don't want it...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Ubuntu

    Ubuntu already comes with Konqueror as well as Firefox. If there was a Linux version of IE (hell will have frozen over, you will receive a warning through the emergency broadcast system), and it was actually Open Source, perhaps it would be included if MS wanted it---not that anyone would likely use it.

    But seriously, although I've been a longtime user of Firefox, and rarely use anything else, Mozilla needs to stop bitching. Windows also doesn't include Winzip, Winrar, or any other utility for dealing with zipped files other than the crappy built-in functionality and these vendors aren't complaining.

    God forbid a software manufacturer including their own products and not everyone else's with their operating system distro. When I buy Velveeta shells n' cheese it doesn't come with Kraft cheese---amazing!

  45. DrXym Silver badge

    Release candidate means exactly what it says

    Its a feature complete, ready to ship version of the operating system. Barring last minute legal issue, the only difference between RC and RTM is some bug fixes. People who think "it's only a release candidate" should get a clue here. This is what Windows 7 is going to look and behave like.

    Anyway, the latest IE8 was hardly friendly or open when it comes to asking users if they want to change their search settings. It would not be cynical at all to think that MS deliberately filled the setup with multiple steps and peculiar terminology to scare people away from changing the default settings which naturally favour MSN. If they really intended a level playing field, it would not have been hard to provide a single "pick your search behaviour from this list" dialog and leave it at that.

  46. James Butler

    @MS Apologists

    "Microsoft's rivals claimed PC users who upgrading their machines to the new operating system have Microsoft's own IE8 set as their default browser, even if they were previously using a different company's software."

    For those of you who are unable to read, this is the issue. A typical Microsoft "upgrade" to the new OS will break your preferences for using a diffrerent, installed browser in direct violation of a previously-defined user-made selection.

    So where's the Linux/Apple counterpart to this situation? Oh, right ... there ISN'T one, because when you upgrade a Mac or a Linux box, YOUR PREFERRED BROWSER SELECTION IS LEFT ALONE. Only the previously-convicted monopolist Microsoft engages in that behavior.

    And their claim that the final release version of Windows 7 will NOT do re-assign the default browser choice is cold comfort. How can we expect them to engineer that feat when the current release completely avoids it?

    @Alan W. Rateliff, II ... I don't know for how long you have been using a computer, but an OS is far from "useless" without a web browser. Same goes for a robust word processing suite, or audio players. THOSE all get installed by the user at their whim. Microsoft STARTED "bundling" (or more appropriately, REQUIRING) MSIE in an attempt to attack Netscape Corporation and its web browser back in the mid-1990s. You should learn more about Microsoft's history as a monopolist, and what led to their current status as one, before you attempt to act knowledgeable in these areas. Same advice for all of the MS apologists, here.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What a waste of time, energy and resources?

    Ok in my opinion browser wars are nothing new and I don't really think it is an area for EU organisations to get too hot under the collar.

    On the other hand what I do believe to be reasonable at European and national levels is to say: Hey MS. We do tons of business with you we want you to make sure that our dependencies on your operating systems are not compromised. Make 'em more secure please from the get go.

    But they won't seize an initiative and probably love the fuss made about browser wars?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bundle it - Support it.

    That may be the funniest read of the day - especially if you read it in the fonejackers indian support desk voce in your mind.

    As to the browser didn't used to get shipped with your os, hell there was a time when you didnt' get a damn gui, but I can wager that going down like a turd in a chocolate factory if tried to sell a consumer OS without one now. Type "getashittygui.bat" to receive shitty gui type "getawsomeMSgui.bat" to get the gui we wrote.

    In the "good old days" almost nobody used a computer, people sure as hell don't give a turd about the ramblings of psychotic browsertards. It shows websites - who the hell cares where it comes from. The only great things FF has over IE is adblocker pro and noscripts, and most nobby users would never get around to installing them.

    Browsertards need to get back into the real world where nobody gives a shit about browsers.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next? File Systems?

