back to article Opera slams Microsoft's Windows 7 E move - again

Microsoft is continuing to insist it has gone to great lengths in recent months to appease European antitrust watchdogs by saying it will “respect the user choice of the default browser” in Windows. However, rival browser maker Opera, which brought the original complaint about Microsoft tying its browser to its operating …


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  1. Bilgepipe


    And their strenuous efforts to give all us users so much choice don't address the issue of providing an alternative browser. If I want Firefox then wouldn't I have to install IE first, then go and download my real choice?

    The US government should have split Micro$haft up when they had the chance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Am I the only one....

    ..sick of Opera whinging?

    They complained it was bundled, so they unbundle, but nope, still not good enough.

    i really hope MS are forced to bundle rival browsers and they choose FF and Safari !

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don'get it...

    I REALLY don't. How could these people (the EU, Opera et al) expect company A to include competitors software ? What's next ? Are they going to insist car manufacturers to include car radios from every possible brand with their vehicles ? 18 sets of tires ? Maybe a few cans of paint in every color from every supplier ?

    For Pete's sake, what did we do to deserve this madness ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opera should just shut up

    Why are Opera even allowed to get away with this. Imagine what Windows would be like if every vendor of an alternative product whined in the same way, vendors for alternative mail, calculator, even solitaire. Can you imagine what a mess it would be if Windows had to make the same prompt for everything you ever ran on it?

  5. TeeCee Gold badge

    That question.

    "All of which prompts us to ask the question: why didn't Microsoft have that option in place before now?"

    Er, they did. If you set your default browser to summat else and then fire up IE, it comes up with a dialogue saying that it's not the default and would you like to make it so? IIRC it even has an "I know what I'm doing, don't ask me this bloody stupid question again" option therein and you can also control this behaviour through Internet Options (check whether default on start).

    As far as I can see, the only change is that it now asks "up front" on install as well rather than assuming "yes" (not unreasonably* IMHO, as you've gone to the trouble of installing it) and leaving you having to go off and thump FF or whatever in its "make me the default" option.

    Just out of interest, does anyone know if Opera does this? I haven't installed it from scratch in a while now and I wonder if there's a bit of pot and kettle going on here.

    *However annoying to some.

  6. Steve Beesley

    IE8 can set itself as default browser

    "IE will never install, or become the default browser without your explicit consent. However, we heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit. This change is part of our ongoing commitment to user choice and control.”

    So why then, when I installed IE8 through windows automatic updates last night, did Firefox then complain it was no longer the default browser?!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Who the fuck uses Opera!!!???

  8. Paul R

    How do I tell the EU to...

    just bugger off? My default browser is now FF3.5, and I'm happy with that. I'm also a regular IE8 user for many reasons. However I don't think that any company should be forced to include any competitors product, where does it stop? You have IE, and FireFox, and Opera, and Safari, and Chrome, and a whole host of other little ones too. Should they all be included? If not, by what criteria do you say no?

    By what right are Opera complaining anyway? So they're loosing out on some downloads of something that they give away for free. If your whole business is based on something you just give away, then you have a flawed business model. If you want to compete, have a better product (I've tried Opera, and never liked it), and let people know that you do. Make people WANT to change to you.

    So, as a European citizen, how do I tell the EU to just bugger off?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Beesley

    They were probably talking about Windows 7, which I presume you weren't running as the RC comes with it installed already.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Why don't Apple get the same treatment

    Where are the EU directives for Apple to offer other browsers.

    And anyone not pc literate enough to find/download another browser won't care that IE is the default browser, as long as they can view their pretty pictures their happy.

  11. Jon Freestone

    logical conclusion

    So windows musnt come with any browsers installed because thats not fair! (throw toys out of pram)

    So if you follow this through windows shouldnt come with any software were an alternative is available as above thats calculator, remote desktop, solitare, remote desktop, file browser, the list goes on.

    In fact windows shouldnt even come with windows as thats no fair on other operating systems.

    instead inserting a Windows DVD into your machine should just format your harddrive, it should then be us to the end user to download and install every seperate part of windows. although how you do this without a borswer, os, or even networking im not sure.

    Seriously Opera should get lost.

    Apple bundle apps

    Linus bundles apps

    And BMW bundle engines and gear boxes FFS!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Beesley

    > So why then, when I installed IE8 through windows automatic updates

    > last night, did Firefox then complain it was no longer the default browser?!

    Why? Because when you installed IE8, you explicitly selected an install option that included making it the default browser.

    What? You didn't actually read the page before you clicked "Install"? How is that Microsoft's fault?

  13. Bassey

    Re: Bilgepipe

    > If I want Firefox then wouldn't I have to install IE first

    No. Most magazines come with a DVD filled with umpteen different browsers. Also, how many people only have access to one PC nowadays? It's a very simple matter to download (as an example) the setup.exe for firefox from another PC in the house or a friends computer, stick it on a USB key and then run it after installing Windows 7.

    Although I think the whole thing is ridiculous. No one is making Apple remove Safari from OSX. If a user REALLY wants a different browser on the PC before they buy it there are any number of PC builders who, I'm sure, would be only too happy to stick Opera/Firefox or whatever on there to get a sale.

    For people who know nothing about PC's, Microsoft bundles a browser. For those of us who know what we're doing, the choice is there. I really don't get where the problem is?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Other browsers are available

    Maybe Windows or IE should display a message "Other browsers are available" every time you attempt to connect to the internet? Or the EU could force IE to be even shittier so everyone would be forced to download another browser? Maybe this has already happened?

    This is just picking on Microsoft, as other people have said. Apple force everyone with an iPod or iPhone to install iTunes, and go to a lot of trouble to stop other software working with their hardware, and yet the EU doesn't seem to see anything wrong with that, despite Apple's dominant position in the MP3 player market. Perhaps they could force Apple to sell their iPods without the crappy default headphones too.

  15. Glen 9


    I was tempted to download and use Opera but know that I know they are a bunch of winging cry babies I won't bother.

    MS should just ditch IE and should bundle Firefox with Windows. Then everyone's shut up and happy except Opera (but since they are winging cry babies that's a good thing in my opinion).

