back to article Microsoft and EU close on browser settlement?

Changes to a Microsoft proposal to let PC users in Europe chose the browser they want with Windows may have won over European regulators. The European Commission and Microsoft are reported to be close to approving a change in Windows that would give people a choice in browsers, offering them non-Microsoft options. Reuters has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a pity

    What a pity to allow Microsucks to once again get off without a 500 Billion Euro fine for their chronic violations of anti-trust law -- for profit.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not alphabetically

    Let me guess, they'd prefer in order of market share... reversed? In order of Most Scandanavian Browser?

    The idea of the ballot screen is sound, but Opera need to stop whining.

  3. Steve 48

    Oh go and get a life...

    So MS are not allowed to sell their own product with their own free software installed, coupled with Mr Opera (how appropriate - alot of incoherent nonsenical warbling!) wanting MS to stop using a long established brand/trademark. As for not organising the ballot list alphabetically - that's just sour grapes given that Chrome and Firefox would be higher than (W)IE and Opera - maybe they should change their product to be AAA Opera. I'm no MS fanboi, but I do think they get alot of unwarranted hassle just for having done a good job at dominating a market for something that is free!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Something that is free"?

      For those recently come to the internet - there used to be a market for web browsers. Many people were living by creating and selling them. Microsoft came to dominate this market by first crushing it, making its own browser free, thus eliminating most of the competition.

      It's called "dumping" in most civilized countries. Because, as free as Internet Explorer is for the end user, I'm reasonably sure it's not free to develop it (or a lot of MS programmers would be starving in the streets).

      Calling that a "good job" is interesting, to say the least.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      IE is not free

      It is bundled with software that you are required to pay for with a new computer. The ballot screen is not a solution. Selecting a standards compliant browser does not get you a proportion of your money back.

  4. Goat Jam


    Honestly, all this bleating about fricking browsers is such a waste of time.

    For gods sake, when a company has a monopoly on the entire OS and uses extortionate OEM contracts to exclude all possible competitors from entering the market then you have bigger things to worry about than which fucking browser gets pride of place on the monopoly OS.


    Microsoft is probably pleased as punch that everyone is arguing about such trivialities instead of tackling the core problem.

    When is somebody going to grow a pair I wonder?

    (I'm not holding my breath waiting)

    1. Tzael


      Hi Goat Jam, you appear to be stuck in the late 90s! Or maybe you missed all the antitrust motions against Microsoft that lasted a few years and sorted out the core problem :)

      1. Chris Bradshaw
        Gates Horns

        sorted out?

        Wake up, please. M$ still has the monopoly on OSes and is still abusing it. I cannot buy a new PC of my choice without paying a substantial amount extra for an OS that I do not want (Windows).

        It is somewhat better than it was, but certainly not good enough.

  5. N2

    Im not that fond of Microsoft

    But on this occasion, Im on their side, just why cant a software company include their own web browser in the first place?

    I cant help thinking that all this does nothing but increase the price of Microsoft products this side of the pond.

    So thanks (again) for nothing, EU

    1. Rasczak

      Included software


      why cant a software company include their own web browser in the first place?


      Bundling a web browser that can be used with the OS or removed if you don't like it is not a problem and no-one in authority has said it is.

      A company that has an effective monopoly on the desktop tying the web browser to the core of the operating system so that it cannot be removed and then using that tie in to force webmasters to break their websites to work in what has become the most used browser because of that effective monopoly and tie in, therefore making it impossible for rival, standards compliant, browser manufacturers to compete on a level playing field, is a problem.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Do the math

    $2.5 billion in fines for including a browser that nobody is forced to use? I've always had a choice to what browser to use no matter what version of Windows I have. It's nice have IE handy to get drivers after a fresh install. I see MS is disregarding the exchange rate between the Euro and the US dollar. Windows 7 Home premium goes for $119.99 or €119.99. To recoup from an outrageous fine I guess.

  7. Ian Michael Gumby
    Gates Horns

    How much will anyone bet ...

    "The changes are designed to ensure Microsoft complies with competitive laws in the European Union and - having been found to have flouted them - avoid further, hefty fines. Microsoft has so-far been find $2.5bn (1.68 billion euros) for breaking European antitrust law."

    How much will anyone bet that Microsoft will argue, beg, plead to reduce the fines. The lower the fines, the more likely that Microsoft would have come out ahead by flaunting the laws as they made money.