    How dare Microsoft use their Monopoly Power in Operating Systems to force us all to use NTFS - I demand that we be allowed to choose the non-Microsoft file-system of our choice at install time!

  50. Pheet
    Gates Horns

    here we go again...

    Every time this story is covered there's always the same BS comments from the ms fanbois.

    If anybody bothered to read Opera's original complaint for example, they'd know that it's

    1) IE is bundled

    2) IE con't be uninstalled

    3) IE is NOT standards compliant

    4) MS has a monoply position (which Apple & the various Linux distros don't)

    _combined_ that is the problem. Point 3, which leads to all those broken "IE only" web site/apps (as mentioned in an albeit backward way by Adrian Challinor) is actually one of the biggest - even when the user installs another browser, they *still* have to use IE for some sites (often MS's own).

    Also, anybody who thinks one needs a browser to download & install another browser shouldn't be even *reading* the reg, let alone make comments.

  51. Red Bren
    Flame

    The wrong solution?

    Mozilla should be asking the EU to ban Microsoft from bundling any browser that isn't fully W3C compliant, including backward-compatibility modes for IE6.

    Admittedly, half the web might need to be re-written to cope, but that will act as a reminder as to why you should follow recognised standards, rather than the corrupted version of a convicted monopolist. Perhaps MS could contribute towards the costs?

  52. Blackadder
    Thumb Up

    Wow!

    Every single MS fanboi has gathered here to speak the truth. :) I really don't see a problem: User installs OS. A window pops up and ask user which web browser the user which to use. User chooses the "ChocolateMonkeyWebBrowser". OS attaches to the windows update site and downloads said browser and installs it. End of story.

  53. Hugh_Pym
    Thumb Down

    It ain't just bundling

    Back in the day MS included code in windows updates that crippled other manufacturers software so their own looked better in comparison. This was not just a happy accident for them but code along the lines of 'If browser <> ie then pause a while'. These and more subtle methods have been deployed over and over again. Changing key interfaces without telling their 'partners' for instance. There was a case where an interface was left in place but broken and a new secret 'fast lane' method used that only MS apps had access to again made others look bad in comparison.

    This is what is meant but anti-competitive behaviour. Using the OS to prevent competitors software from competing. Withholding information, making deliberate changes, lying about what they did, lying about what they plan to do. Ask Lotus, Word Perfect and Novell about anti competitive behaviour and then note that most of MS profit comes from the office suite.

  54. Rob Elliott

    @Chris Ovenden

    I was thinking of something a little more friendly than Lynx, something more like IE2. It's bad enough that the user will want to upgrade, but not so bad that they can't use it at all.

  55. Wortel
    Go

    And only one

    Of the commenters asked why no alternative has been suggested yet.

    Well, here's one that has already been suggested on a previous article about the same World vs. MS crap:

    Microsoft lacks a package manager. A package manager that is capable of installing/removing any and all components of the OS and any applications a user may want or need, coupled with online repositories to get whatever isn't on the install disk and to get updates with.

    With that, all that waffle about "how do you download 'X' without a browser??" goes right out the window.

    Next!

  56. Edward Miles
    Stop

    Goddamnit people!

    The solution is simple: 1. Make it so you *can* remove IE

    2. Make it so the OEM version shipped to manufacturers comes without a browser, and let the OEMs choose which browser to put on it

    Then it's simple. Those of us who are knowledgeable users will buy the full version, uninstall IE and add firefox/Opera/chrome/Lynx/w3c/<insert browser here> whilst the less knowledgeable users will get whatever the OEMs choose to bundle with it - be it IE, chrome, firefox or any other browser they choose. The same principle *can* (not necessarily should) be applied to any other component of the OS, from Media Player to Calculator.

    Then (Theoretically) the playing field is levelled. N00bs are not confused by having to choose from several browsers, and all the browsers should be competing on a level playing field to get themselves bundled on the OEM machines. Businesses can still come with IE if they need it, but it may well lead to an increase in the number of FF installs.

