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Small browser firms are once again asking for Microsoft to show them some love.  (Source: WebMD)

"We can't compete with the sort of money that the top guys have, so this choice screen is enormously important. And it's just enormously disappointing that it happened this way." -- Flock spokesman
Small browsers can only be found by scrolling sideways

Microsoft has found itself having to alter its practices on several occasions in Europe and the U.S. after regulators stepped in and forced change. One of the most recent instances was when the European Commission asked Microsoft to make browser selection more open and fair to other browser makers in Europe.

Microsoft and the EC worked for months to come to an agreement on how exactly Microsoft would go about offering users of Windows a choice of other browsers rather than simply bundling IE with its OS. The result was the browser ballot box, or Browser Choice screen.

Microsoft's first ballot box offer didn’t make it and eventually the Redmond, Washington-based company offered to randomize the placement of browsers within the choice screen. In December 2009, the EU was reportedly set to agree to the randomized ballot box. Eventually the randomized choice screen was approved and Microsoft announced in February that it would start rolling the ballot screen out to users in Europe on March 1.

The final form of the ballot box randomized the order of the major browsers on the screen and left the five major offerings on the main page, with other significantly smaller browsers available as options if the user scrolled the screen to the side.

EWeek reports that the rational behind making the ballot screen only show the five major browser options was fear that offering 12 browsers on one screen would be overwhelming and users would simply close the box and stick with IE. Smaller browser firms whose products are not on the main page are set to ask Microsoft to alter the ballot box again to give their offerings more prominent placement.

The six smaller browser firms making the request include Maxthon, SlimBrowser, Avant Force, Flock, Sleipnir and GreenBrowser. Representatives from these firms registered a formal petition with the EC on March 3 that protested that their browsers were only viewable if the user scrolled sideways.

The petition stated, "It is clear that the final Choice Screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from. This is inconsistent with the EU Commission's stated goal for the Choice Screen—to provide European consumers with 'information on the 12 most widely used Web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these Web browsers.'"

A spokesperson for Shawn Hardin, CEO of Flock, stated, "The EC recommended that the seven browser companies engage with Microsoft as a group, and if they can come to a mutually agreed-upon solution, the EC will fully support it. Flock CEO Shawn Hardin has reached out to Microsoft on behalf of the group to schedule a meeting, and Microsoft responded that they 'will get back to the group shortly.'"

The small browser firms claim that how the browser screen is configured is a matter of survival for them. Not being able to get prominent first page placement for their browsers hurts the ability for the small firms to compete according to the companies.

Hardin said, "We can't compete with the sort of money that the top guys have, so this choice screen is enormously important. And it's just enormously disappointing that it happened this way."



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Come again?
By dflynchimp on 3/15/2010 10:15:02 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
The six smaller browser firms making the request include Maxthon, SlimBrowser, Avant Force, Flock, Sleipnir and GreenBrowser.


Never heard of them, and frankly never would've had I not read this article. With Chrome, FF, IE and Safari (Opera you may join too...) the market is more than saturated IMO. It just doesn't make much sense for a small startup to expect to compete with these established browser mainstays.

Oh, and I'm of the opinion that it isn't Microsoft's onus to foot the advertising bill for other browser maker's software. They spent their billions developing Windows OS and marketing it, not to mention tech support and debugging post-release. IMO it's perfectly legitimate for them to bundle their own web surfer in with it. In fact it would be expected of them to do so for the package to be considered having a complete feature set.

Then again this is the EU we're talking about, and my opinion means jacksquat.




RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 10:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
"With Chrome, FF, IE and Safari (Opera you may join too...) the market is more than saturated IMO. "

With the market already more than saturated...why do we need to "protect competition"?

More than anything, this news story demonstrates the idiocy of the EU ruling. There's already too many browsers for the public to choose between...a situation that happened via the free market, without the EU ever getting involved.


RE: Come again?
By TMV192 on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 11:30:04 AM , Rating: 5
Do you really think 60% of the average people care what browser they use, period?

I don't have a clue what brand windshield wipers are on my car. Maybe there's a brand that lasts 30% longer and keeps the windows 5% more streak-free....but it certainly isn't worth my time to research it to find out.


RE: Come again?
By stirfry213 on 3/15/2010 11:58:54 AM , Rating: 3
ding ding ding!!! We have a winner!

I agree, they don't care what browser they use as long as it works.


RE: Come again?
By Chocobollz on 3/17/2010 6:50:29 AM , Rating: 2
They will, when they realize that NOTHING IS PERFECT (aka. browsers have bugs, weaknesses, incomplete features, etc.)


