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EC Considering Removing Internet Explorer From Windows 827

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the epic-struggles dept.
Itsabouttime writes "In a preliminary ruling, the European Commission told Microsoft that linking Internet Explorer to its dominant Windows operating system violates EC rules. The EC's ruling was triggered by a complaint from IE rival Opera. Microsoft could seek to offer a Windows version without IE, as it did in the EC's 2004 ruling on Windows Media Player."
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EC Considering Removing Internet Explorer From Windows

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:04PM (#26521843) Homepage

    Let's look at the facts:

    the EC said tying Internet Explorer with Windows provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage

    That's stating the obvious.

    Now check out the timeline on this procedure. Microsoft was accused of tying Windows Media Player to Windows in 2004. That's what the current case is based on.

    According to a Microsoft spokesperson:

    Under EU procedure, the European Commission will not make a final determination until after it receives and assesses Microsoftâ(TM)s response

    In other words, expect this to last another few years before anything happens. By then, Internet Explorer will have been renamed Windows 8 and Microsoft will argue that the lawsuit is moot. Do consumers win? Lawyers do, that's for sure. Slow justice is no justice.

    Expect Microsoft to offer to ship a version of Windows without any web browser. So you won't be able to download firefox either!

    --
    FairSoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- where geeks are their own boss

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:08PM (#26521889)

      I guess I'm confused about what Opera expects to get out of this. I know I, for one, would be pretty pissed off to open up my new computer and not have any way to go download Firefox. What exactly are they hoping to gain? Are they really arguing that new computers should ship with no internet browser what so ever?

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I guess I'm confused about what Opera expects to get out of this

        Punitive damages, and their lawyers fees paid.

      • by gravos (912628) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:23PM (#26522097) Homepage
        It's an ideological thing, nothing more. For us nerdy types, who cares what browser is bundled with the OS as long as the user has full choice to download and use whatever browser we want. The problem is that people are lazy and will use whatever is bundled because it is already there. IE gains marketshare just because nobody cares enough to switch.

        But you're right. Practically speaking, who cares.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          If nobody cares, then what right do you have to make them care...?

          Let's build the New Socialist Man while we're at it. The EU can be in charge.

          • by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:41AM (#26525775) Homepage
            Who said anything about making them care... But if windows didn't ship with IE, IE wouldn't be as tightly bundled with the os... and OEMs might ship with opera, firefox or whatever they think might give the best user experience. BTW, Many countries in the EU are semi socialistic, e.g. liberalsocialistic... And why is that relevant?
          • by ogdenk (712300) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:37AM (#26526025)

            It's our responsibility as people educated in dealing with technology to help the less skilled make better tech decisions. It benefits all of us in the long run.

            "Not making people care" is why there are still a lot of people out there running IE6 on Win98 sucking up a lot of available bandwidth because they are part of a spam botnet. This affects me.

            So yes, I will attempt to make them care.

            It's called doing the right thing. Not socialism. Caring about your fellow man (especially when it benefits you) does not make you a commie pinko. Grow the fuck up.

        • by linebackn (131821) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:13PM (#26522765)

          It's more than that. IE can not be uninstalled.

          Even if OEMs choose to include any other browser(s), they currently must alway have IE regardless if they want it or not.

          And there is a strong tenancy to not have multiple applications that do the same thing. So which browser winds up getting installed? Right, IE. Because there is no choice.

          • by CommentThingSucks (1282148) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:34PM (#26523009)
            That is because IE is not just the browser frontend, it is an entire framework that a lot of third party applications depend on.

            This was done intentionally by Microsoft, even going so far as making important components like Explorer depend on it. This isn't really the case any more for most of Windows, but the third party programs still need it, so removing it would break a lot of programs people use.

            Firefox is not a replacement either, because it does not implement any of the interfaces that the IE framework does (even though they could go to MSDN and implement them, but we're talking about a lot of work here.)