    Note: The same principle can be applied to Apple and linux as well, but as apple doesn't have OEMs, there'd be no change there, and as most linuxes don't ship a browser made by the same company, the issue is not the same.

  57. Rich

    hmm...

    I've been thinking about this and come to the conclusion its possible a stalemate.

    If you think about it from a bog standard users point of view. This is the scene that comes to mind. You buy Windows but it doesn't have a web browser available. How do I connect to the internet? How do I download firefox or any other browser?

    In all my experiance normal users are muppets... they won't think about looking for a copy of a browser on a CD (to be fair how many are available on CD/DVDs these days?) so they'd get windows which is fine but they'd have no access to the net to get anything else. People are lazy, they like to have things given to them on a silver platter and if they're not, they wont use it. For that reason alone MS have probably been the best thing to happen to the internet (in as loose a way I can possibly make it) because they've made it easy and convenient for the average person who really doesn't give a crap about how things work or whats best thing to use... to use the internet.

    From there they can learn (hopefully) that there are better alternatives around and will (again hopefully) start using them.

    To sum up, I guess what I'm saying is without IE being bundled with windows the internet wouldn't be as good as it is today. Yes its annoying that lots of people stick with IE, but without it they wouldn't be around to spend money online, and thats a vital driving force.

  58. Adam Trickett
    Linux

    @Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Microsoft use to ship an OS without a browser. They also use to ship their OS without disk compression or media players. Then they saw someone making money from browsers, disk compression and media players so they gave a "cheap knock off" alternative in their product. It's illegal and they were fined for it, it's a form of dumping and it's very anti-competitive.

    Ultimately disk compression turned out to be irrelevant as disks grew larger faster than people could fill them up, but in the case of the browser and media-players Microsoft destroyed other peoples business.

    For the browser they took extra care to force IE to be impossible to remove, even though it was not an essential part of Windows initially. That's illegal.

    If all over 90% of all cars were made by Ford and 100% of them came with a radio and CD player that you couldn't remove or the car wouldn't work, then the other radio/CD makers would complain.

    Love them or hate them Microsoft are special and have to be regulated to stop them from exploiting their abnormal position. How do you think you'd feel, if you carved out a little niche with a piece of new software, only to discover that Microsoft will include a "free" version installed by default in Windows 7.

  59. dracotrapnet
    Alert

    Dur

    Why not make an icon call it internet, and have it pop up a list of sponsored web browsers that you can download and install through the application. I say sponsored as in pay to get included on the listing, that way no one can gripe they weren't included in on something they didn't pay for.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @everyone bitching about FF/Opera

    For the love of fucking god, it's been explained a gazillion times already Microsoft are in a dominant market position (a monopoly), therefore different rules apply - how fucking hard is it to understand that?

    Apple can bundle Safari because they're not in a monopoly position.

    Ubuntu can bundle Firefox because they're not in a monopoly position.

    Konqueror - etc...

    It's not exactly complicated.

    Since IE is just a GUI for a load of core Windows display functionality, it's basically impossible to get rid of in its entirely - all that's needed is for OEMs to be able to distribute PCs with THEIR browser of choice installed and not IE (I believe you can "hide" IE in Win7 - although that won't stop 3rd party wrappers from using it of course).

    Why the hell is it that EVERY time a story comes out about MS abusing their position do we get exactly the same fucking horseshit about "Apple can do it...", "Ubuntu can do it...", blah blah blah - do a little research on WHY different rules apply to monopolies before spouting the same old tired crap AGAIN.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is so silly

    Everyone who's ever used any other browser knows IE inferior. Those who haven't probably don't care. The vast majority of people in the world use their PC to cruise the net, watch porn, send emails and do Facebook, Twitter and other mundane things. The browser and OS they use and how all of this works is not something they ever think about (which is why there are so many MS viruses and trogans). More sophisticated users will usually immediately install a Mozilla or Orpera browers. Some even deinstall IE altogether. But it is MS's browser and it's their OS, so they can bundle whatever they want. Why anyone cares is beyond comprehension.

  62. Hugh_Pym
    Thumb Up

    Please Mr/Mrs/Ms Register...