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Package management

    So the question is how do you get a browser installed on your system if you do not already have one.

    The answer: some kind of Package management system.

    A lot of OS's have had package management system's for a long time.

    Why not one in windows? MS do have more $ and experience then any other provider.

    Or like many other OS, provide a choice of browsers, maybe IE, Opera and Firefox?

    Skull and cross bones, because Microsoft are the Pirates

  17. ThomH

    @Paul R

    Not sure what you think the effect of telling the EU to bugger off would be; the article is about a recent interview given by Opera and subsequently gives some perspective on recent EU activity — they've done nothing new. Opera complained to the EU, the EU began their investigation, Microsoft instantly cried "we're dropping the browser! The EU made us do it!" and the EU have subsequently pointed out that they did nothing of the sort and don't consider the dropping of IE to be a good move. Microsoft are gurning towards those that read every story through the filter of anti-EU bias, no more.

    Of course, this has all worked out exceedingly well for most European consumers. OEMs are free to install any browser they chose, including Internet Explorer, so people that buy computers off the shelf aren't affected. Meanwhile, the full retail copies of Windows 7 E cost the same as the upgrade copies of Windows 7 everywhere outside the EU, so at least some of people that buy the OS separately get a substantial discount.

    The only disadvantaged people are those that buy upgrade copies of the OS and don't know how to install a web browser on their own. Which isn't a great number.

  18. Donald Matheson

    @Steve Beesley

    Backing up AC's comments above. During the IE8 install you get an option to accept defaults (or something like that) or customize. If you selected the default option (as you clearly did) IE8 will be made the default browser, if you'd selected customize you would have been presented with a yes/no option to make IE8 default or leave well alone (amongst other options). I never, ever trust an installer to know what I want to install with these default settings as you don't know what extra software they sneak in.

    MS should have made it clearer that IE8 will be made your default browser if you selected the option you did - and I'm guessing that's what they'll be doing, or perhaps even just having the option prior to that step.

  19. Rock Lobster


    For me personally, Opera is really the best browser, and I love using it. However, I think it's sad how ridiculous the company behaves, it's really a shame.

    And I love Microsoft's decision to simply include no browser at all, that's what I'd have done as well.

  20. OffBeatMammal

    is this how your taxes are being spent?!

    gotta love the EU. they decide this is more important than education and the homeless and go off on a crusade... and all of Europe are paying for it (which is why they have to levy a fine somehow to cover themselves)

    Big deal if Windows comes bundles with a browser. If you've heard of Opera and want it then use IE to get it. Oh, but Opera made a fuss so now that's hard and so they're going to have to get magazines to include them on DVDs or get DVDs into stores so people can pick up a copy and that'll cost them money which isn't fair (no matter the pain and moeny they've cost Microsoft)

    Somehow I manage to have IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari on my machine and it wasn't that hard. IE8 is actually back to being my default now though I sometimes use Chrome. Opera... I don't bother with that after a couple of experiences

  21. Chris Miller

    It's worse than that, Jim

    Win7E will not include any browser and (unlike the US version) will not support in place upgrades from Vista. I assume this is because Microsoft don't want to risk complaints that they're piggy-backing on existing configs with IE as the default.

    According to the M$ web site: "Windows 7 E does not come with a browser in the UK and also requires a clean install ... You will need to back up all your files before starting and you will need to have a browser such as Internet Explorer 8 or a browser from another software manufacturer saved to a CD/DVD or external storage device before starting."

    Now, this doesn't affect me as I always recommend a clean install (for reasonably savvy users), but there are a lot of folks for whom that's going to prove a little challenging. Thanks a lot, EU.

  22. Maestro
    Paris Hilton

    I sincerely hope...

    Opera is put out of business from all this. I mean their whole argument is frankly ridiculous - okay MS isn't a loved company, okay IE isn't a great browser, but all this is doing is causing more hassle for the average Joe user, who might not be technically savvy enough to go through the whole process. Just because Opera aren't getting enough users.

    Maybe they should try investing in making their browser worth using and switching to, rather than trying to get another company to market their software for them.

    Paris, because we all know she'd never manage to handle all that.

  23. James Dunmore

    It's not the bundeling

    It's the ability (or lack of) to remove it, 100%.

    On ubuntu, I can rip out firefox in a few clicks (although saying that, I probably couldn't remove web capabilities out of gnome's nautilus - but I could remove Gnome and chose a different desktop)

    However, a browser is so integral to a PC now days, I think it is a bit silly to complain.

    I guarantee though, we'll soon forget about this one... the next will be google complaining that bing is the default search engine.

  24. thomas k.
    Thumb Up

    MS *should* offer a bunch of alternatives ...

    Considering the veritable cornucopia of (free) web browsers available for Windows, MS can easily come up with a list of alternative browsers that Windows7 will gladly offer to install - so many alternatives, in fact, that Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera need not be included on the list.. ;)

  25. Just2Say

    What the F***

    This is not choice, why cant I buy Win7 with IE or Win7 without. Just because I live in a group of islands off the coast of europe I can only buy the later. What about those elsewhere - can they only by Win7 with IE. Can I order my copy from the US of A?

  26. Mark Rendle

    Fail and Hakon Wium Lie

    Opera has not failed because of Microsoft "bundling" IE; it's failed because its competitors are:

    1. the world's biggest software company;

    2. the world's biggest shiny-computer company;

    3. the world's biggest open source project;

    and 4. the world's biggest web company.

    Sometimes, it's best to just find a new market to compete in, although under the leadership of their current CTO, I'm not sure there is a market in a bad enough state for Opera to break into. Possibly UK government health IT contracts.

  27. Jason 50
    Thumb Down


    Tell Opera to shut the fuck up and accept the fact they have one of the lowest market shares. They haven't done anything innovative in YEARS and their recent "fastest javascript engine" is still slower than Chrome's V8 engine. It is time for them to just get out of the browser business and attempt to enter a field where they may have a fighting chance to make some money.

    That is all.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't IEs market share fallen against Firefox in the last few years?

    Surely if competition was being affected we'd have seen the reverse of that trend?

    Smacks of aload of rather tedious self-promoting bull if you ask me.