            Now... you could remove the actual IE program itself, as few other programs depend on it, but what would be the point? To save a few megabytes?

            I mean, there is already the option to remove access to it and use another browser as default. That's really all OEMs would need to ship a third-party browser (it would be problematic for Microsoft to do so.)
            • by Joe U (443617) on Monday January 19, 2009 @09:26PM (#26523567) Homepage Journal

              That is because IE is not just the browser frontend, it is an entire framework that a lot of third party applications depend on.

              This was done intentionally by Microsoft, even going so far as making important components like Explorer depend on it. This isn't really the case any more for most of Windows, but the third party programs still need it, so removing it would break a lot of programs people use.

              Back in 1995, this was very important to getting the Internet to the users and people seem to forget that. You didn't have many choices back then, especially if you wanted to write an app that used HTML in any meaningful way. It was pretty original to use HTML inside applications as a simple object, and it made coding these applications very easy.

              Nowadays everyone and their brother has a HTML renderer, so it's moot, but it would break all the legacy apps that use the IE components.

              What Opera and other companies really want is IE off the start menu and the components left in the OS.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by FatdogHaiku (978357)
              This works great if you have someone that keeps installing or running something you don't want them to... IE for instance.

              Note the SZ value is what is inside the quotes...

              1. Create a registry key with the name of the process you want to prevent to execute. Ex.: iexplore.exe

              HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\iexplore.exe

              2. Under this new key you've just created, create a SZ value called "Debugger" and set it to the following
            • Now that Qt is LGPL and includes webkit, the only advantage to using embedded IE is legacy code and its quirks. Hopefully people will catch on, because it seems like an obvious win for everyone.
        • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:43PM (#26524713) Journal

          I see, and when IE is taken out of the windows install and the new user is provided with discs containing Opera, Firefox, Chrome and IE, which will they choose to install? The ones who don't care (i.e. the ones who are scared of the computer and just want to get back to myspace) will pick the one carrying the same logo as was on the splash screen when they started the computer.

          I have an ideology too, and mine is that I want my computer to do as much out of the box as possible, with the minimum of fuss. If the operating system manufacturer has included extra apps to do things that I want to do, great. If those apps are surpassed enough by something third party that it's worth the minimal effort taken to switch, I'll switch,
          I suspect that most people who are willing to use 3rd party apps feel the same - 3rd party apps which suck don't have the right to try and poach users from the OS manufacturer's apps by stopping users having that default and hoping to bamboozle them into installing the suckier 3rd party app. If your app is good people will use it anyway.

          And now for the car analogy:
          Imagine a world where electric windows aren't standard. Now, imagine that someone starts selling aftermarket electric windows. Now imagine that a car manufacturer, seeing the popularity of electric windows, starts to offer electric windows as standard equipment (and modifies its manufacturing process such that they can't really build cars without electric windows). The manufacturer's electric windows can still be replaced with new ones; if the aftermarket window people can offer a sufficient improvement to be worth getting it done they'll still do business, if they can't; they won't. Now, why should the situation be different if only one company makes cars?
          So their size and ability to provide electric windows for 'free' makes it difficult to compete? Sucks to be you - make a better product or make a different add on in the full expectation that it'll become standard equipment in a few years, but don't bitch that you want the people who buy the cars to be forced to take the car home from the dealer and then either pay you to fit your electric windows, leaving their car out of action for a week, or return it to the dealer to fit electric windows for free, but still leaving them car-less for a week.

          While I can see that developers need to eat, I can also see that the alternative is that everyone suffers for having useful features taken away from them. Or, like they did with Windows XP N, the only people who'll care enough to buy the crippled version are the people who would have cared enough to install alternate software whether the built-in was there or not.

          Do we see KDE complaining that Explorer competes with KDE4 for windows? OpenOffice complaining that wordpad competes with them? Octave complaining that for simple work calc competes with them? Zonealarm complaining that windows now includes a firewall? No.
          How much more of the ability of a fresh windows install to just let the user get on with what they want to be doing is going to be chipped away at because someone else wants an opening to peddle something to users to enable them to do what they could before?