RE: Come again?
By Synastar on 3/17/2010 10:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
What makes you think they'll realize anything? Many of them don't care. It's not that they think anything is perfect.


RE: Come again?
By Kurz on 3/15/2010 1:53:13 PM , Rating: 4
Please give this man a 6


RE: Come again?
By invidious on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Come again?
By Kurz on 3/15/2010 2:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
The funny thing is the browser market was NEVER BETTER!


RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 5
"we should just allow major manufacturers to use their preexisting advantage to drive all the competition out of business?"

A) The competition isn't being driven out. The number of browser alternatives is increasing , not decreasing.

B) Even were browser alternatives disappearing, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping the market fragmented with multiple options that provide no real benefit over each other wastes developer resources, marketing dollars, and confuses the consumer.

In Microsoft's opinion (and mine) there is no such beast as a "browser market". A web browser is and should be a component of the operating system, just like a file browser or a format utility. Can you seriously imagine buying Windows without a browser installed? Having to go out and find a disc somewhere else to even start using the Internet? Would the "extra competition" of that scenario be worth the tremendous burden it would place on consumers?

The entire anti-trust movement began on the idea that a monopolist could exploit their position by overcharging consumers. Does anyone here really believe Microsoft is ever going to start charging for IE? What benefit are we really giving the consumer here...that they're guaranteed more options on tabbed browsing? Or a slightly better rendering speed? Is that REALLY worth getting the government involved to such a degree...especially when third-party browsers are ALREADY thriving?


RE: Come again?
By sigmatau on 3/16/2010 2:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't have said it better. Why would any company want to make their webpages compatible with every single browser? That sounds like such a waste if I was in that business.

It is also a no brainer that the browser should be a part of the operating system. It should also be an option to be able to install your own, if you so choose. Microsoft did that already. It boggles the mind why the EU would want them to advertise for the other browsers, especialy since FF has been gaining, dramaticaly, in market share.

I spit on the EU for such a stupid decision.


RE: Come again?
By icanhascpu on 3/17/2010 1:04:21 AM , Rating: 2
This is pseudo-intellectualism at its finest. Look how many people you fooled.

Browsing online cannot be compared to windshield wipers in such a way. It looks like you have a common-sense point but its really a farce. The worth of ones time comes when those wipers malfunction. Some people, lazy ignorant careless people wont take 10 min from their lives to research something that may benefit them for months or years. That is worth it, windshield wipers or internet browsers.

If you want to make believe 60% of people (or whatever made up number) has never had an issue with IE (or a windshield dwiper), you're nuts.

Given the option, once a issue arises, people 'care' enough to click the thingy to make the other thingy work.


RE: Come again?
By invidious on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Come again?
By Kurz on 3/15/2010 2:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Its bundled with windows because Microsoft realized how important the internet is for the consumer. To gimp a computer by not bundling the software makes the consumer suffer. What Microsoft did was make the whole process easy for the average computer user. Instead of getting 30+ install disks for all the various programs people would need back in the day. Microsoft bundled everything.

If you need something thats not with windows Go out and find it. There is so much advertisement on the internet for alternatives.

Microsoft is selling a product. And it so happens Notepad, calc, sound, basic outlook, Internet explorer, windows media player, are all bundled because consumers asked for it. They wanted everything in one package, especially IT departments for Corporations.

Countries like Brazil, are already switching over to linux because its free to own and its a bit more stable when configured properly.


RE: Come again?
By adiposity on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 2:38:58 PM , Rating: 1
"But let's not pretend it was some philanthropic gesture on their part."

You misunderstand the nature of a free market. Companies can best seek profit by pleasing their customers. No corporation ever does anything for purely philanthropic motives...nor should they. Even when a firm donates to a charity, it's written off on the balance sheet as a "goodwill" asset...done not for its own sake, but to improve the company image.

The best thing about capitalism is that whenever companies or even private individuals help themselves, they also help the rest of us. So we don't need to rely upon pureness of heart for products to improve and prices to decline...it happens naturally and automatically.


RE: Come again?
By adiposity on 3/15/2010 4:06:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You misunderstand the nature of a free market.


No, I don't.

quote:
Companies can best seek profit by pleasing their customers.


