Print 47 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Sep 28 at 12:27 PM

Microsoft previously admitted to not offering users a choice in browsers for Windows 7

Microsoft is been in hot water more than once over its practices of bundling browsers with its Windows operating system. Several years ago, EU regulators forced Microsoft to go to a ballot screen that allowed people more clarity in their choice for browsers. More recently, Microsoft has found itself under fire for changes to the browser ballot screen in Windows 7 and could face additional fines.
EU regulators announced today that they are preparing to charge Microsoft for failing to comply with the 2009 ruling.
"The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company's breach of an agreement. We are working on this," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters.
"It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognized its breach of the agreement."
Regulators began investigating Microsoft in July; marking the first time Microsoft had failed to meet commitments under the EU antitrust ruling against it. Microsoft faces massive fines of up to 10% of its global turnover reports Reuters. Surprisingly, Microsoft admitted that it did not offer users a choice of browsers in Windows 7.
Microsoft may not be the only major technology firm in hot water with EU regulators. Almunia has also warned Google that it faces problems if it doesn't do more to address allegations that it may have undermined its competitors in the search market.
"If remedies offered by Google can eliminate our concerns, we will succeed in reaching an agreement. Otherwise, the legal road is a long one," Almunia said.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Funny....
By dark matter on 9/27/2012 9:28:15 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft shouldn't have integrated the browser to the OS.

RE: Funny....
By Zuul on 9/27/2012 9:40:26 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/27/2012 10:09:53 AM , Rating: 3
Everything is webcentric nowadays. So you would rather have technology stall to make it "fair"

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 10:31:55 AM , Rating: 4
This does not have, and never had, anything to do with technology stalling!

Having browsers sold as applications bundled with the OS should never be the issue. Virtually every OS -- whether for a workstation, desktop, laptop, ultrabook, tablet or smartphone -- ships with a browser.

The issue started when Microsoft many years ago integrated the browser into the OS -- it shipped as an integral component of the Windows OS. All other browsers were applications running on top of the Windows OS. To top it off Microsoft lied in court, on the record, that it would completely cripple the OS if IE were either extracted or disabled. (It was shown by the prosecution that IE could be disabled in a few minutes with no known negative effects on the Windows OS itself.)

The problem there was that before this came up Navigator was by far the market leader and IE was not even is second place. Microsoft's OS had 95+% market share (some estimated as high as 98+%). By integrating IE into the OS it gave Microsoft an automatic 90+% market share in browsers, if let stand. The part deemed illegal was leveraging a monopoly position (the OS) to force a monopoly position in a different market (the browser).

However, virtually all of this is behind us. Unfortunately for the EU, their regulators are still living in the past. IE is no where near as integrated into the Windows OS as it once was. Many browsers are flourishing. IE is even slowly losing market share.

Should Microsoft live up to its regulatory agreements? Absolutely.

Is there any justification for the EU to foist a significant fine on Microsoft because of this breach? Absolutely NOT.

The EU should just agree with Microsoft to some non trivial fine so that Microsoft pays closer attention to their regulatory agreements then LET THIS THING GO.

Enough already!

RE: Funny....
By kingmotley on 9/27/2012 10:57:25 AM , Rating: 2
It was shown by the prosecution that IE could be disabled in a few minutes with no known negative effects on the Windows OS itself.

No it wasn't, not really. The prosecution wanted Microsoft to remove all HTTP functionality from Windows, which includes the trident rendering engine. The prosecution's "demonstration" did very little other than removing the shortcut from the desktop. Most of the underlying components that they were arguing needed to be removed were still there. Another demonstration was made with the components removed that they requested and showed that many parts of 3rd party programs and functions of the OS itself stopped working.

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 5:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your reference to removing a shortcut from the desktop is one of at least three different ways to defeat the IE implementation that was shown during the trial -- and the simplest, least effective of all three.

It was also shown that with a bit of hacking you could turn off all typical browser functionality from the OS. It was not supremely difficult. It did not destroy the OS.

