Why Opera is briinging this suit...
To everyone who's complaining about the idea of unbundling and stating the old "nobody's forcing you" line, here's the problem:
By bundling IE with the world's most commonly-used OS, they have made IE the world's most commonly-used browser by default.
This is not a problem, in and of itself.
However, IE does not comply to internationally agreed, documented web standards.
The world's most commonly-used web browser does not comply with web standards...!
Now, designers have a choice:
1) Design a standards-compliant website.
2) Design an IE compliant website.
3) Design one, then convert it.
The cost of supporting compliant browsers hasn't historically been worth the returns for a number of sites, most notably the banks (who could do without IE's security holes, frankly), so they've stuck with IE.
Early adopters of Firefox and Opera were locked out of the web by pages advising them to download IE. The situation is better now, but by no means perfect, and most Windows users know they have to open IE from time to time.
However, that option is not available outside of Windows.
What's Opera's biggest market? Mobiles and PDAs, a market IE really doesn't provide for. Mobile internet access is the holy grail we've been promised since the millenium bug was still a larva, and it still hasn't taken off.
Why not? Screen size does have a part to play, but the biggest problem is non-compliant sites. To the user who has only ever used IE, the internet on his phone is more like a maze than a web, littered with unexpected dead ends.
The other thing we've been promised for years is the "internet appliance", the set-top box or video-phone that allows you to browse away without a PC. With HD TVs gaining widespread acceptance, the set-top is finally a practical proposition.
This isn't really a question of Internet Explorer's monopoly over the internet, or even Microsoft's monopoly of the internet: rather, it is the PC that is monopolising the internet. This is blocking the ubiquity of internet access, as well as leading old folk to spending an unnecessary 400 quid on something just to email the grandkids every other month.