          Finally, I hear no-one screaming that linux should adhere to the same standards. Linux will not 'win' whilst it's seen as trying to create an unfair playing field with legal actions. If someone suggested that Firefox, Lynx, Konqueror and Nautilus were abolished from default installs so that other browsers could get a shot, it would be laughed off the mailing list. Someone sugesting that both browsers and all methods of getting browsers should go, forcing users to get them from a seperate disc would probably find themselves off the mailing list sharpish.

          The computer is a wonderful tool because it can do so many things, trying to make it so that it won't do those things without first fiddling with it is a step backwards - especially as there are lots of other things that people may want to do which rely on internet explorer being t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ironsides (739422)
        You could use FTP to grab FireFox off of ftp.mozilla.org Then again, someone would probably sue for distributing an FTP client with MS Windows.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by HadouKen24 (989446)
          Windows already comes with an FTP client.

          Basic FTP clients aren't exactly a major source of income, so I don't think any sort of anti-trust suit would get anywhere.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drsmithy (35869)

            Basic FTP clients aren't exactly a major source of income, so I don't think any sort of anti-trust suit would get anywhere.

            I'd be willing to bet there are about as many people paying for FTP clients on Windows as there are Web Browsers.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Having personally paid for two FTP clients over the past 4 years (SmartFTP on Windows and something I forget the name of on Mac), and having not paid anything for a web browser, ever, I would say that there are *more* people buying FTP clients than browsers...
        • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:45PM (#26524727)

          As I recall, the command line ftp.exe is pretty much straight out of BSD. It is also a single executable that can be removed without breaking the operating system.

      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:25PM (#26522137)

        I guess I'm confused about what Opera expects to get out of this.

        That's very understandable given the assumptions made by both the summary and the post you're responding to.

        I know I, for one, would be pretty pissed off to open up my new computer and not have any way to go download Firefox.

        That's not going to happen. No remedy is going to stop Dell or HP from bundling what they want, just Microsoft. From the end user perspective it means you might get a different browser pre-installed and if you build your own computer from components you may have to burn a CD with a browser on it.

        What exactly are they hoping to gain?

        Opera's complaint specifically addressed the fact that MS's abuse has resulted in a huge portion of the Web no longer being standards compliant and that this was part of MS's intention as revealed by their internal memos. I suspect Opera hopes for several things possibly including, Windows shipping with multiple browsers and MS being forced to make IE standards compliant and supporting a reasonable level of new standards on par with all the other browsers. Both moves would significantly benefit Opera both in market share and because they would not have to try to write a noncompliant mode for their browser to deal with all the pages designed to work with IE instead of standards and there would no longer be such a barrier to companies looking to switch browsers. Note, Opera said nothing about forcing MS to ship a version without IE, that was just other people's assumption based upon the EU's failed attempt at remedying the media player market.

        Are they really arguing that new computers should ship with no internet browser what so ever?

        No. That's just something people who don't know what they're talking about and who such a ruling would affect keep mentioning. Ignore them. It makes no sense to anyone who even slightly understands antitrust law and this case.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by droopycom (470921)

          Opera's complaint specifically addressed the fact that MS's abuse has resulted in a huge portion of the Web no longer being standards compliant and that this was part of MS's intention as revealed by their internal memos. I suspect Opera hopes for several things possibly including, Windows shipping with multiple browsers and MS being forced to make IE standards compliant and supporting a reasonable level of new standards on par with all the other browsers. Both moves would significantly benefit Opera both in market share and because they would not have to try to write a noncompliant mode for their browser to deal with all the pages designed to work with IE instead of standards and there would no longer be such a barrier to companies looking to switch browsers.

          Firefox or Apple with Safari didnt need a lawsuit. They are doing fine. They are standard compliant.
          And IE keeps loosing market shares.