If you turned off all browser functionality within the OS did it negatively effect any application that needed the OS to provide that functionality? Of course, yes. That functionality was no longer there! That was the point of removing it. Did it cripple the OS itself? No.

Microsoft could have kept IE as a standard app with other apps calling through inter application calls for the user chosen browser app to provide the necessary functionality. Microsoft chose to integrate IE and its related functionalities into the OS.

It could be turned off. Microsoft said that if it was turned off it would cripple the whole OS on a global basis. Not true. While I never took the time to perform the hack myself, I know people who did and still have a quite functional version of the OS.

RE: Funny....
By Manch on 9/28/2012 2:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
If you turned off all browser functionality within the OS did it negatively effect any application that needed the OS to provide that functionality? Of course, yes. That functionality was no longer there! That was the point of removing it. Did it cripple the OS itself? No.

That's like arguing that even though I don't have tires on my car it's still a working car because everything else works. Everything else does work but I still need the damn tires for the car to work as intended.

RE: Funny....
By Hardin on 9/27/2012 10:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
So how do you go on the internet to download another browser if the operating system doesn't have a browser?

RE: Funny....
By Shadowself on 9/27/2012 10:36:38 AM , Rating: 2
There is a huge difference between bundling a browser *with* the OS and bundling a browser *into* the OS.

Microsoft tried the latter and got smacked as I described elsewhere in this thread.

The problem is that the EU has not recognized that both the browser implementations (including IE's implementation) and competitive landscape have changed.

RE: Funny....
By andrewaggb on 9/27/2012 11:43:19 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is... I didn't use IE because it was bundled, I used it because it was way better than netscape.

And nowadays, do I use IE because it's bundled? No, I use Chrome and FF... because I like them better.

MS didn't block competing products, so...., to me it's a non-issue.

Anyways, I think WebOS, ChromeOS, etc show that MS isn't alone in thinking a browser should be part of the OS. And with Windows 8, it's doing it again (Metro apps)

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 11:59:06 AM , Rating: 1
It's just excuses for MS bashing idiots to make a controversy out of nothing. Whether or not the browser is part of the OS or not is irrelevant, IF consumer choice isn't harmed. And it wasn't. End of "controversy" imo.

RE: Funny....
By BZDTemp on 9/27/2012 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Consumer choice was harmed. Microsoft used their OS control to push IE (and other stuff) to gain control of more markets. Damage has been done and was it not for the EU and other countries calling MS out for it the damage would be much worse.

RE: Funny....
By andrewaggb on 9/27/2012 12:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's a bit of gray area. Download windows server core (doesn't have ie) and then try to download something to it.

pretty quickly you'll be writing a powershell script in notepad... and that sucks (but at least they bundled notepad, or we'd be really screwed). It's unreasonable to not include a browser in a desktop os. It does put them in a position of power and most people will just use their browser etc. But it's a bad experience to not include a browser.

Same thing with the new windows market... poor experience to not include one, but by having one will damage the competition. this is actually worse though because afaik, other companies can't make their own metro market apps. Seems genuinely anti-competitive.

RE: Funny....
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2012 1:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Oh come on. Seriously just shut up. A browser wasn't "pushed", it was given to customers for free. You know, that's a good thing in most people's book.

Seriously what were they supposed to do exactly? Please tell me. Release an OS with no browser? Or release an OS loaded with multiple competing browsers to satisfy your child-like notions of "fairness"?

Your idiotic anti-MS rantings on this are just pathetic. Go back into your cave, troll.

RE: Funny....
By Schrag4 on 9/27/2012 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 3
I really can't believe you're sticking with this narrative. Consumer choice can only truly be harmed if MS had prevented consumers from discovering and installing other browsers. It's not up to MS to educate consumers on competing browsers, it's up to the consumers themselves. If you really care about grandma using the best browser, go to her house and install it yourself. Grandma isn't harmed by her lack of education about browsers - she couldn't care less.

Oh, wait, did you post this from IE? Are you having trouble installing another browser? I'm sure someone here can walk you through it - hang in there, buddy.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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