    (Picking up my coat as I leave the Opera - Firefox here I come)

  29. The First Dave
    Dead Vulture


    I hate to say it, but the EU is right:

    "... Microsoft has now tweaked the IE 8 first run process to prompt users, who are using a different browser ..."

    Any user who is already using a different browser at that point in time, doesn't need much info. It is the ones who don't have it already who need to be asked which browser they would prefer, and given a mechanism to load it, which of course is somewhat tricky without a functioning browser.

    A tick-box extra is not a significant change, particularly since IE is well known for 'forgetting' that setting.

  30. Michael C
    Gates Horns

    missing the points

    If MS doesn't include IE, you can't download other browsers. If they do include IE, they're not including an alternate, and even if I install an alternate, all I can do is switch off IE, I can't REMOVE it.

    I don't want them to not include IE, I want them to INCLUDE and UNINSTALLER!

    Once I've put in the app of my choice, I want there's GONE.

    For other apps, it;s easy enough simply not to bundle, since as long as i have a browser, it's real easy to go get the medai player, or office package of my choice, but if they drop the browser, I can't easily get another one (unless I happen to know an FTP site off the top of my head, since I'd be incapble of looking on up on that machine),

    If Microsoft is allowing it to be in a "not installed" state, why would that be technologically different from UNinstalling it? If 7 can operate with IE "not installed" why can't i make it a "not installed" stae LATER? That is what M$ is failing to convince the EU of, and why this is a major issue.

    They knew this was an issue several years ago, and yet even given the opportuniuty to change the code base, correct the lack of an uninstaller and modify the GUI to have it;s own independent, not tied to IE rendering engine, but they did not act, and somehow it's our fault?

    Next thing you know, they'll comply, but then they'll update their website to only work with a newer version of Silverlight that only IE 9 supports, and force everyone to upgrade to it to make Windows Update work at all, or to use any microsoft services...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: well...

    "MS should just ditch IE and should bundle Firefox with Windows. Then everyone's shut up and happy except Opera (but since they are winging cry babies that's a good thing in my opinion)."

    I didn't particularly like Firefox last time I used it, so I wouldn't be too happy.

    But I like the idea of it. It would be fun to see the reaction to the EU picking on a non-profit foundation.

    It would also be fun to see Mozilla's reaction if Microsoft actually did it, considering they're currently siding with Opera. Would they complain about competition in the browser market then?

  32. Mectron


    Opera need to be boycotted wordwide until it goes down, Theyhave clearly no businness model of any kind

  33. Matt B

    STFU Opera

    1) Why should MS remove their own software from their OS AND THEN provide ways to download competing browsers?

    2) Who the fcuk uses Opera? NO REALLY? I'm sure Chrome has more users than that pile of sh1t and not many people (compared to FF / IE) use that browser.

    3) Will Opera give lusers download links to FF / IE / Chrome et al to provide fair competition?

    No, no they won't. STFU Opera you WORTHLESS FKERS. When you make a decent product, then feel free to whine about something, but until then, return to your shitty hole and CURL UP AND DIE.

    Why can't the stupid EU open their eyes and see that this whole situation is FUCKING RETARDED AND TELL OPERA TO keep developing their "internet changing browser" or whatever the tw4ts said (I don't care don't correct me.)

    GOD THIS WHOLE SITUATION PI$$ES ME OFF MAKES ME HATE (LIVING IN) THE EU MORE THAN I ALREADY DO. IS THIS REALLY GOING TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO INSTALL THEIR SH1TTY BROWSER? NO. Everyone is going to stick with something they are familiar with. EG IE or FF not fking opera, which really is a terrible browser.

    STFU Opera and kthxbi

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox 3.5 makes itself default without getting permission

    "All of which prompts us to ask the question: why didn't Microsoft have that option in place before now?"

    I installed upgraded Firefox from 3.0.11 to 3.5.1 this morning on an old machine that had IE as the default browser. After the upgrade, Firefox was the default - I wasn't prompted to permit the change of behaviour.

    As others have pointed out, IE does prompt.

  35. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Down

    Skirting the real problem

    The issue ISN'T whether Windows comes with IE or not, but whether NOT using it restricts or impairs your access to parts of the OS, update websites, or other applications (like Outlook Web Access for example)...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    This is tabloid trash

    The Register and other sites keep spinning these sound bytes so hard that they're almost lies.

    Today's Register story revolves around an email to some other site. Was this unsolicited? Did Haakon just wake up this morning and fire off a random email, or was he reponding to questions put to him by Computer World?

    You portray Opera as ranting about this whereas it seems that a lot of what's being reported is just the replied being given to the IT press pestering them about the EU situation. And when was the last time one of these articles felt like mentioning the support and help the EU investigation has also got from Mozilla, Google and others? Why is the focus on Opera, with a negative spin?

    These are basic tabloid tricks to fill a quiet news week.

    Ring ring...


    "Is that Noel Gallagher?"

    "Yes, who's this?"

    "It's The Sun. What do you think of Alan Sugar?"


    "You know, Alan Sugar - The Amstrad bloke off The Apprentice?"

    "Oh, him. The bloke with the big Roller? Dunno, I've never watched his show or bought an Em@iler."


    "Hello? Are you still there?"

    Tomorrow's Sun: World Exclusive - Oasis star SLAMS 'capitalist pig' Alan Sugar and boycots products and programmes!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 "E" Move?

    Bundling hard drugs with Windows is indeed controversial.

  38. raving angry loony
    Gates Horns

    pin the shills up against the wall.

    To those who don't "get it": check out what "anti trust" really means. Check out what "abusing a monopoly position" means. If the US hadn't been such lazy, incompetent shits Microsoft wouldn't be able to continue their tricks today. Instead, it's now up to the EU to stop that giant from doing to others what it did to Netscape - abusing it's monopoly position and killing off competition.

    If that means that Microsoft be forced to offer an "auto-install" option for the user's choice of browser, then so be it. Frankly, I don't think it'll be enough, but it's a start.

    I'm sick and tired of the Microsoft shills trying to redefine the term "criminal behaviour" to mean something less than harmful. Trying to let a company that everyone KNOWS acts illegally when it suits it to keep on getting away with that behaviour.

