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Internet Explorer The Internet Businesses

Opera Tells EU That Microsoft's IE Hurts the Web 338

kastababy writes "In yet another instance of up-and-coming browser developers fighting back against the Microsoft behemoth, the makers of Opera have filed a complaint with the European Union against Microsoft. In their complaint, they allege that IE's 77% market share abuses its dominant position by tying IE to Windows and its refusal to accept Web standards, causing significant interoperability issues. The complaint also requests that the EU's Antitrust Division force Microsoft to separate IE from Windows and accept several different standards, thereby resolving major interoperability issues and providing consumers more choice in the browser market." Update: 12/14 19:47 GMT by Z : We also discussed this yesterday.
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Opera Tells EU That Microsoft's IE Hurts the Web

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  • about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pkadd ( 1203286 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @03:31PM (#21700960) Homepage
    Microsoft is the one company that comes up with new standards, most of them poor. However, they are also the ones who are the worst at following well established standards, as well as adapting to new commonly accepted ones. For example, when do you think IE will support SVG without any 3rd party plugins?
  • Re:about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @03:41PM (#21701118)

    SVG is almost on the bottom of my wish list. How 'bout meeting the CSS 2.1 spec without having to implement any hacks? I'd be plenty happy with just that!

    Question [slashdot.org]

    Answer [slashdot.org]

  • Re:Dupe? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @03:41PM (#21701122) Journal
    A comment about a dupe marked (Score:-1, Redundant), talk about irony.
  • by Buelldozer ( 713671 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @03:48PM (#21701216)
    If there is a finer mobile browser on the market I have yet to experience it. Additionally, can you name another browser with supported releases that run on any web enabled device from game consoles to personal computers?
  • Re:Waaambulance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Friday December 14, 2007 @03:49PM (#21701242) Homepage Journal
    Wrong. MSIE has always been a driving force behind and an early adopter of web standards - they just don't seem to be able to finish, and never go back and fix their old stuff. IE isn't a money-maker for MS, so they dont' throw money at it. IMHO, they should open the code and let the community have at it, with them for oversight. MSIE is a very visible part of Windows, and leveraging the community like that to polish their image would be a brilliant move.
  • Re:Waaambulance (Score:1, Interesting)

    by halo_2_rocks ( 805685 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:22PM (#21701720)
    Microsoft had a good reason to suspend development on IE for a few years. They don't make any money on IE and Microsoft is a for-profit company. It was generous of them to create a new version and to do additional work, but this is bad for shareholders. The main goal of IE has been two-fold 1) provide a platform for Microsoft techology and 2) provide a basic browser for the masses. They've succeeded at this. They should stop doing additional work since it is a waste of resources and concentrate in the areas where they make money. Let the for-free crowd fight over this. Web browsers is a stupid business and shouldn't be something Microsoft wastes its time and resources on.
  • Re:Waaambulance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arkus ( 15103 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:46PM (#21702070)
    Undercut the only real competition and drive them out of business by offering a free web browser then "extend and embrace" to make it incompatible with existing standards, brilliant!
  • Re:about time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by diskis ( 221264 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @04:56PM (#21702196)
    Actually, IE7 is a step backwards. I work in software support for a large computer manufacturer. You would not believe the amount of calls we get from people who downgraded from IE6 to IE7 and IE7 suddenly stops working. Granted it has the reset button which is a step forward, but sometimes that too fails. No amounts of registry edits, or system restore gets it working. It stops. We install Firefox and the customer is happy.

    Now that I think of it, our team should really be getting some ffox swag. A t-shirt would be nice. We do maybe 5 or 10 ffox installs per tech per day :)

    BTW, I think you'll "appreciate" the following link: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/frontpage/HA010429271033.aspx [microsoft.com] :)
  • by Bobdoer ( 727516 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @05:01PM (#21702240) Homepage Journal
    If you run WoW, you've run IE. If you've ever installed any third party programs, you've likely run IE.
  • IE the bady!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nottoogeeky ( 869124 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @05:32PM (#21702630)
    I've been a web designer for 8 years now. The last few years i've been building to css and standards. All I can say is:- I would enjoy my job much much more, if 50% of my time wasn't fixing IE bugs and having to include seperate styles for every version of IE. I hate Microsoft for doing this to me. They had a chance to make it better with IE7, but they just fucked it up...again!!! And to all you I.T folks out there. Get IE7 on all your machines, I'm fed up coding for the 30% of users in their offices still on IE6!!! Pleeaaasseee!!!!
  • by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @05:33PM (#21702654) Homepage
    I keep an installation file of Internet Explorer 3.0 available on a floppy disk for emergencies.
  • When websites don't work because of a non-standardized browser, they should be redirected to a site that explains this and offers links to browsers that comply with standards.
    True, a web-based business can detect and exclude users of browsers that don't support what IE doesn't support, but any such business who markets to the general public will likely lose a lot of customers. I have run into four cases in my Firefox evangelism:
    1. People who browse the Web from the break room at work, from a public library, or from any other computer that they can use but not install programs on.
    2. People who try to download Firefox Setup, but they are too inexperienced with Windows to save to the desktop or to correlate the location in a Save As dialog boxes with the location in Windows Explorer.
    3. People who prefer not to install software that they didn't hear about in a TV ad, thinking that little-known software is more likely to be malware.
    4. People who manage to install Firefox, but because the icons look different from those of Internet Explorer, they cannot find their way around.
    Do you know of any special techniques that a web site maintainer can use to handle these cases?