          It looks like Opera is convinced that their product is the best, and its only Microsoft fault if they are not on everybody's desktop.

          But maybe it has to with the fact that their browser wasn't free for a long time.

          And maybe they are just not that good, maybe their product is not much better compared to the other ones, or maybe their Marketing failed.. who knows?

          Maybe they di

          • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday January 19, 2009 @10:00PM (#26523873)

            Firefox or Apple with Safari didnt need a lawsuit. They are doing fine. They are standard compliant. And IE keeps loosing[sic] market shares.

            First, there is no lawsuit, just a compliant about a violation of criminal law. It is more akin to reporting a robbery to the cops than suing someone over a dispute. Second is the question of if IE losing market share as rapidly as it should in a free market or if it is being propped up. Is IE significantly better than Opera, enough to justify it's 70% market share even with its technological inferiority? If it wasn't bundled with Windows would it have that large of share? If MS had not intentionally broken standards to create IE only Web pages would it have that much market share?

            I'd also like to address your assertion that Firefox and Safari are standards compliant. They mostly are, but they also spent millions creating work arounds so they can handle non-standards compliant pages such as MS schemed to create as a way to harm competitors. These aren't even facts in doubt as they were established when the US investigated then convicted them of this same crime... the crime they never stopped committing.

            It looks like Opera is convinced that their product is the best, and its only Microsoft fault if they are not on everybody's desktop.

            No, it looks like Opera wants a fair fight. After all, if IE is a better browser users will pick it over Opera, right? Demanding other companies obey the law is not asking for favoritism.

            And maybe they are just not that good, maybe their product is not much better compared to the other ones, or maybe their Marketing failed.. who knows?

            Nobody, because the free market was not allowed to judge because MS broke the law. All they're asking for is the chance to fight on even ground so users or OEMs can pick what they think is best instead of having a default and a Web full of pages that only work in one browser.

            Maybe they didnt realize that a browser product by itself has little value for the end user (not enough value to pay for it in any case). And that its all about the devices and the content.

            Current browsers don't have a lot to offer, but that's because current Web pages are still using decade old technologies to display pages because one particular browser with most of the market has refused to implement any new technologies that might allow users to have a Web capable of making Windows less essential. If IE were to disappear tomorrow replaced by any other browser or combination, the Web would suddenly leap forward technologically and you could run Web apps, view video and audio using standards, develop Web pages in half the time, and use vector graphics to deliver better quality graphics using less bandwidth. MS's criminal actions are more than inconveniencing Opera, they are crippling the Web to keep user locked into Windows.

            • by bigman2003 (671309) on Monday January 19, 2009 @11:41PM (#26524693) Homepage

              You're on crack...

              The fact that the IE market share is declining is enough to demonstrate to reasonable people that the public IS aware that there are alternatives to using IE, and they ARE able to use these alternatives.

              I've read your posts in this thread, and your whining is incredible annoying. You compare Microsoft's web browser to a murderer killing people.

              You also repeat over and over that Microsoft is keeping us 8 years behind in website technology. That's a load of crap. Who added the non-standard features to their browser that makes AJAX possible?

              It was the ubiquity of a browser included in Windows that opened up the web to most of the world. People now realize that there are other browsers available, and they are branching out, no problem.

              If Internet Explorer blocked people from downloading other browsers, I would see the point. But otherwise it's just a bunch of complaining from a few also-rans.

          • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday January 19, 2009 @10:53PM (#26524343)

            And maybe they are just not that good, maybe their product is not much better compared to the other ones, or maybe their Marketing failed.. who knows?

            Okay, please step AWAY from the Kool Aid slowly.