That's a stretch. They make a tradeoff between pleasing themselves and their customers. If they can increase the pleasure of their customers, without costing themselves, they will. Plenty of corporations have done things to anger their customers, without really losing marketshare. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Microsoft, at the time they began bundling IE with Windows, most users were not really in a position to contemplate changing their OS. Therefore, even if their action angered customers (and I'm not saying it did, in general: most were probably fine with the bundling of IE), they didn't stand to lose anything.

Corporations seek profit by many strategies at their disposal. Sometimes it is by attracting customers. Other times it is by retaining customers. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the customer, but rather the destruction of a competing business.

I a not a fan of the browser ballot screen. I believe Microsoft certainly has the right to include any kind of software with their OS. I just don't agree that they included IE simply for the sake of customers. They wanted to gain dominance in the browser market, and that was the primary factor. There are plenty of quotes from Microsoft execs that confirm this.


RE: Come again?
By adiposity on 3/15/2010 4:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
err, that should read

quote:
At the time Microsoft began bundling IE with Windows, most users were not really in a position to contemplate changing their OS.


RE: Come again?
By Kurz on 3/15/2010 4:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
Does it matter who scraches whos back?


RE: Come again?
By Chocobollz on 3/17/2010 6:28:15 AM , Rating: 2
Which one would you prefer to scratch your back? Your wife, or a monkey? LOL


RE: Come again?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2010 4:14:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They wanted to gain dominance in the browser market, and that was the primary factor.


There is no such thing as a "browser market". Show me one goddamn browser that isn't free.


RE: Come again?
By n00bxqb on 3/15/2010 11:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
*shakes head*

Just because the CONSUMER doesn't pay for it, it doesn't mean there isn't a market. There are other ways to make money other than directly through the consumer.

Just as one of many possible examples of income, browser companies get paid by search engine companies to use their search engine as the default. Google pays Apple $100 million/year to be used as Safari's default search engine.

The more market saturation a browser has, the more desirable it is for other companies to attach themselves to that browser and the more money that browser company is going to be able to command in those deals.


RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/16/2010 9:51:17 AM , Rating: 1
No. Several things are wrong with your analysis. First of all, a market is defined as an area where a produce or service is being bought and sold. In your example of Google paying Apple...are they buying a browser? No. They're buying search engine redirects...a totally different product.

Having a large browser share may help Safari, Firefox, and others make money. But their market is not the browser...its redirects.

But there's a far more serious problem. Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers , not companies. If a company is penalized for damaging a competitor, the underlying principle is that, should that competitor disappear, the monopoly holder could then exploit their position to the detriment of the consumer. But in this case, how is that possible? Browsers are already free and ubiquitous. With the source code for many in the public domain, how could this mythical "browser market war" ever hurt the consumer?

Finally, the most damaging point of all. Browser market or no, the level of competition among browsers has never been better. This EU action isn't going to protect competition...it's going to hurt it. Competition implies the best win, and the worst lose....but this forced ballot box means guaranteed market share to a browser, no matter how good or bad it is.


RE: Come again?
By Chocobollz on 3/17/2010 6:21:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
but this forced ballot box means guaranteed market share to a browser, no matter how good or bad it is.

Err.. no, it only guarantee them to get a place on a small box. Consumers are freely to choose whether they want to keep their current browsers or try some other browsers. Note that I say "try", because they are freely to choose whatever browser they want to use.

IMO this browser ballot issues are practically nonexistant. And most of the time, it will do good for consumers, so what are the problems?


RE: Come again?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2010 4:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft doesn't care WHAT you do with their browser idiot. They sell OPERATING SYSTEMS, not browsers !


RE: Come again?
By adiposity on 3/16/2010 1:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft doesn't care WHAT you do with their browser idiot. They sell OPERATING SYSTEMS, not browsers !


Oh, really? First of all, MS sells a lot more than Operating Systems, "idiot." They sell Office Suites, have their fingers in advertising revenue, video game hardware, and services. The search engine in browsers, to list just one example, is driven largely by which browser one uses. This can lead to a lot of advertising dollars.

Why was Microsoft freaking out when Google was buying Admob? They shouldn't have cared at all, according to you. After all, all they sell is Operating Systems. Who cares who gets the ad revenue?

Microsoft cares deeply about who uses their browser. If nothing else, if the majority of people use their browser, they can design things their own way and ignore inconvenient groups like W3C. This makes their own development easier. The IE5-IE6 days were great for Microsoft, as they basically could do anything they wanted with ActiveX, their own technology. Now, that ability is slowly being taken away. This is a pain.

If you think MS doesn't care who uses their browser, you are the "idiot." They scrambled to catch up to Netscape once they realized that the information portal for the "net" was being controlled by someone other than them.