    Microsoft started it's life with a lie by selling a product that they didn't own yet. They went from strength to strength doing just about every illegal trick in the book until they became dominant, then continued their illegal tricks right to the present day. The only people who are big enough to put this giant cockroach down are large governments. Thank the gods the EU is up to the task of taking this behemoth on since the US government basically just gave up on its duty to protect the public.

    Go Opera. Keep on fighting, because SOMEONE needs to stop this pit of corrupt pestilence from continuing to crush innovation and continuing to train people that sub-standard products are somehow "OK".

  39. Turnip Boy

    opera who cares

    it's opera who cares, MS should just buy them and set fire to there offices and staff surely opera can't be worth more than what 70 quid after VAT.

  40. Aaron Guilmette

    Let this die, already

    I agree with a lot of the coments about why we shouldn't force a vendor to include a competitor's product.

    I think Microsoft should offer a version of WIndows that comes with no installed browser and a bucket of DVDs so the user can authoritatively pick which browser they want. No tricky checkboxes--you want Opera, get the DVD out and install it yourself.

    While I enjoy Opera as a mobile browser on my Windows smartphone, I'm sick of their complaining. Almost makes one want to move away just out of spite.

  41. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Depressing fucktards pwn the comments

    Dear Moderatix - couldn't you pump them full of electroshocks as they spew their soft cock bile?

    It's about choice. If a browser was just a browser then there wouldn't be anything to discuss. But Microsoft has tried to use the browser to maintain a proprietary hold on information exchange. IE 8 complies with only some of the standards of the body of which Microsoft is a memeber. CSS 3 anyone? How about SVG? HTML 5? Oh, the internet is okay as long as it's the Microsoft internet.

    To the poor fuckwits pouring scorn on Opera on this page - you are probably only too ready to complain when petrol/booze/blow becomes more expensive and you have no *choice* but to buy from your single supplier.

    To the deluded idiots haranguing the "EU" - what total cocks you are. The EU is a political federation. You might do better aiming your spleen at the European Commission or better still at the relevant directorate. This is the very same Commission that has just fined Intel, E.ON and others for price fixing, has forced telephone networks to reduce at least somewhat their extortionate prices and perhaps most importantly pushed through the open skies policy on air travel. And all of this in opposition to national governments batting for their favoured "national champions".

    To the sad yanks out there who think this has anything to do with politics - demographics, demographics, demographics. The EU is a larger market than the US but if you think we're bad just wait till the Chinese get their act together.

  42. vivaelamor

    @raving angry loony

    I don't think Microsoft would bother shilling the likes of El-Reg but I agree that the level of vitriol directed at Opera is silly. Microsoft didn't just bundle and integrate IE with the operating system but went out of their way both technically and using their market power to stop anyone else doing the same.

    Imagine if Microsoft Office was bundled with Windows. If they did the same with Office they would then integrate it with the operating system in such a way that you could not actually replace Office with a competing product offering the same functionality. Technically this could be done by denying access to APIs or by designing the system in such a way that you couldn't remove Office to let anything else replace it. Using their market power they could strong-arm OEMS or restrict the product licenses to stop them even putting an icon to a competing product on the desktop.

    Where would the Office suites be if Microsoft had done the same as they had with Internet Explorer? I would suppose that the quality of their own products would suffer from lack of competition (as we saw with IE) and it wouldn't have been until Open Office that we would have had a competing office suite (as Firefox competed with IE).

    The big difference seems to be that they offer IE for free and that is a get out of jail free card but the fact is you still pay for IE with Windows which makes it even more open to abuse as they don't have to compete on price. They can just add the price to the operating system. No one is arguing that they shouldn't be able to offer IE for free but rather that given the fact that they abused this ability by stopping any competing products from being shipped with the OS, there should be some consequences to help repair the damage.

    To me the whole thing leads on to the question of whether Microsoft have done the same for operating systems (or are trying to). For a long time it was easy to argue that there was no competing product. Now Linux has some commercial backing wanting to put it on desktop machines, will we see or have we already seen the same anti competitive tactics in stopping OEMs from shipping an alternative operating system? We've already seen plenty of evidence of the technical measures they have taken after all (patented proprietary protocols anyone?).

  43. probedb

    Why don't Opera STFU?

    I'd love to know how Opera expect people to get Opera onto their shiny new Windows 7 PCs without a browser on there to download it?

    I just don't get it. OS X comes with a browser as far as I know, Ubuntu comes with FF preinstalled so what's the problem?

    If you have IE8 and don't want it you can just go download another browser.

  44. SilverWave

    Its supposed to hurt! - Its called punishment :)

    If found guilty of abusing its dominant market position then there are two parts to any judgement:

    1. Punishment - Fine the guilty party.

    2. Impose a solution on the guilty party to stop the abuse.

    1. 2B EURO's?

    2. Offer Choice of browsers.

    Oh and no MS don't get a choice - if found guilty - the court does not ask the guilty party to set its own penalty! They either do as they are told or face harsher penalties.

    ^The car manufacturers mentioned have not been found to be abusing any dominant market position yet so no they don't have to offer competitor products. (and there are lots of car makers not just one with a 95% share).

    ^^MS took IE out of MS WIN7 not the EU - blame the right people.

    The EU are looking for more choice not less.

    ^^^Its the bundling of products with the monopoly OS that is anticompetitive not offering the product.

    So ms's new anti virus product would be OK as a separate download but not as part of the os.

    ^^^^Some of the astroturfers are getting lazy - lots of the paid for comments above look to be cut and past - shame on you :)

  45. John Angelico

    @raving angry loony

    I'm with you 100% ! And don't sell yourself short - you are not loony.

    THE SHILLS ARE SO STRIDENT I can almost hear the caps lock keys being hit from down here in Orztray-a!

    Shills, stop defending the indefensible - MS has been convicted a number of times of criminal behaviour, and has forfeited rights to some privileged position as "computer industry leader".

    It certainly deserves special treatment - special HARSH treatment, sufficient to slow it down until serious competition or a major shift in the marketplace pulls it back into line (just as happened to the previously infamous IBM).

    Somewhere dowen the track, I expect we might be raving again in the same sort of terms over someone like say Google, and for exactly the same reasons: "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance" (for more on this see

  46. jon 77

    gawd guys, have you forgotten the basics???