            It's not about taking IE away from people at all. The real issue here is to make IE as compliant as the other browsers, thereby making a lot of other Microsoft products work on browsers OTHER than Microsoft. Here is an example:

            Microsoft Sharepoint is a totally browser driven application that lets corporate people make business webpages, lists and office type content. Now, if it's totally browser driven, it should work in any browser right? Going a step further, the advertising on the product itself says "compliant with other browsers. Some loss of user experience may occur" - you know what that means? It means that if you use a browser other than IE to try to access this product, nothing works. Not even the navigation works. It's like buying Photoshop, touching up a .jpg file and then ONLY being able to open it again using Adobe Acrobat.

            The point of this who case isn't to stop IE, it's to make use of the browser guidelines that are developed properly, so that if something "works through a browser" it can continue along quite happily no matter what the browser - as long as the browser is compliant. The problem is that folks like Firefox are playing by the rules - and suffering for it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Frosty Piss (770223)

          Opera's complaint specifically addressed the fact that MS's abuse has resulted in a huge portion of the Web no longer being standards compliant and that this was part of MS's intention as revealed by their internal memos.

          What would happen if Microsoft pulled a "standard compliant" IE (or at least one that matched Firefox for complaintness) out of their ass? It would force an all new attack position for the anit-MS folks...

          Nope, not going to happen...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            What would happen if Microsoft pulled a "standard compliant" IE (or at least one that matched Firefox for complaintness) out of their ass?

            Web developers and users would rejoice and the Web would leap forward technologically allowing for many new applications and uses of the Web with a lot less effort and bandwidth. If only

            It would force an all new attack position for the anit-MS folks...

            If MS stopped breaking this law in this case, gee we'd have to complain about all their other criminal behaviors. Your postulation is like asking what if the mafia stopped extorting money from shopkeepers in the Bronx, then the cops wold have to arrest them one of their other criminal enterprises.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jd (1658)

        No, they're arguing that OEMs should be able to pick what browser they want installed. And no, you don't "need" a broswer at install time - most ISPs supply CDs and many of those contain browsers. Since there's not a whole lot of point in having a web browser if you can't see the web, this would not appear to be undue hardship.

        (This ignores all the other ways you can get Firefox, IceWeazel, Opera, Lynx, or other browsers. FTP still works, you've an e-mail client - Outlook - that is quite capable of receivin

    • by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:08PM (#26521895)
      Most likely it will just ship with a second or third browser installed. Then when you go to do anything involving a web browser for the first time, it will ask you which you would like to make your default.

      As far as I know, that's how the modified version of XP works for Europe, though I have yet to hear of anyone actually using it.
      • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:19PM (#26522037) Homepage Journal

        Most likely it will just ship with a second or third browser installed.

        And how will Microsoft select the alternatives? If they were forced to include other browsers, every dinky browser author and company would be pining to get their browser included in the alternatives list, threatening lawsuits if Microsoft doesn't comply. It would also mean that, since the software is supplied by Microsoft as part of Windows, Microsoft has to keep it updated and has to accept a certain level of liability.

        The real solution to this is for Microsoft to allow OEMs like Dell, HP, etc to include other browsers on new machines. This would give users the same choices they have with regards to other bundled software and it also leaves the market open, for example, to allow Mozilla or Opera to pay to have their software installed on all Dell machines. This would also prevent Microsoft from needing to keep the first-party bundled browser up-to-date with service packs and updates.

        The only downside is that people who buy retail/OEM versions of Windows will still need to use IE to download their choice browser, but I still fail to see how that impacts anything. If the complete failure of Windows N has taught us anything it should be that customers really don't want a crippled out-of-the-box operating system.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AuMatar (183847)

          Microsoft wouldn't- the computer manufacturer would. It would be up to HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc to choose what to bundle. Including the choice of IE. The point being that the browsers would compete in a fair market, rather than IE being installed by default and as the default app.

      • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:41PM (#26522345) Journal
        I can see it now.

        Installing "Windows 7" Step 6 of 10:
        Picking which web browser is right for you. If you need help visit us at www.microsoft.com.