RE: Come again?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/16/2010 5:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Notice I said MS doesn't care what you DO with their browser. I didn't say they don't care if you DON'T use it.

So nice speech there pal. Too bad it was a waste of time.


RE: Come again?
By adiposity on 3/17/2010 11:34:40 AM , Rating: 2
If you read the original post you were replying to, I never said anything about Microsoft caring about what you DO with the browser. So your comment didn't make much sense unless I assumed you meant that Microsoft didn't care if you use their browser.

As long as we are arguing stupid semantics, though, "using" the browser is "doing something" with the browser. So if Microsoft care that you use their browser, they do care what you do with it.

If you are saying, Microsoft doesn't care HOW you use their browser, I still don't agree. As I pointed out earlier, they want you to use their browser to use their services. This is why their browser directs to msn.com (homepage) and bing.com (search engine).

So you are still wrong. I'm not sure why you are so upset that I point out Microsoft made some decisions to improve their position in the market. I'd expect nothing less. And as I've stated elsewhere, I do not support this EU browser ballot BS.


RE: Come again?
By rbfowler9lfc on 3/16/2010 12:53:51 AM , Rating: 3
Brazil shouldn't be taken as a serious example for nothing. We design digital TV systems that are incompatible with the american, the european and the japanese standards. Just because we want to boost the local industry. There are no actual industries currently able to design and produce the needed electronics for this, but that's another problem anyway, that's not an issue to be dealt by the government who decided which DTV system to adopt.

If americans didn't invent the RJ11, we'd have no computer modems for decades, since our standard-approved PSTN plug measures at least 5cm x 5cm, go figure that on the back panel of a computer.

Every house in the country has NEMA 5–15 power outlets available, since all the good equipment comes from abroad; however, all of a sudden someone decides that there's need for an all new -- compatible with absolutely nothing -- national standard for power outlets, that is losely based (but not equal) to the Swiss Type J SEV 1011 outlet.

If Brazil are switching over to Linux, you'll sure want to take the other way around, trust me...


RE: Come again?
By Qapa on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Come again?
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 1:26:16 PM , Rating: 1
"they used their monopoly position to [kill] the browser economy"

If that is true, why do we now have four times as many browsers for Windows as we did before Microsoft began bundling IE?

"...and forbidding sellers to sell with other browsers installed"

False. Microsoft never forbid anyone to bundle another browser. They simply refused to give their massive OEM discount to anyone who modified Windows substantially before reselling it. And a very wise move on their part. When you're selling OEM copies at $30 bucks a pop, one single support call from a non-standard installation can erase your entire profit.


RE: Come again?
By PrinceGaz on 3/16/2010 11:44:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The six smaller browser firms making the request include Maxthon, SlimBrowser, Avant Force, Flock, Sleipnir and GreenBrowser.

quote:
Never heard of them, and frankly never would've had I not read this article. With Chrome, FF, IE and Safari (Opera you may join too...) the market is more than saturated IMO. It just doesn't make much sense for a small startup to expect to compete with these established browser mainstays.

I'd never heard of those other browsers either (with the possible exception of SlimBrowser which I seem to remember from somewhere), and it turns out they are essentially just modified versions of one of the main browsers (they use the same underlying layout-engine as one or other of them).

It could be quite reasonably argued that Chrome is just a modified Safari for that matter as it uses Webkit, meaning there are only four original browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, and Opera).


Gamble
By brshoemak on 3/15/2010 10:36:00 AM , Rating: 5
How about Microsoft just makes a slot machine app, you pull the on-screen handle and whatever browser icon pops will be downloaded and installed automatically. Just for fun they should throw in IE3 (yeah, 3) and Netscape 4.




RE: Gamble
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 10:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like fun, but do IE3 and Netscape 4 even work in Windows 7?


RE: Gamble
By martinrichards23 on 3/15/2010 11:18:39 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Sounds like fun, but do IE3 and Netscape 4 even work in Windows 7?


I think you mean:

quote:
Sounds like fun, but do IE3 and Netscape 4 even work with the internet?


RE: Gamble
By seamonkey79 on 3/16/2010 12:05:01 AM , Rating: 2
Since neither of them really worked when they were brand new, I'm not sure that would even be funny 0_0


RE: Gamble
By MrBlastman on 3/15/2010 12:48:00 PM , Rating: 1
Netscape 4 was so awesome that it would randomly corrupt your file allocation table on whatever partition you were saving data to from it. Don't believe me? It happened twice. I stopped using Nutscrape and the problem never happened again.