    YES, you can download things *without* a browser!!

    learn your dos network commands, and use ftp, wget, gopher...

  47. Neil Gardner

    The Ultimate Setup Experience

    Thank for purchasing your brand new Dell Computer with 2GB RAM and a whppping 250GB hard drive.

    We have preinstalled Ubuntu, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, OpenOffice, Gnumeric, F-Spot, The Gimp, Banshee and many more free and opens-source apps on one partition, and on the other Microsoft Windows 7 with a choice of Internet Explorer 8, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Mircosoft Office 2007 or OpenOffice, The Gimp or Photoshop.

    If you opt for Microsoft Windows 7, please have your credit card ready . That's just £70 for the Starter Edition, £50 for your choice of Norton Antivirus, McAfee or Kaperksy. If you want Microsoft Office 2007 that's another £70 for the basic student edition or £200 for the professional edition. It's up to you!!

  48. jon 77

    as for opera...

    I am an opera fan, but their problems come from them ignoring the many requests of its users, removing good features, and keeping it 'secure' , rather that 'compatible'.... every time gmail, yahoomail, hotmail, etc change its (not W3C compatible) code, Firefox continues to work, but opera does not...

    People get tired of waiting for a fix, and go away... like they are going away from MS, to apple (that is why safari is now beating most to 3rd place...)

    If opera stops messing about with its 'pet projects' and swallows its pride, makes it 'work properly like FF does' (some sort of 'pact' with web devs like FF has?????) then it will see a big rise in use...

    and yes the company is now reduced to just 'groaning like a granny'... they know it is mainly powerless, desperate for attention.... :( :(

  49. Ben Tasker
    Paris Hilton

    Missing the point

    There's a lot of people complainign that without IE you can't download another browser. WRONG!

    As long as you are able to connect to the net, whether directly or via a LAN, you can download it. It would be trivial for MS to include a basic program that say's

    I see you are going on the net, you need to install a browser. Which of the following would you like




    Each would have information, then when the user selects something, the program could use the Windows version of WGet to retrieve the browser. Hell you could even write a reasonably simple function to collect the file to avoid relying on Wget.

    To make sure Firefox and Opera don't find that they have an old version retrieved, the program could first retrieve a simple XML file from their server (which if they really want this change, it's not the biggest thing to implement) which would simply state the path to the newest version.

    Downloaded, Installed. Done!

    All without the need for any Web Browser, simply something that can generate HTTP connections.

    So stop killing the true facts!

    As for whether it is right? I can see their point to an extent. There is a large Risk that MS could/would abuse their position, and almost certainly have in the past. This is about more than just Opera, there are others involved as well.

    It'll probably make very little difference to users anyway, those that know IE will just select IE. Those that have heard of Firefox may try it. Given the level of user this is aimed at, they'll probably be asking why MS is offering them music when they want a Web browser!

    Paris, because sometimes GET requests fail

  50. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    @raving angry loony

    Jamie Jones likes this post.

    Errrm, why can't we have a 'like this' / 'dislike this' thingie for posts?

  51. phil 69

    wasting time

    I've never been sure why Opera have put so much effort it to their "Take down Microsoft" stragety when really its a bit pointless. Yes Microsoft still have the "market" share but really they are dead in the water. Firefox has been making massive in roads in the past few years, I myself converting so many people, usually by them just using it once and instantly seeing that it is much better.

    Now Google have launched their browser (which is already proving more popular), whats their next move in this pointless mission? Complain that because Google's massive web presence that they are not allowed to self promote?

    If they were to spend more effort on the mobile phone platform they would get somewhere. As a Windows Mobile user the new version of Opera Mobile is, IMHO, the best phone browser out there. Sadly Opera Mobile and Mini are not widely used... because people use the preinstalled browser... watch out Nokia! lol

  52. Rasczak

    @ Those who still don't understand

    Try reading and possibly comprehending what is actually going on here before spouting on about something you obviously don't have a clue about.

    The issue is not about bundling as such, it is about a company with an effective monopoly including something that was so tightly integrated that it could not be removed without breaking the OS. What they included was so broken that it required kludges all over the place for anything to actually work with it. By including it, at a time when browsers were generally payware so people thought why pay extra when this comes with it "for free", they got the significant majority of users and so everyone had to include the kludges in their websites for anyone to actually use them.

    This caused problems for anyone who wrote an alternative that worked properly, in that their software wouldn't work with the kludges and so people would continue to use the broken software instead, blaming the working software for the problems.

    Opera brought this to the attention of the EU, the EU said we will look to see what we can do. MS pre-empted this by saying, OK we will no longer include the broken software. The EU, and Opera, quite rightly IMNSHO, have said this is no use, due to past actions the kludges are still needed and this breaks compatibility. The EU have said that they are still thinking about how this should really be fixed.

    To those saying that the same applies to things like the calculator obviously don't understand the issue. To be analogous, it would be like the calculator included always saying that 2+2=5, MS defining this as a new standard and everyone having to update their number tables to compensate for this was correct for anything to work. Then along comes another supplier with a calculator that says 2+2=4, but of course when ever anyone use this it messes up the totals so they blame the new calculator. Complaint is made and MS say we will remove the calculator by default, however all the number tables still have the compensation in place so nothing actually changes, you still need the MS calculator to get anything done.

    I did initially think that it was about the tight integration, however I have read the updates and taken time to actually understand, maybe some others should do the same. These will likely be the same people who are saying how terrible Opera is as an actual browser, they have obviously not taken the time or effort to actually use it, they have probably just installed it, run and, "Oh Noes, it doesn't look the same, and where do I add all the things I needs to make it functional and no I need to think and that's not right." then they uninstall and bad mouth it even though the problems were their's not Opera's.

    Here's a clue, a few clicks from the built in menus and you can have the skin looking much like IE or Firefox. Those add ons you are looking for, you know, to block ads and scripts, pretend to be another browser and the like, they are there anyway, settable on a per site basis, and in the main preferences, heck many of them are little more that a right click away.

    Icon for MS and those who seem to think that MS got it right.