  8. KenBW2

    Handy that it's taken this long

    "Ooooh, my new Windows 7 has a new browser feature"


    "Why the hell has this crap suddenly appeared"

    Should've been there from the start...

  9. CC

    Opera wants a free ride

    They figure the exposure from Microsoft will get people to use their browser, but after five minutes using Opera and repeated sites not opening and or functioning, they will quickly opt for anything but Opera, Opera simply is its own undoing.

    1. Trevor Watt
      Thumb Down

      Opera is fully Web - Standards compliant

      The reason some (a very few these days) web pages do not open in Opera is because they have been written to work with some of the "enhanced" features of IE. IE is not fully web-standards compliant and gets away with this as it is the main browser for most people.

      So ask yourself why IE is not fully compatible, and how having proprietary code in IE to display these non-standard pages helps IE win people like you over.

    2. Rasczak

      I love the smell of shill in the morning.

      What sites don't open then. Give exact URLs and say exactly what doesn't happen that should.

      Then confirm that these sites are W3C compliant and any browser sniffing is used to direct non complaint browsers to a non compliant site , eg check for IE and give that the broken version, anything else gets the compliant version.

      If any sites don't work correctly in Opera then it is more often due to a problem with the site than the browser, that problem is often due to the site being written for IE rather than for the web. Therefore IE is the undoing of Opera when these sites don't work.

      Of course Opera has been doing a lot of work with their quirks modes to be able to display even these broken sites as well, of course it doesn't always help when Opera is deliberately blocked from a site just because the webmaster doesn't understand standards.

  10. Tzael

    Please permanently destroy the Opera source control and backups

    So if alphabetical sorting is out then I guess the next ordering sequence to opt for is chronological. Oh dear, that still puts Opera after Internet Explorer...

    What's this? Opera don't want Microsoft to use their own browser logo on the ballot screen? Next they'll be saying Microsoft isn't allowed to use the name "Internet Explorer" anywhere on the ballot screen with the only way to select Microsoft's browser being a cludge where you hold down alt and shift, drag the Opera logo over the top of the Firefox logo, then let go.

    I'm surprised Opera haven't demanded a lottery for web browser distribution. It's about the only way they'll get a share of the market worthy of any merit.

  11. Chika

    The damage has already been done

    The fact that there have already been those that question the ability of Microsoft to put its own "free" browser into the OS package is an indication that few now remember why Internet Explorer is included in this way. Not surprising, really, given the length of time that the whole business of Microsoft bundling IE as a supposed "integral part of the GUI" has been going on. You need to go back to Windows 98 to see the start of that particular saga, back when Microsoft and Netscape were going at it, before Opera and Firefox were ever really involved (or heard of).

    And that's the way, uh huh, uh huh, Redmond likes it! If people forget that Internet Explorer is *not* part of the GUI and does *not* need to be there, as has been proven on every version since W98, then they have more chance of winning this, and more chance of pushing the other browsers out of the market. One more nail in the coffin of free enterprise and competition.

  12. Defiant


    Are the Linux and Mac operating systems going to be next, not a chance.

    Microsoft make Windows therefore they should be able to do what they want to it. Lets not forget their are alternatives to Windows so they don't have a monopoly!

    This is just another case of the socialist EU looking for easy money

    1. The BigYin


      "Are the Linux and Mac operating systems going to be next, not a chance."

      No need, they are NOT A MONOPOLY. Linux isn't even an OS, it's a Kernel. You do know what one of those is, right? Not all Linux Distros use the same browser. It is also possible in Linux to TOTALLY REMOVE the browser if that is your wish.

      (I can't speak for Macs, as a lowly programmer I am too poor to own one, but they are still not in a monopoly position).

      "Microsoft make Windows therefore they should be able to do what they want to it."

      Unless they are a monopoly.

      "Lets not forget their are alternatives to Windows so they don't have a monopoly!"

      When you control 95% of the OS market, that is a monopoly in anyone's book. Which is why MS have been facing fines for abusing their monopoly position. (And it's "Let's", by the way)

      "This is just another case of the socialist EU looking for easy money"

      Why do Yanks think socialist is a bad thing? Anyhoo, the EU is capitalist last time I checked.

      And which country went after MS first? The USA! ZOMG! Socialist USA looking for easy money!