RE: Gamble
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 1:01:45 PM , Rating: 1
You're right; I don't believe you. Netscape (and nearly all other software) doesn't make API calls at a level that would lead to FAT corruption.

Correlation does not equate causation. Just because cities with public water have higher rates of AIDs does not mean drinking city water causes AIDs.


RE: Gamble
By MrBlastman on 3/15/2010 1:18:20 PM , Rating: 1
Then explain this:

Immediately after clicking save on Nutscrape (twice), the FAT was corrupted and I had to reformat the partition.

If I press a button, and x happens multiple times, then the button must be leading to the action, right? They call that cause and effect.


RE: Gamble
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 1:23:06 PM , Rating: 1
At a guess, I imagine you simply had your disk in such a state that any piece of software making that particular API call would have led to the corruption. Or perhaps the corruption was already there, but until a certain size file (or a file in a particular place) was saved, it was not evident.

The nice thing about software is that its usually 100% deterministic. If Netscape had a systemic problem with FAT corruption, other users would have reported it. Furthermore, for this to even be possible, they would have had to be making API calls at a lower level than application software typically uses, which not only would be have risky, but pointless.


RE: Gamble
By MrBlastman on 3/15/2010 1:42:22 PM , Rating: 3
I would believe that it would have been the hard drive itself or the operating system if I had not continued to use that same hard drive and same partition for another six years before finally cycling it out. I have my hard drives on a six year rotation, three of them total (on my main pc) so that means at any given point in time I am replacing a hard drive every two years. This hard drive with the FAT corruption was brand new at the time and of a good brand--Western Digital.

I would also believe that others would have found the problem too, except for the fact that I was doing something obscure within Nutscrape at the time. I was using the newsgroup feature of it to surf Usenet at the time and I was saving encodes to disk manually (as this is how you had to do things like this back in the day--I later switched to xnews for such operations as it was superior). Obviously a very small percentage of the population was using this feature. Usenet was obscure even in the late 90's/early 2000's, it is all but dead now (thanks to congress).

That is my explanation at least as to how it was not fixed. Who knows? Maybe it was. Nutscrape was _full_ of bugs (though its bookmark system was and still is superior to IE even though I stopped using it years ago).

All I know is this--if you press a button in software and more than once it causes your file allocation table to turn to garbage, you stop using that software very quickly as I did and find a new application that does the same thing. Losing your file allocation table is bad for your data.


RE: Gamble
By MrBlastman on 3/15/2010 4:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ouch. I think I struck a nerve. Despite Netscape being toast I think I bothered someone out there who still has fond memories of the ill-fated browser.


This was never about the consumer
By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2010 10:15:35 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The petition stated, "It is clear that the final Choice Screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from. This is inconsistent with the EU Commission's stated goal for the Choice Screen—to provide European consumers with 'information on the 12 most widely used Web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these Web browsers.'"


Translation :

It's Microsoft's job to advertise for and educate you about every single browser choice on the market.

quote:
Hardin said, "We can't compete with the sort of money that the top guys have, so this choice screen is enormously important. And it's just enormously disappointing that it happened this way."


Translation :

We can barely afford to develop our product, let alone deliver the quality consumers enjoy from Internet Explorer or Firefox. Please help us survive when we otherwise would/should have failed.

If anyone thinks the EU is doing this for the consumer, they are blind. This is typical government intervention into a market causing a bigger problem then they were trying to "fix". In this case, they are making the market even LESS competitive.

Part of being competitive is you have winners and losers. The EU has decided to make the winners responsible for keeping the losers afloat. This is NOT competition.




RE: This was never about the consumer
By LRonaldHubbs on 3/15/2010 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
We can barely afford to develop our product, let alone deliver the quality consumers enjoy from Internet Explorer or Firefox. Please help us survive when we otherwise would/should have failed.

^ This.

Also amusing is the fact that none of these other browsers are unique ground-up designs. They are all just modifications of either IE or Mozilla. It's not like any of them offer a revolutionary experience over the big 5, they just add some extra features to already solid browser platforms.


RE: This was never about the consumer
By alexsch8 on 3/15/2010 11:19:40 AM , Rating: 3
The real question will be if these smaller companies can even offer the support needed once people select their browser and run into trouble. Microsoft will surely not help the consumer should the consumer run into trouble with a non-MS browser. Is there an option to go back to default IE browser if the non-IE browser breaks?