  53. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Sick of hearing about this

    On one count, I really don't get why there is so much fuss about whether IE is bundled with Windows or not. I am by no means a fan of MS (I avoid using Windows at every chance I get), but it's THEIR OS (I use the term loosely). If MS choose to bundle IE with it then so what? They bundle LOTS of stuff with Windows - a calculator application, a text editor, a file browser, a command line (of sorts), etc etc. Nobody ever complains about these applications being bundled, and there are alternatives to all of them should you want them. Why should bundling a browser be such a big deal? What's so special about a browser?

    The other thing is that once the EU manages to force MS to NOT bundle IE then what? As has been pointed out in previous comments, it is unreasonable to expect MS to bundle someone else's application (Firefox, or (grief!) Opera, for example). So the alternative is what? Aunt Flo buys her new PC and finds she can't browse the web!?

    The thing is, Aunt Flo couldn't give too hoots what browser she uses. And people that DO care are (99% of the time) savvy enough to download and install Firefox or something, or they at least know someone who can install it for them.

    I wish Opera would just go out of business and shut up moaning.

  54. Cavillas


    What has it got to do with anyone else if a company wants to give away extra software with its OS? If it wasn't for MS windows os of these browser companies would never have come into existance. This is a free enterprise society so if these companies can't compete in the existing market then they should either pull out or develop their own OS and try competing that way.

    It's time these companies stopped complaining that another company offers a full package of OS and applications and do something about it by competing and not running to "big daddy".

  55. Rick Giles

    Oh FFS

    I'm not a fan of M$ (and I am currently converting all my personal PCs to Linux), but everyone seems to miss the original complaint. Back when all of this started, IE was integrated in to the OS making it difficult to remove it, if at all. Now that you can uninstall it this whole thing is moot beyond words. Install the browser of your choice and roll the f**k on to more important issues like fixing M$ security flaws instead of bitching about the default browser.

  56. lifelesspoet

    I wish people would stop hating on opera

    I've been using opera since 3.72. While I don't agree with some of the saber rattling, there are some legitimate concerns. Back in 2003, microsoft had 97 % of the market share and that included IE for mac. Netscape was a terrible unusable mess. Opera had twice the features and vast speed advantage. The problem was that it at the time was very strictly abiding by web standards and nothing on the internet would work because of IE optimization. Now IE 6 is the butt end of the internet, and it didn't deserve half of the market share it had.

    If it weren't for a couple of open source options like the khtml and mozilla proJects, the internet would be a steaming heap of crap right now.

    This is a complex problem. My solution would be mostly what microsoft has done. Make IE removalbe which it wasn't before(all it did was remove a shortcut on the desktop like we wouldn't notice). OEM's have a choice, whether is microsoft, firefox or whatever. End users don't get browsers in the upgrade, because they would already have a working copy of a browser. Full retail install copies get IE because its a clean install and as it has been stated the browser is part of an operating system that can't be removed as it would leave you without an alternative.

    I wouldn't complain at all if Internet Explorer wasn't such a horrible browser to begin with.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An example of law preventing progress

    This is getting old, and it's stopping the OS makers from doing what they should have done a long time ago; namely making exploring the local computer and the outside world one and the same. Microsoft showed great promise with IE4 and it's Explorer integration and its active content. This came to nothing because of anti trust that has probably done more harm than good to real competition.

    Imagine a world where Opera is also an alternative to Microsoft's shitty Windows Explorer or even providing Mac owners with a better Finder than Finder. Because of these anti trust rulings, they don't have to and Microsoft (and maybe Apple too) are restricted to a narrow definition of the relationship between the browser and the OS.

  58. George 24


    Why doesn't Opera get on Apple's case for bundling Safari with OSX, why don't they get on Ubuntu's case since Firefox is installed by default? Opera should make a browser that is better then IE, tehn people may use it.

  59. Rasczak

    @ George 24

    You are obviously one of the ones who don't get it. Do Apple or Ubuntu effectively have a monopoly on the desktop ? Are the browsers they include so tied into the OS that they cannot be completely removed ? Do these browsers force their own proprietary requirements to be used that lock out the use of other browsers ?

    Just to save you the thinking, not that I suspect you have been yet anyway, the answers are no, no and no.

    Replace Apple and Ubuntu in the questions with Microsoft and the answers are yes, yes and yes, those are the issues Opera initially complained about.

    While the first bit of your comment is obviously due to lack of understanding, your final sentence makes no sense at all. Let me fix it for you.

    Opera make a browser that is many times better than IE, many people use it, and many more could, or could use another standards compliant browser if they prefer a different one, if it wasn't for the anti-competitive behaviour of MS.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @George 24

    Do you know how many times that question has been asked and answered in these very comments and in those of every other Opera article The Register has published lately?

    I don't know a single person who uses Linux. I know one Mac user. I don't think the world has anything to fear from Macs or Ubuntu. I doubt whether any normal people would have a clue what Ubuntu was.

    And too many whining fanboys on this thread seem to have a somewhat inflated opinion of Opera, despite hating it. They seem to think that *Opera* are powerful enough to stop MS bundling IE. Whilst very flattering for Opera, this regard is very misplaced. Only economic power blocs like the EU can tell companies like MS what to do.

    And so far they have not. They haven't told MS to do a single thing. It's MS who are throwing their toys out of the pram by saying they're going to take IE out of Windows 7 before even discussing the matter with the EU, let alone coming to an agreement. Opera have nothing to do with the EU, they just reported them, as was their right.

    This comments page is like a load of BNP supporters rounding on a tourist who's reported someone to the police, conveniently ignoring all the other witnesses who have testified against the criminal because they're white anglo-saxon males, and having no interest in the police investigation or wanting to think about them only bringing a prosecution if they feel the criminal really is worth prosecuting.

    Would these same people also spit across a courtroom at a woman who alleged she was raped by a member of their family as the jury found him guilty, whilst still showing all due respects to the judge who sentenced him?

  61. jon 77

    Cavillas: the real reason...

    If you have followed what happened after IE6, you will see that it is MS own fault that all these other browsers were enabled to start 'taking over'....