    Can we have a FAC (Frequently Articulated Comments (tm)) section that you can point to at the end of certain stories to prevent mobius strip comment trails like this one. You could even make it a wiki if you want... or maybe not. I could suggest a few to get it started.

    1. Microsoft is a judged to have a monopoly in certain parts of it's core business and therefore has to abide by more stringent rules. Including not using it's OS to damage competitors to other parts of it's business. Without these rules the consumer would loose out as the competition would be crushed and there would be no price/feature pressure on the monopolist. Microsoft have been found guilty of this behaviour over many years in almost all jurisdictions so people are watching them. Apple and other OS manufacturer are not monopolies and consequently can be anti-competitive if they wish. It would damage them if they did.

    2. Internet Explorer cannot be completely removed from Windows OS because the OS has functions that require internet communication. These functions are either so key to the Windows system/MS revenue stream that they cannot be trusted to other browsers or are so underhand that they cannot be made public. They check licences, call home, tell tales on you and allow MS to override your settings or force changes without asking.

    3. Microsoft did not invent the Internet. Microsoft didn't even know what the Internet was until the Web bit them on the Arse. Over many years as the premier force in the Computer Industry what they invented could be written on the head of a pin ... in crayon.

  63. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    @James Butler, @Adam Trickett

    The length of time I have been working with computers really is irrelevant. Suffice to say, long enough. What Microsoft used to do is also irrelevant at this stage and in the context I presented, and I believe that my statements may not have adequately expressed my thoughts on the matter.

    It is a matter of communication. A modern operating system needs a browser, just as much as a computer in the 80s needed a terminal program, one of which was often bundled with new modems. In the 90s, when I needed to get on the Internet, I had to use a terminal to use IRC, ftp, or Lynx via a local BBS. Some friendly IRC user sent me a free TCP/IP stack which allowed me to then contact the Internet directly. Getting back to my point, the only way I was able to get "online" in the first place was using a terminal program which I would have needed to somehow acquire separately, but was fortunately included on floppy with the full system I purchased.

    I suppose the same arguments could have been made when Windows included TCP/IP and DUN functionality, thereby trumping Trumpet.

    But to further return to my point, novice users are not on the whole going to buy a computer and then select a browser CD to install. They want that stuff to be already there. Power users, on the other hand, will happily use IE to download Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Galeon, Nutscrape, AOL, or whatever floats their boat. Microsoft may not have allowed alternative browsers to be installed on previous operating systems -- though I recall Nutscrape being used on Windows 3.11 machines, and AOL being bundled in later Windows releases -- and may have prevented OEMs from bundling a preferred browser, but they were tromped for it and Windows still allows freedom for browser selection.

    Of course, with the caveat that a default browser change for one user affects all users on the machine. I believe a registry hack overcomes this, but it does prevent one user from preferring IE and another from preferring Safari on the same machine. That is bad mojo. The fact that the Windows 7 /RELEASE CANDIDATE/ upgrade defaults the user to Internet Explorer regardless of the user's preference is also bad mojo, and should be fixed before the final release.

    Which is apparently the case: "Microsoft indicated that this only applied to the recommended method of installing the test version of Windows 7, and was unrelated to the experience most users would have when the new operating system is officially released." (Although I do not know what Microsoft means by "most users," and hold that statement suspect.)

    I do not know the legal aspects of being a convicted monopolist. In no way defending Microsoft, I have a difficult time wrapping my head around how being a convicted monopolist means Microsoft should be held to a different standard. Instead, the conviction should set the standard to which all companies are held. If being a convicted monopolist means that your company and/or product is shred to bits to allow weaker products to survive, then I truly think we need to take another look at how our system works. Good ideas should and will survive on their own merits, not under the guise of being "fair."

    I myself took a whack at Microsoft several years back while working for an ISP for the way Microsoft guided users into MSN with Windows' Internet Connection Wizard. The wording for the ICW lead users to believe that they would be able to choose their ISP when, in fact, they were being herded into MSN. Worse yet, if the MSN icon was still on the desktop, the ICW did nothing more than launch the MSN setup application. That behavior has since been changed.