        1.) Internet Explorer 8
        DEFAULT CHOICE
        RECOMMENDED CHOICE

        2.) Other (Advanced)
        (Only recommend for Advanced Users)
    • by Ynot_82 (1023749)

      "...ship a version of Windows without any web browser. So you won't be able to download firefox either!"

      that's not really what this is about
      Desktop machines need a browser
      AFAIK, the EU Commission wants an OEM version of windows without IE, so OEMs can pre-load different browsers (as per customer demand)

      This is about the unfair advantage MS has in online and search markets due to IE being tied to windows
      IE is defaulted to MSN as it's homepage, probably (although, obviously I'm guessing) as part of OEMs contr

    • by Lachlan Hunt (1021263) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:45PM (#26523135) Homepage

      Of course you can download an alternative browser without having another browser to do it.

      > ftp -A ftp.ussg.iu.edu
      ftp> cd pub/opera/win/963/en
      ftp> binary
      ftp> hash
      ftp> get Opera_963_en_Setup.exe
      200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
      150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for Opera_963_en_Setup.exe (5619080 byte
      s).
      ###
      226 File send OK.
      ftp: 5619080 bytes received in 112.06Seconds 50.14Kbytes/sec.
      ftp> quit

      Although this too will fail once the EU decides that Microsoft's inclusion of an FTP client is anti-competitive and asks for it to be removed too.

  • Stupid.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:06PM (#26521861) Homepage
    This is so stupid.

    Last time they did this over the "media player", after months of laywers and stuff, Microsoft finally agreed to come out with a version of the OS which lacked the Media player.

    And the verdict?

    Nobody wanted it.

    If you don't want IE, do what I do. Just don't run it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BSAtHome (455370)

      The problem was that they allowed two versions of the OS distribution. Obviously, most will opt for more features if the financial difference is small enough. If media player had to be downloaded separately for any version, then there would have been a difference. If this new case again allows for two versions without a significant monetary difference, then it will end in the same way: a dead duck.

      Anyway, it drains a good amount of money out of MS each time they have to comply. That has got to hurt in the l

    • Re:Stupid.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Teun (17872) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:16PM (#26521997) Homepage
      The stupidity was in not telling MS to put a price on that media player, in other words the 'light' version should for obvious reasons have been cheaper.

      The same applies for the proposed ruling about IE, it'll especially work when there's a price to pay for that eternally security challenged browser.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ecuador (740021)

        But competing media players and browsers are free. Why force MS CHARGE users for inferior products? They give very basic functionality, yet they are crap, so they are free.
        A few eons ago - in computer time, i.e. less than 20 calendar years - the basic utilities that were considered part of the OS were a file manager perhaps a paint application etc. Well, in the age of the internet and media an OS HAS TO provide some basic functionality in these areas. How else are you going to download Opera without IE (or

    • Re:Stupid.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by florin (2243) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:24PM (#26522119)

      Noone wanted it because the version without Media Player cost exactly the same as the one with. So which OEM in his right mind would put that on a PC? Which shop would stock it?

      The EU made a mistake in not forcing MS to lower the pricing on the Windows without Media Player.

      How much cheaper could Windows really be if your purchase price wasn't sponsoring the programming teams that are working on the 'free' browser, virus scanner, defragmenter, backup program, touch interface, fax and scan interface, optical burn program, media player, movie maker, speech recognition, java clone, flash knockoff and all the other crap that you get with Vista? None of these programs are particularly good, so let's just see some Win32/MFC/.NET libraries for say 10$ and you can keep the rest of the crap. There are better alternatives which are truly free.

  • by JamesP (688957) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:06PM (#26521865)

    How am I supposed to download Firefox then?!!? FTP? c'mon!

    • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:09PM (#26521905)

      How am I supposed to download Firefox then?!!? FTP? c'mon!

      Go back to the US antitrust lawsuit.

      The whole point was that the OEMs decide the middleware.