    IF MS had not 'just relaxed and did nothing' about new browser features and ability(a good few years gap without any new IE!!), and instead actually started helping users with things like a comprehensive help forum, so users can tell them what features they want, bringing out a new browser every few months, then by now we would have a really good IE....

    But peeps got sick of hopeless patches, virus attacks, and the awful slow mess... so that is basically what FF & opera did...

    so thank MS for being overconfident and stupid, and so allowing FF to succeed!!!

  62. jon 77


    Opera the company seems to not want to 'disturb the neighbors' ... a bit like Flanders to Homer simpson... " oh, you just broken my lawnmower.. thats ok neighbor, I'll just buy a new one.... :):) "

    FF stole Op's 'speeddial' and even improved on it... Opera still said it would not add plugins like FF... so more peeps went to FF...

    Opera then removed a lot of old features, that old users loved... so more of them went to FF...

    A lot of users have tried to get Opera to publicise more, but they seem to be stuck in the web when FF was going all out in printed media....

    Opera IS better than IE, but their refusal to make it look & feel like IE (but work a lot safer, faster, better, easier !) has meant that it still frightens off users due to the strange interface...

    This CAN be totally customized - graphical look, all menus, buttons, lots more.. and includes adblock, scriptblock, flashblock, etc, etc....

    If they keep ignoring what is needed, they will just lose more.....

  63. Captain Thyratron

    This is getting ridiculous.

    To ship a desktop OS without a web browser is a stupid thing to do, and it's Microsoft's prerogative to bundle what the hell they like with Windows as long as it isn't outright abusive. I don't like Microsoft any more than the next guy,'s their product, and they can design it in any way that isn't forbidden by law. Sure, Microsoft has repeatedly been convicted of monopolistic practices, but this isn't one of them. There comes a point when the effort to regulate businesses and to force them to be nice gets in the way of their producing a good product, and to force ordinary end-users to install a web browser on their own, or a software company to include software from their competitors, goes well past that point.

    This whole thing is pointless anyway. Anybody who gives a rat's ass can install a different web browser, and the only thing that might stop them is a poorly designed corporate system that demands the idiosyncrasies of IE 6--and blame for that lies with some PHB in that company, not Microsoft.

    Also: Opera, please stop vomiting CPU-sucking zombie plugin wrapper processes onto Linux systems. Using you anywhere outside Windows is torturous (try it on Solaris for a real treat--do the Opera developers even test this shit?). Die in a housefire.

  64. Annihilator
    Thumb Up


    Although I think it's a silly argument, it has meant I can get a full copy of Windows 7 for the price of an upgrade. Just minus IE (no biggy). Bargain!

    I therefore raise a glass to the whingers at Opera and the finger wavers in the EU, and you should all do the same

  65. Nick Pettefar

    Good Grief!

    Have none of you any clue as to why this all started? Nobody actually goes out and buys Windows (well, there are always the few odd exceptions!) and when you buy a PC Microsoft has forced the manufacturers to install Windows on it so that people now think that a PC is a Windows machine. This is a MONOPOLY. The weak and useless US government has virtually turned a blind eye to this criminal act. Now they not only want to be the only provider of operating systems but also office software, browser and anything else they think they can get away with. And you sheep went along with this, happily brown-nosing the bastards, just as you are doing now.

    Most people haven't a clue and will use whatever is in front of them. They cannot install or download software, it is too scary and or difficult for them and they do not have the knowledge and experience to make a reasonable decision about this or anything else PC-wise. Microsoft have exploited this and so this needs to be addressed. Unfortunately not by the US but by the stronger-willed EU.

    Microsoft has to offer a choice of installed web browsers or a mechanism to install different web browsers for there to be any semblance of fair choice.

    If Microsoft made PCs then they would be very welcome to install Windows on it but they don't. Apple do not force other companies to install their operating system on their machines, quite the opposite!

  66. David Goadby

    Yeh right - No IE - no problem?

    Try and use a number of Microsoft's own websites and you will be denied access unless you are using a Microsoft browser.

    Surely, the EU should only left U$oft off the hook until the whole company is browser neutral? Since browsers ought to be W3C compliant then this should never be an issue. I

    If U$oft think their browser is the best one then let them offer a free download with a shareware type charge of just 1$ for it. Just think of the possible revenue Redmond!

  67. Dr. Mouse


    OK, these may already have been addressed but I got bored with reading all the comments so I'll just add my own 2p

    The point about this is not about bundling a browser. It is about abuse of monopoly. This one is aimed at all those who say "It's MS's OS, they can bundle what they want."

    This IS abuse of their dominant position. Imagine if MS decided to bundle Office with windows. The majority wouldnt even look at another product, they would just use whats bundled, hence killing the competition.

    Similarly, think of Windows Media Player. Because this is bundled with the OS, most people don't bother looking at better alternatives, they just use what's there. This artificially inflates their market share, and makes it harder for people to compete in this market.

    Those who say "Well Linux bundles browsers", well yes they do. Actually, this just proves the point, they bundle BROWSERS, plural. And you can easily remove them and install something different if you wish. However, even if they did only provide a single browser, they do not have a "monopoly" (the quotes are there because it isnt really a monopoly, but it is a very dominant position which puts it on the same footing) so their actions are not anti-competitive.

    "With great power comes great responsibility". When a company has such a dominant position in one area of a market, it cannot be allowed to (ab)use that position. For all those pointing out the car analogy, imagine there was one car mfr who had a 99% share of the market, who went into the oil business and started setting up their own petrol stations, giving away the petrol to owners of their cars. This would force all other petrol co's out of business, at which point this car co would have a monopoly on petrol aswell. Although at the start, people would praise the co for giving away petrol, once the monopoly was established and they started charging what they want, what do we do then?

    You have to think long term, and the EU here is just sticking up for us, as it should. MS just threw their rattle out of the pram in what they did, but I am sure that anywhere they sell Win7E they will just start giving away CD's containing a browser, or a few browsers. Theres no problem here, and those who are whinging should seriously look at the facts and THINK (If they are even capable of this, which judging by their comments is unlikely)

  68. Pepster

    erm... here goes Dr. Mouse

    @ Dr. Mouse Nice you mention Linux, but what about apple, that kinda shits on your argument as they have a bigger share of the desktop market than Linux... I own one myself and that came bundled with Safari, iTunes, iPhoto even though there are other Browsers, Media Players, and Photo editing software for the MAC

    ... So why cant Apple be given the same treatment as Microsoft.

