EU vs Microsoft, Why?

I don’t really understand this case. Opera complains to the European Commission about Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with the operating system. The Commission takes it on and is now waiting for Microsoft’s response to the accusations.

As much as I hate IE (especially 6 and 7, hating 5.5 would be like hating a dead dictator) I can’t see this making any sense. Microsoft makes the OS and therefor has the freedom to choose the browser they want. Period. The fact that it’s not the best browser you can get and is not in the interest of their customers, doesn’t make it any different. Should they bundle different makes of Solitaire as well? And Mine Sweeper? Paint?

Why isn’t Opera complaining about Apple? If this case goes through, wouldn’t it mean that Mac OS X should be pre-loaded with Firefox, Opera, Camino, Flock, OmniWeb, iCab, Shiira etc. Who draws the line and where do you draw it?

Perhaps there’s more to this. Maybe there’s is something I don’t know about Windows that makes it hard for people to download and use different browsers but right now I feel like this is a case that’s taking advantage of EU’s long term grudge against Microsoft. If EU really wanted to hurt Microsoft, they should just move their systems to run on Linux. Couple of million workstations across Europe running Ubuntu would certainly send the messages to Redmond.

Firefox is a proof that it’s possible to get large amounts of people interested in a browser other than IE. I think Opera should concentrate their efforts on telling people how good their product is rather than on drumming how badly their big cousin behaves.

PS. Let’s all give it a try, especially if you’re running IE, click one of the links below to get another browser for your system:

2 thoughts on “EU vs Microsoft, Why?

  1. alex kent

    this is a long standing dispute, since way back in win 95 / ie4 (?) days. the landscape was different then.
    as i recall; basically microsoft was the first OS vendor to bundle a web browser with their OS, thus destroying Netscape’s (paid) browser market overnight. also, and perhaps crucially, microsoft prevented their ‘value added resellers’ (Dell, HP, etc.) from unbundling IE and including Netscape.
    at the time the browser vendors, quite reasonably, saw this as an anti-competitive move and started waving their arms around in the direction of the courts.

    since then, the software world has changed.
    both major platforms now come with browsers, media players, jukebox software, photo organisers… all kinds of software is bundled with the this anti competitive? yep probably, but it’s also presenting the user with a complete usable computer. which in my opinion isn’t a bad thing.

    and you know what, i’m sitting here typing in Safari.

  2. Kristian

    That’s right, it’s not a bad thing. Especially if you think about the alternative. Should a computer just come with the OS? Then, when first starting your new Mac or PC, you’d be presented with a dialog box asking which browser you want. After that which photo-organizer. Then which email client and so on. This in itself isn’t that crazy of idea but the problem is that the people who would never download an alternative browser would most likely just go with the default option anyhow, thus defeating the objective.


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