RE: This was never about the consumer
By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2010 6:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Companies ? These guys are more like a few nerds coding from their basements claiming they are a browser company. Give me a break EU. If I have never heard of them, I SERIOUSLY doubt they have anything to offer the consumer that IE or Firefox or even Chrome don't.


RE: This was never about the consumer
By sigilscience on 3/15/2010 6:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe better favorite management. IE, FF, and Chrome all have a pathetically crude favorites system.

Of course, I could download some of the other browsers to see if they're better, but I really don't care that much lol.

So thanks EU. Thanks for nothing.


RE: This was never about the consumer
By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2010 8:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there are lots of slick favorite apps for Firefox though.


By Chocobollz on 3/17/2010 6:36:53 AM , Rating: 2
I don't want to make an already bloated browser to become even more bloated by using too many apps.


By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 8:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
There is a reason a lot of those browsers don't have the market share that the big 5 do, here is one http://flock.com/node/111236 they can't even get support on their own site. Almost all the comments are how the browser uses old tech and has been slow to upgrade and crashes too much. Make a good browser, do a little advertising and your share will increase, but the important part is making a GOOD BROWSER, something few can get right.


I can see where this is ultimately heading.....
By C'DaleRider on 3/15/2010 11:27:56 AM , Rating: 5
You buy a computer with Win 7 or copy of Win 7 and get it home.

On first run after installation, a screen comes up and says, "Please locate DVD #2 and watch browser selection video."

Then, for the next 45 minutes, each browser gets 5 minutes of video to advertise for itself. The consumer MUST watch each and every ad by having to check a box after each stating it was viewed before being allowed to move to the next.

After the consumer has watched the videos, located on DVD's #2, 3, and 4, then the consumer will choose which browser he/she wants installed. If IE is chosen, the consumer is "encouraged" to reconsider by having to review all the sales pitches, again.

Only after either choosing an alternative browser initially or enduring 2 hours of commericals to choose IE, the OS finishes its install routine and then can begin to use the computer.

And only then will the EU be completely happy.




By MrPeabody on 3/15/2010 12:36:36 PM , Rating: 5
Whoa, hold on a second there. Just what media player did you plan on using to watch those videos?


By CurseTheSky on 3/15/2010 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, the way this is going, there'll be a growing market for good ballot box software...

Would the EU impose suits / restrictions against Microsoft if they chose to use the default Windows ballot box software to allow users to choose a different ballot box software / GUI?

:O


By whiskerwill on 3/15/2010 12:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
You say this tongue in cheek but I can seriously see a day when the EU forces Microsoft to require people to jump through extra hoops just to keep IE installed, but they can switch to another browser by just pressing a button.


Good job EU courts
By Chaser on 3/15/2010 12:09:18 PM , Rating: 4
And now we begin to see the fallout of this ridiculous ruling.

Next the media player, email client, file manager, photo viewer.





RE: Good job EU courts
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 12:12:26 PM , Rating: 4
The email client idiocy has already begun...in Win7, you have to download "Windows Live Mail", rather than conveniently having Outlook Express preinstalled.


By menting on 3/15/2010 11:04:16 AM , Rating: 3
For the record, I use Maxthon (one of the 6 browsers that complained) at home.
As much as I like Maxthon, this is a stupid move, and I've already knew it was coming when they announced the ballot option with showing the 5 top browsers decision was made.

If the EC agrees to this dumb complaint, what's to prevent all other browsers from complaining as well? A slippery slope for sure, but you got to stop somewhere, and I already think showing the top 5 is too much already.

Heck, I think the best option was to show just 2 browsers by default, with a link to show more; one IE, and the other just randomly chosen with the comment "The default for Windows is Internet Explorer, but here is an alternative to consider. Would you like to try the alternative?" There is no reason to promote other companies' products, and doing this is enough already.




By whiskerwill on 3/15/2010 2:01:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
For the record, I use Maxthon (one of the 6 browsers that complained) at home.
Just curious, but why?


By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 9:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
I have used Maxthon in the past, it is a good browser really, it's just overtime I have forgotten about it. Have read new version which is in Alpha ATM will be able to use Trident and Webkit engines. It actually has won a lot of awards since it was created, think I am gonna give it another shot see how it works now.


For crying out loud
By piroroadkill on 3/15/2010 11:50:06 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft should tell them all to get fucked. It's already confusing users in corporate environments, because, guess what, most people already have the browser they need or want.