    Now to summarize that: building mechanisms to prevent Windows from running browsers other than Internet Exploder is bad, not bundling alternative browsers while not preventing them from installing and running is good. The difference, I believe, falls directly into the argument of "equal opportunity" versus "equal outcome." In particular, preventing installation and operation of an alternative browser inflicts a loss of opportunity, whereas being required to bundle alternative browsers is the forced attrition of an equal outcome. And, as Richard stated, the average user will opt for the path of least resistance, anyway.

    Speaking of bad analogies, comparing the necessity of a browser for communications comes no where near a high-powered audio or word processing suite. Neither of the later are requirements, and even so, the later of which is addressed by the simple editor WordPad. I have actually seen people using WordPad as their processor of choice: no Word, no WordPerfect, no Works, just plain WordPad. Equally as irrelevant is my hypothetical reaction to having a "free" version of a my product, which I would be developing for "free" in this case, bundled with an operating system. As is the comparison of browsers to the file system compression snafu of DOS 6.2.

    I must also echo Mage's lament in regards to poor third-party applications which forcefully launch Internet Explorer when another browser is present and set as default. I deal with several of these personally and professionally. In most cases it is a minor annoyance, but an issue none the less.

    Paris, because she still is not going to bundle your ex's vagoo when you start dating her.

  64. James Butler
    Thumb Down

    @Alan W. Rateliff, II

    You don't know what you're talking about. Scraping stuff off the web without any actual knowledge of the events and their history is obvious. Your historical timeline is incorrect and the way you present your bits of scrapings do not connect like you think they do.

    'If being a convicted monopolist means that your company and/or product is shred to bits to allow weaker products to survive, then I truly think we need to take another look at how our system works. Good ideas should and will survive on their own merits, not under the guise of being "fair."'

    And this is the point, except for the reverse of how you perceive it to be.

    Microsoft jammed their web browser down Windows users throats by tying it so tightly to their operating system (a separate product at the time) that it could not be removed without crippling the operating system. This goes beyond 'bundling'. Their (appropriated) product was crap, yet they actively programmed their operating system to discriminate against other browsers, which were usually superior products that users had chosen to install independent of the operating system installation.

    It's not a "good idea" that rose to the top, rather it was a *bad* product that was used to destroy competition by creating the misimpression that their competitor's products performed less-well than their own product.

    This is not an academic issue to be mused about by the uninformed ... thousands of people's livelihoods have been destroyed by this illegal behavior.

    That Microsoft would CONTINUE to tie its operating system to its own brand of web browser, and to CONTINUE to include language in its vendor contracts forbidding them the opportunity to remove that sub-standard browser and give their customers an alternate product themselves goes way beyond "fair" into "unfair" behavior.

    The legal world likes to call this "anti-competitive behavior", and it is specifically this for which Microsoft has been penalized by the EU.

    You should have been scraping the web for information on this history in order to become better informed, rather than trying to continue your failed attempt to fool us into viewing you as one with actual experience in these issues.

  65. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    @James Butler: what makes you think I scraped?

    "You don't know what you're talking about. Scraping stuff off the web without any actual knowledge of the events and their history is obvious. Your historical timeline is incorrect and the way you present your bits of scrapings do not connect like you think they do."

    I lived and worked during it all, so take it how you will. But rather than make false accusations and personal attacks, maybe I could enlist you to help enlighten any incorrect assertions.

    "This is not an academic issue to be mused about by the uninformed ... thousands of people's livelihoods have been destroyed by this illegal behavior."

    It is actually a very good issue to muse over, and irrespective of your assumptions, I have fairly good recollection of the process and proceedings, and followed the case closely as it unfolded. I find it very easy to present an objectified opinion and analysis as I was not intimately involved in the case, though my industry was affected. I am aware of many of the facts of the case presented against Microsoft. Including the integration of the browser with the operating system. (In fact, I removed a good bit of that information from my post, preferring instead to whittle it down.) That not withstanding, I get the impression that people are holding a grudge and very quick to judge and react to Microsoft.