      So you buy a Smell(TM) brand computer and they decide to put Opera on it instead of MSIE, you use Opera to get firefox.

    • by boxlight (928484)
      The first thing I do on a new Windows installation is open IE and download Firefox. How would I get Firefox without IE? That is truly marvelous insight!
      • by Teun (17872)
        It looks like you are new on the net, http isn't the only protocol!

        Besides, you don't need a complete browser to do something like a get command.

    • I had to do that once for a customer while remoted into their machine. They had a virus on their system that shut down IE as soon as the user tried to download any kind of file. The irony of this did not escape me.

      (I wish I was making this up, it would've made the call go much faster.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fenix849 (1009013)
      QFA: The EU released a statement Friday stating, "Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice." It does reduce competition between browsers in the market, because a consumer doesn't need to choose a browse, and when they don't microsoft wins by default. (2 sweetest words in the English language? :-) ) It doesn't quite so much undermine innovation, there _is_ still an acti
  • Can IE be removed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Onyma (1018104) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:07PM (#26521885)
    I would be very interested to see how Microsoft would go about even trying to remove IE. At best I would think they could extract the GUI wrapper for the engine that most people call "IE"... but the core rendering engine is required for many other components such as the help system for example. Being forced to remove the rendering engine from Windows would be like taking out the bottom brick in Jenga.
    • The EU's issue with Microsoft is that it is limiting competition among web browsers by including IE with its product, so a removal of the GUI wrapper would probably be sufficient. Inclusion of the rendering engine won't do anything if you can't use it to browse the Internet in any reasonable fashion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Todd Knarr (15451)

      Microsoft already solved this problem. Look up the IBrowser COM interface that Microsoft designed way back when they introduced COM. It's specifically designed to allow an application to get an implementation of a browser object and use it to render HTML pages without knowing or needing to know exactly what implementation it got. Their specific example was in fact using IBrowser to create an application that could use either Netscape or IE transparently depending on which one the user had installed. This, o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'll tell you what I'd do if I were them. I'd release "Windows Desktop Core". It would be like Windows Server Core - comes up to a desktop with a single command prompt window on it. Sell it for 1/3 the price - no IE, or explorer.exe either - maybe that will open up a market for alternative desktops.

      Then ask the EC "what now, bitches?"

  • not relevant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boxlight (928484)
    Surely this decision is about 10 years too late and such a change would no longer be relevant to the industry.

    IE was a massive money pit for Microsoft, and its only purpose was to protect Windows as the dominant application platform. It worked.

    But with the rise of Web 2.0 and hand helds like Blackberry and iPhone, Windows is no longer the dominant application platform -- no one is actually building applications for Windows anymore, as far as startups are concerned, it's a "dead" platform.

    Therefore wh

  • The immediate problem there: how on earth is one supposed to acquire another browser without a browser? The browser is a major component of all desktop OS distributions today, so I don't see why it should be unbundled from Windows. True, it may be crap, but at least I can use it to download and alternative.
  • Last i heard IE was a core component in the GUI subsystem of windows..

  • This makes no sense. Even Linux computers file-system browsers (e.g., konqueror) are sometimes browsers. Microsoft has integrated "Explorer" (explorer.exe) to be both a filesystem and web browser. Microsoft has also, by now, made it relatively easy to not use Internet Explorer, Outlook, Outlook Express, etc., at all. It's easy to change the program defaults.

    According to wikipedia, IE has about 68% of the browser "market" share (odd to call it a "market" since they are typically free pieces of software)

  • Without IE on the CD, how will I download my alternative browser of choice? 99% of the times I install Windows, the first thing I do (after patching) is hit getfirefox.com.