Is being listed in an update for the most popular Operating System on the entire planet not enough coverage for you? Awww, diddums, you have to scroll a little? Eat dicks! Microsoft have already bent over enough.




RE: For crying out loud
By Chocobollz on 3/17/2010 6:43:21 AM , Rating: 1
So, should I also tell the Linux community to get fucked because they have a ridiculous and confusing distros?


RE: For crying out loud
By Lightnix on 3/21/2010 9:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
If the Linux community somehow made Microsoft put in a ballot screen that read 'would you like to install Microsoft Windows or one of these ridiculous and confusing Linux distros', then yes, you probably should.


Whaayyyyyy!!
By themaster08 on 3/15/2010 12:19:50 PM , Rating: 3
Well done EU. Another fine mess you've made.




RE: Whaayyyyyy!!
By cmdrdredd on 3/15/2010 4:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
Since when has the EU ever done something right in the world?

They, always leave a mess and then blame someone else for that mess and force the US and others to step in and attempt to fix it.


RE: Whaayyyyyy!!
By themaster08 on 3/15/2010 8:47:44 PM , Rating: 1
I'm from the UK. We've been a member of the EU for 37 years. That's 37 years of being fucked in the ass with absurd laws and ludicrous squandering of taxpayers money.

I know exactly what the EU are like.


They aren't even real browsers!
By toyotabedzrock on 3/15/2010 2:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why are they on there in the first place? They are based on IE, Mozilla and Webkit, and normally they are based on outdated versions making them insecure.




RE: They aren't even real browsers!
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 4:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
I can see the MS support calls already, customer calls asking for help cause Maxthon (or Flock or whatever) crashes and won't work, CS person just laughs tells them they are screwed and hangs up. Hopefully the EU doesn't force MS to take CS calls for these browsers if people call.


By whiskerwill on 3/15/2010 4:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
They probably will.


Ballot screen is a good idea
By raddude9 on 3/16/2010 9:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
I must be one of the few people who thinks that the browser ballot scheme is a good idea. This is despite reading all the other peoples opinions on the matter.

For those with short memories Microsoft used illegal business practices to both achieve and maintain a monopoly on Operating System software. I do not think that they should be allowed to profit from these illegal activities to generate significant revenue. Because Web Browsers are different, unlike Paint or Word processors or other types of software, their usage alone is capable of generating significant sums of revenue (through including links, search bars and other advertising related features).




RE: Ballot screen is a good idea
By porkpie on 3/16/2010 6:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
"For those with short memories Microsoft used illegal business practices to both achieve and maintain a monopoly on Operating System software"

Other memories may be short, but yours is faulty. Microsoft did no such thing.

You are probably thinking of the earlier case against Microsoft in which the EU created a new market and defined it as "workgroup server market", then claimed Microsoft was monopolizing it. But not only was that claim flawed on many levels, it dealth with file/print/email serving, not OS software.


RE: Ballot screen is a good idea
By raddude9 on 3/17/2010 7:42:52 AM , Rating: 2
how is my memory Faulty, is it because I can remember all the way back to 1999:

From wikipedia:
quote:
Judge Jackson issued his findings of fact on November 5, 1999, which stated that Microsoft's dominance of the x86 based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to that monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, Real Networks, Linux, and others. Then on April 3, 2000, he issued a two-part ruling: his conclusions of law were that Microsoft had committed monopolization, attempted monopolization, and tying in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act


Waaaaaahh!!
By LRonaldHubbs on 3/15/2010 10:53:41 AM , Rating: 4
Cry me a river and I'll s*** you a raft.




By Performance Fanboi on 3/15/2010 4:55:32 PM , Rating: 3
Just wondering if anyone knows when the EU will be forcing Apple to add the ballot box to their OS.
/sarcasm




Scrren Size
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 10:13:34 AM , Rating: 2
Do these small companies think there is enough screen space to easily show EVERY little browser on the planet? This was a bad idea to begin with, now they will be forced to change it every time some little no name browser company doesn't see their name in the front page of this ballot.




By jah1subs on 3/15/2010 10:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
"EWeek reports that the rational behind making the ballot screen only show the five major browser options was fear that offering 12 browsers on one screen would be overwhelming and users would simply close the box and stick with IE."

If I remember correctly, decision experiments have shown this time and time again. These other six browser makers seem to believe that they will do better if Microsoft's market share increases. I have heard of "Flock" once before but NONE of the others.




By sinclaj1 on 3/15/2010 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to make my own browser. Don't know the name yet, but I figure if I make it, I can ask Microsoft to put it on their ballot screen. Hey...it's free advertising!