    Of course most apple users will argue that they bundle software because apple are a beautiful sharing, caring company who are just trying to help apple users!

  69. Jason D

    I've spoken about this before

    And personally I feel that Microsoft is in the right here, how can they be expected to offer more choice of rival browsers? Who's to say which browsers should be chosen? Ranked in alphabetical order, or by market share?

    One thing no one has mentioned yet, aside from a related comment by David Goadby, is that many websites on the Internet run best with IE. Of course, most of these aren't that important (aside from the Microsoft site etc) but people will be annoyed at how some of them

    However, I use Microsoft CRM via Firefox, using the IE Tab plugin, which renders any webpage in IE, but still allowing you to use tabs etc. It's much faster than IE7 which we use now. Now, if IE is completely uninstalled, this plugin will break, because it will require the IE files to properly render items the way IE does.

    Will the EU go after Microsoft for breaking websites and software now (eve if it's their own)?

  70. bigphil9009

    @Jon 77- gawd guys, have you forgotten the basics???

    Agreed, but how does one find the address for the FTP server? You can't just Google for it can you?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    WTF.... ???

    I see a lot more passion here than professional objectivity,

    Microsoft, for all its presence, does not sell computers. It sells software.

    The last time I bought a computer - admittedly a long time ago - I remember getting a bucket load of disks with it containing all the must-have extra software like AOL Norton and so on... So why can't computer vendors simply supply a CD with a selection of Browsers with the hardware that they supply?

    As for people who build their own stuff or company installs, use another damn computer - you know you've got one lying about somewhere - or use that USB drive dummy.

    Well? You have, haven't you? I don't know any nerds with less than three computers and six USB drives!

    People who start from scratch have to put up with the much more serious obstacle of getting on line first,, so the connection disk from VM or BT etc., can carry a selection of browsers to connect with.

    It's not rocket science you know! ... Well maybe it is to some... The bottom line is not only choice but avoiding the scenario where your choice is narrowed down to the line of least resistance which is where most people will end up.

    Paris... Obviously, she understands the nuances of regulated choice.

  72. Mark Wills

    Can I remind the purveyors of Opera...

    That if they don't like it, they are free to bugger off and develop their own operating system and put whatever the hell they want on it.

    Blimey. What a bunch of whiners.

    I still use XP, and Firefox is my default browser. If I hit CTRL R and type, windows opens up FIREFOX to serve my page.

    What's the damn problem Opera? Please, please please just shut up and go away.

  73. SnednarB

    Let's sue Auto manufacturer also!

    I think Opera is on to something. I want to sue Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and the other big auto manufacturers b/c I can't buy a car without having their own brand of engine, rims, or other parts. I've been to multiple dealers and can't find a Honda with a Chrysler engine! Now that's an antitrust.

  74. jon 77

    bigphil9009: I see you have no clue....

    If you are one of those who love the keyboard more than the mouse, you will of course know many windows, winftp comes with many addresses and configs as standard...

    Or you could check if they have *really* removed all browser functionality.. (this may be diff in fista, I dont use that crp..)

    - bring up *any* window(controlpanel, printers, etc....) and select 'view, toolbars, address bar'..

    - type into this new space, ... you will most likely see the page!!!

    Many linux distros also come 'without a browser' but the file manager will usually work in the same way as above... true they may be as much use as using your fingers to get butter onto your bread, but it does work..... :)

  75. Rasczak

    @ Jason D


    many websites on the Internet run best with IE


    And this is one of the particular abuses of the monopoly that is causing the problem. As I have already said, by including IE and all its broken features, it meant that people had to break their websites for them to work in IE. If they didn't break their websites then anyone using the defaults from Windows wouldn't be able to view the site, this has the side effect that anyone not using IE then can't view the site instead. If MS hadn't tried to tie you in to IE by breaking it, then it wouldn't matter which browser you use, the page would still be viewable. Which browser was the best would come down to who provides the most usability for you rather than which can view the most websites, they should all be able to view all websites.

    So now you have to perform kludges in both the site and and alternative browser to get everyone to be able to view everything, you shouldn't need to use IE tab to get a page to render correctly in Firefox, it just should if it was written to standards. Any kludges should be done by the broken software, ie IE, not the site writer or the working software, Opera, Firefox etc.

    Icon for your understanding.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    what a shame

    Congratulations to M$ on getting your shills among the first dozen posts. It's a damn shamed that you'd rather spend the money to employ them rather than spend the same amount on making a decent browser and thus negate the need to employ shills to defend it.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    opera ki maa ki chut

    bhen ke land saale gaand kyon nahi maraate?

  78. Rex Alfie Lee

    Bite Me Jerkoff

    To the anonymous coward who is complaining about Opera, shut-up stupid. The fact is that IE came late & then squashed everybody around them that were competitors. They weren't the first but their behaviour in all this is despicable. You are just a moron & should stick your head up your butt where it belongs.

  79. mark jacobs

    Win 7 E

    With no browser as part of the shiny new installed OS, how do you download FF or whatever you want to use? Answer : go to and download mathspenknife. You can give it a URL and it will grab the contents from there using the underlying internet functionality in the OS! That part has to be bundled into the OS or network comms wouldn't work out of the box! This discussion is ridiculous, and MS would be wise to offer a choice of free browsers at install time. IE, FF Opera and MJBrowser ( would be good! ;-)

  80. Hugh_Pym

    Oh man

    So many comments, so little fact.

    How many times has some arse asked 'Why aren't Apple forced to do the same thing' or 'What if Ford did ... whatever'? These questions and many more have been comprehensively and completely answered over and over again. Please can we have a Reg comments 'manual' page so next time a similar story comes up the journo (el regario? registatrician?) can simply point to the notes and say 'please read this before offering your bloated, ill informed, vitriolic blather to the cream of the IT world and making yourself look more stupid than you already do'.

  81. windywoo

    And now its time for crappy software developers to....

    stop writing programs that open Internet explorer for a web link instead of my default browser.

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