    Or are they planning on forcing MS to package installers for Opera, Safari, Firefox, Flock, etc. on the CD? Couldn't this backfire on the alternatives since they're updated a lot more frequently than MS prints new OEM/Retail versions of Windows? Or will Billy Bob even notice that his version of Firefox is over a year out-of-date when h

  • by owlstead (636356) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:39PM (#26522327)

    I'll take these kind of actions seriously when:
    - I don't need the Media Player for listening to state sponsored radio programs or television shows.
    - Local governments don't rely on the .doc format anymore (although with OO this is less of a problem)
    - All government sites run fine in standard compliant browsers
    - Applications (like tax applications) are available for a freely available operating system at the same time as Windows
    - Schools are pushed to learn people IT skills, not Microsoft skills
    - Government and semi-government rely less on Microsoft only products and stops buying billions worth of licensing from Microsoft

    Currently it feels like they are slapping Microsoft with one hand while feeding it with another. OK, since the slapping probably also means that Microsoft has to give some money back, it makes a slight bit of sense. But currently it is not a nice situation at all.

    At least my bank and the public transport sector are platform independent, so we're getting to our money and somewhere.

  • 1996 called.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by d_jedi (773213) on Monday January 19, 2009 @07:45PM (#26522393)

    they want their antitrust claim back.

    Seriously, Firefox is up to more than 20% marketshare. IE doesn't have a monopoly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kiddygrinder (605598)
      Windows is the monopoly, ie's market share is the result of the leveraging of that monopoly, not vice versa.
  • Enough crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:02PM (#26522633)
    I'm European but I say enough with this crap. I have used FireFox as my primary browser ever since the very first stable version came out and like me many others. I'm sure most of you use FF or Opera. An OS needs to have a browser... imagine buy a new PC with Windows and not having a browser? How are you going to download FF or any other browser? Go out and buy a disk? Impractical. Have one already? Maybe, but not necessarily so. Frankly it doesn't bother me that Microsoft provides a browser with its O.S. This is not 1998, this is 2009 and in 2009 most everyone needs a browser right away. Those who don't like IE can use a different browser and many do. Why is the E.U. not attacking Apple? I don't think MacOS comes with IE or FF or Opera. It would maybe be smarter on the E.U. to say: "Ok, you need to provide at least another browser with your OS" but then we would see a war among those companies who want their browser to be represented, and why should the E.U. decide what goes into MY O.S. ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ..imagine buy a new PC with Windows and not having a browser?

      Okay I imagined it. Now how does that have anything to do with this article? Microsoft doesn't bundle DVD drives with Windows, but somehow those seem to be in new computers I buy. What makes you think Sony is going to ship computers without browsers if MS is banned from bundling IE and Windows?

      Those who don't like IE can use a different browser and many do.

      But many can't because they have to access IE only Web pages. Those pages exist because MS broke the law and bundled IE. Not only that, MS did that intentionally (as revealed by internal memos) as a way to keep peopl

    • Agreed (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      They should also take notice that XP N (XP with no media player) had next to zero sales. Part of the reason is that apps wouldn't work without it. Why? Goes like this:

      So media player, and IE as well, are actually split in two. There's the actual app you run. That doesn't really do much. It's just a user interface. You can get different ones. Media Player Classic would be a media player example. The actual work is then done by a separate set of DLLs that anything can call. So the media player stuff is the sy

  • Rediculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LunarEffect (1309467) on Monday January 19, 2009 @08:12PM (#26522755)
    In my opinion there is a high degree of rediculousness behind this whole story.
    Where is the border between something being a part of an OS and things that aren't? Next thing will be for them to want Microsoft to remove the Text editor, the file manager, the GUI and the Image Viewer from Windows, leaving you with a command prompt when you install it.
    I mean, as much as I dislike using Windows, putting myself in the position of a "I don't know anything about computers and don't really care to learn, I just want them to work." type person, I'd feel really pissed off about not having a browser installed on my system when I buy it. I, as a Linux user, like to choose what is on my system though. =)
    Anyway, I think what the EC should do instead of making Microsoft remove IE from its OS is to start a campaign to advertise alternative browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chrome...etc). Has there been a similar suit against Macintosh?

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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