No free ride in Windows
By xprojected on 3/15/2010 3:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The petition stated, "It is clear that the final Choice Screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from. This is inconsistent with the EU Commission's stated goal for the Choice Screen—to provide European consumers with 'information on the 12 most widely used Web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these Web browsers.'"


And #(n+1) is going to whine that (n) isn't enough choices.

Where does it stop? Does Microsoft have to advertise for all media player companies, and make users pick one of those while installing as well? How about anti-virus/firewall software? Hell, let's just warn users that OSX and Linux are also available, and installation can just stop if they choose one of those. Who's going to make an educated browser choice based on a ballot screen? If users don't like Microsoft's programs, they can go find something else, download it, and try it out. Software makers are not entitled to promotion from Microsoft because they exist.




Why stop with browsers?
By beckster02 on 3/15/2010 8:29:00 PM , Rating: 2
Give me all the options for everything else that comes bundled with Windows! Microsoft, please give me options for Quicktime Player and Real Player, Star Office and Open Office, and all the rest. It's just not fair to all those other hard-working companies if you don't give me options.

By the way, what are all these browser things anyway? All I know is that when I click on the blue "E" I get the internet. :-P




stupid
By p05esto on 3/16/2010 12:15:12 AM , Rating: 2
If I was MS I would have pulled out of Europe and said "FU, we can do whatever we want with our software". What a crock of crap that they have to include competitor software. Who else on earth has ever had to do that, to beneit another company? Apple and Linux are worthy operating systems, the monopoly talk is stupid. MS is having a harder and harder time.




By rdawise on 3/16/2010 1:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
You have the companies complaining that there option isn't shown promiently enough...does that sound familiar? Where else would you want the name of you product displayed promiently...maybe in an advertisement?

This is nothing more than free advertisement. Why did Chrome become popular? Because of google search and youtube. What did Safari become popular? Because of it being bundled with their OS (no complaint there?). Why did FF become popular? See Linux. Opera? Cell phone and Ads. Do not cry for these lazy companies.




QQ
By MadMan007 on 3/16/2010 7:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
Cry more noobs.




MS is braindead as usual
By Pirks on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: MS is braindead as usual
By ertomas on 3/15/2010 2:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Being open source has nothing to do with this.

The problem is that the EU somehow thinks that MS cannot embed THEIR browser with THEIR operating system.

Also please read some before making such a statement.

quote:
They could have prevented all this by making IE open source like Apple did with Safari.


Safari is not open source. Apple's Webkit (it's engine) is.


RE: MS is braindead as usual
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 8:22:06 PM , Rating: 1
Webkit is open source, but I can't go and modify and make Safari how I want it, cause it is not open, it is very much closed.


RE: MS is braindead as usual
By rocky1234 on 3/15/2010 9:55:23 PM , Rating: 1
lol dude your way to funny if anyone is a troll on here it is you. The reason I say that is no matter what is someone mentions Apple or one of their products you jump out of the woodwork like nobodies business. In this thread you sprang out as soon as someone said the word Apple so yes that makes you the sites biggest troll of them all. We have Wintrolls on here & Mactrolls but you sir don't fit into any of those to spots but you do fit into Asstroll pretty good.

Oh & before you go & call me a Wintroll just know I use both Windows & Apple systems I like/dislike them the same. I also do not care what you have to say to this comment as I do not think you are bright enough for me to waste any farther time on you. Maybe if you actually started making valid points & less nonsense attacks on people your opinion would mean more to me or anyone else that reads this site.

You are here either to just cause trouble or you are here because you are paid to do so I tend to think it is just to cause trouble. My point is if you can't add anything insightful to the group chat then just go away please.

Now back on topic of the chat. The whole ballot system is stupid no company should be forced to promote other companies products whether it is Microsoft or Apple. The whole idea should be scrapped. Making apple or any other company do this is just gonna add to the problem they need to scrap the whole thing & start over.It is bad enough they were able to force Microsoft to do it.

The Browser I chose to use was what I wanted I didn't need a screen telling me which one to pick I have a mind of my own & know which one I like & adding more choices to the ones already there is just making everything even more confusing for the end user. People we have minds maybe the EU should realize that & stop getting into everyone's business.


RE: MS is braindead as usual
By Helbore on 3/16/2010 9:25:30 AM , Rating: 1
Aren't you the one who usually bangs on about how Apple's closed platform policy is what makes them successful?

Now it's because they make things open source. Anyone would think you were biased or something.


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