    Really, I do not see where our perspectives differ much. I do not have to agree that Microsoft has been punished for anti-competitive business practices -- that is a matter of fact and record, and I even stated such in my comment. But again, what was perpetrated in the past is not relevant unless Microsoft continues to perpetrate, as you get into with the next bit.

    "That Microsoft would CONTINUE to tie its operating system to its own brand of web browser, and to CONTINUE to include language in its vendor contracts forbidding them the opportunity to remove that sub-standard browser and give their customers an alternate product themselves goes way beyond "fair" into "unfair" behavior.

    The legal world likes to call this "anti-competitive behavior", and it is specifically this for which Microsoft has been penalized by the EU."

    This is where we differ. I do not see where any government has the authority to force Microsoft to allow vendors to remove Internet Explorer. A vendor should be allowed to include any other product of its choice with a system built upon Windows in its entirety, however. For instance, if HP wants to include Opera with its systems, then it should be allowed to do so, as prohibition of this would be an over-stretching of Microsoft's authority over its own product.

    If Microsoft suddenly decided that vendors cannot include Symantec or McAfee in favor of its own OneCare product, that would be equally as bad and, again, over-steps its authority. At the same time, I take issues with the idea that Microsoft may be scrutinized more closely for the same activities which other companies may sneak in under the radar, simply based upon Microsoft's conviction.

    "You should have been scraping the web for information on this history in order to become better informed, rather than trying to continue your failed attempt to fool us into viewing you as one with actual experience in these issues."

    And forceful statements and personal attacks like yours do no good to bolster your credibility, either. I dare not present myself as an expert of anything more than what I see and experience, and of my own opinions and perceptions. As well, I certainly will not apologize for your perception of my statements, and I stand firmly by them. If there is anything missing from my repertoire, I would appreciate that you show me where I might more fully equip myself for future discussions, rather than showing me your twat.

    Paris... just fricken because.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All you lot

    Christ I'm getting a headache,

    Who care what flavour you get your porn/virus's trojans in so long as you get them right.

    Who pays for a browser?

    All I care about is whatever browser I use, then after 3 weeks do I have enough virus/trojan shite or porn on my system to warrant a reinatall of OS.

    This way I've tested virtually every MS/Linux/Mac system on the market. And for constant reinstall's I can tell you Linux sucks. M$ isn't much better because you virtually have to reinstall it straight away, which is no fun if you cant get to Abbdullah and his mighty anal plug first.

    Every browser is crud.

    The worst being ie8 with inprivate browsing, because now I have to switch back to unprivate browsing to get my trojans., and it doesn't matter if i uninstall av either.

  67. truetalk
    Linux

    It's all about the bigger picture. Think about it.

    Thanks Pheet, some sense amongst all the comments from the MS evangelists. Why is it that the MS crowd don't want to see the big picture. For MS it's all about item 3 in the list below. Make a browser that's got some non standard/non open feature. Get some high profile websites to use this broken feature. Hey Presto, it only works with IE and guess what MS only produce IE for windows. Result Sale of more windows operating systems because it only works with ... ITV.COM etc.... It's called tie-in. Wake up MS fan boys can you not see why this stifles competion !

    Every time this story is covered there's always the same BS comments from the ms fanbois.

    If anybody bothered to read Opera's original complaint for example, they'd know that it's

    1) IE is bundled

    2) IE con't be uninstalled

    3) IE is NOT standards compliant

    4) MS has a monoply position (which Apple & the various Linux distros don't)

    _combined_ that is the problem. Point 3, which leads to all those broken "IE only" web site/apps (as mentioned in an albeit backward way by Adrian Challinor) is actually one of the biggest - even when the user installs another browser, they *still* have to use IE for some sites (often MS's own).

    Also, anybody who thinks one needs a browser to download & install another browser shouldn't be even *reading* the reg, let alone make comments.

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