    2. Ian Halstead

      Ah, the 'socialist' word

      Let's assume you are from the US. The US has an army. Run by the government. From taxes. It isn't private is it? No. It's a socialist organisation that benefits the state by being able to defend that state. It's for the greater good. Socialist in nature. OK, it sometimes needlessly attacks other states as a by product, but there you go.

      Well in Europe we've taken this idea to declare a war on health and education, and have armies for that too. Paid for by taxes in most countries of the EU, just like you pay for your army. Not that different really are we? You see all you are frightened of is a silly word.

  13. Anne Frank

    because all computer users are thick as pig sh!t

    so.... what confuses me is this whole problem with the fact that A) Opera aren't "selling" a superior product, just different, and B) IT'S FREE!!!

    surely anyone who buys a new copy of Windows but wants to use Opera would run Internet Explorer, go to their site and download Opera, and then delete any IE shortcuts (or possibly uninstall the whole browser) and yet we're apparently too thick to do this and need a window to appear to allow us to choose which browser we wish to use??

    FFS!! I USE SAFARI ON MY PC BECAUSE IT'S BETTER THAN FRIGGING OPERA! If their product was better than any of the others, it might be an issue, but for the 4 users out there on a crap browser, sorry but navigate to Google and look up some real browsers!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You can't...

      ...uninstall IE. It's always there. You can remove shortcuts, that is all.

      1. CD001

        you _could_ remove IE

        IIRC, on pre-Vista versions of Windows, the core of IE is mshtml.dll - you could delete it but I'd really, really recommend you don't unless you fancy a complete Windows reinstall from scratch maybe. :)

  14. Defiant
    Thumb Down


    " You see all you are frightened of is a silly word."

    Let the people of the EU have a vote on it then and we don't have to compare it with another socialist regime of the 1930s do we!

  15. Lewis Mettler 1

    first you buy IE?

    Since when is that a solution to the illegally ruined marketplace?

    I imagine there are idiots that think it is okay if someone else is hired first to do their job on a daily basis as long as they are allowed to also work for no salary?

    Just like the job market: It is not open or fair is someone else always get paid before you can donate your time for free.

    The EU may give up. But, they have accomplished nothing.

    Microsoft's acts remain illegal in the US. Microsoft's act remain illegal in the EU.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Bear in mind

    You can't uninstall IE, because then when you run windows update it goes "sorry you aren't running IE.... Tough. Cick here to get an IE browser."

    So you are limited to IE and linked to the OS chosen browser.

    No matter how many people go "Choose something else." You are still required to keep IE there and to use it to run updates. As long as anything that happens with a ballot screen, also includes the freedom to update without a specific browser.

    1. Reality Dysfunction


      you dont need ie to run microsoft update in vista or win7

      you dont need ie at all ( god help those who do)

      Will Apple now be not allowed to preinstall any of their "free" apps, as they charge for their OS and this is a just a subsidy for them to provide a media player/etc/etc to destroy other free %insert name here% software

      um... chosen browser, wow that took me all of 15 seconds to change

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't you understand?

    To all those MS apologists out there, you really don't get it do you?

    MS are using the fact that their browser is not standards compliant as a way to increase their stranglehold on the OS market. There are idiot web developers out there who code only for IE. There are also idiot companies out there who insist their developers code only for IE. IE only runs on Windows. Therefore there are sites out there that you have to use Windows to access fully.

    The problem is that this browser election screen does little to solve that problem other than put a little bit more pressure on the idiots with IE only sites. This will mean there are more users out there who don't use IE so developers will need to think carefully about whether they want to lose potential customers. I would prefer to see a ruling that forces MS to ship a standards compliant browser as the default with every OS it sells. OK so MS would recode IE so it was standards compliant, which in itself would do nothing in the short term to increase takeup of other browsers or OSs. However in the long term it would remove most of the barriers to people using another browser, and would make it easier for people to choose another OS.

    Oh and before you try the MS party line that IE8 is more standards compliant than IE7, that's a crock. A browser either complies with the standards or it doesn't, IE8 doesn't. The fact that it complies with more of the standard than the previous version is irrelevant. You may as well claim that driving at 40mph in a 30mph speed limit is "more legal" than driving at 50mph on the same road.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    A browser either complies with the standards or it doesn't...

    Sorry, which Browser is 100% standards compliant?

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