    but I have to keep a copy of IE around because my bank's website only works with IE.
    I don't know whether there's a Chase branch near you, but Chase.com works fine for me in Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 Beta 1. Which bank do you use, so that other Slashdot users can consider transferring their balances away from this bank?
  • Re:Waaambulance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nick.ian.k ( 987094 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @06:33PM (#21703378)

    In reality, people can just code for IE and ignore the other browsers and hit most of the web.

    Sure they can. Except coding for IE alone is still a bitch, and ignoring other browsers is incredibly naive as IE no longer holds 95%+ dominance as it once did. In reality, these people are stupid as far as creating web content goes.

    The only instance where this is an acceptable practice in business terms is when the client specifically says, "compatibility with anything other than IE is not necessary" - either because it's for an internally-geared site where the end users are definitely only using a particular version of IE, or because they don't want want to pay for the time sunk into cross-browser QA. It still winds up costing quite a bit of money in the end, though, because as mentioned before, there *is no standard* for how markup behaves in IE, let alone between different versions of IE. Developing for IE is a case of remembering what sort of breakage there is between versions and attempting to account for each mangled take on how HTML and CSS is supposed to be written.

    Furthermore, even if you want to discount other browsers to the point where you pooh-pooh the significant adoption of Firefox and the popularity of Safari on the Mac, you're totally screwed when you try to implement the design the client's in-house or third-party designer created on their Mac and they call you up to say how broken it is in Safari. Then you'll wind up engaging in the same compatibility gymnastics you would've engaged in for IE, except you'll be having to transfer the IE-compatible markup and styling to a separate stylesheet because you'll now find yourself having to write to standards to make it work. Suddenly, you'll realize you wasted an insane amount of time not writing to standards and then fixing things for IE.

    It's not really Microsoft's problem - it's everyone else's. Trying to get Microsoft to see it as something they need to fix is futile. They don't need to do a thing. They have no interest in making the web interoperable. Why would they?

    To compete and attempt to remain relevant! They've already lost more browser market share in the past few years than anyone had anticipated being possible. The one and only advantage that IE has at this point is being the default browser on Windows. That's it. When even laypeople are using other browsers, that's a pretty tenuous advantage.

  • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Friday December 14, 2007 @07:01PM (#21703694) Journal

    Having said all that, no I don't agree with Opera on this one - but Opera is still my choice of browser for speed and compliance.

    Funnily enough, I do agree with Opera on this one, though I don't use Opera.
    It may be faster and nicer in many ways, but some Firefox extensions are simply way too valuable to me.

  • Re:IE the bady!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ikar_rb ( 1201727 ) on Friday December 14, 2007 @08:37PM (#21704428)
    I'm an IT guy, and to hell with putting IE7 on all user desktops, I wont put that POS on anything. I find more websites which work with Firefox than work with IE7. IE6 is the *only* browser which works with every site I can find. It's shameful, but that's the true situation. I'm *not* going to replace a web browser which works with 100% of the sites with one that works with 90% of the sites- that's insanity. The number of support calls our IT helpdesk would get would bury them. Keep in mind that I loathe IE. I personally use firefox as my primary browser, and push all my users to do that as well. But if a website doesn't work in firefox, it will work in IE6, unless it's completely broken. I really do hope that the EU decides to force MSFT to comply with the standards (or pay millions/day in fines)- that would be the best thing which could happen to the web. If everyone knows that the standards work, you write your code once, and you forget it. A lot of stuff would break until everyone updated, but long term it would be wonderful. Their OS monopoly is giving them the power to break the standards so that competitors aren't on an even playing field, even after you get past "which browser comes pre-loaded".
  • Re:But... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Saturday December 15, 2007 @12:44AM (#21705868)

    I agree with improving the browser and following the standards, but why ask to untie Windows and IE?

    Because it is illegal to tie a product you have monopolized to one in a different market.

    ...what about MacOS X and Linux?

    It is illegal for them to tie products in markets they have monopolized with one in a different market. That is why the EU is investigating Apple's market share with the iPod (since they are close to having monopoly influence in that market) and may force them to remove the ties between the iPod and the ItTunes store and iTunes software.

    why should Microsoft sell an OS without a web browser

    Because it has destroyed both the market for Web browsers and slowed progress of Web technologies to a crawl. Standards that were finalized over a decade ago and implemented by every other browser are still not viable technologies because of MS's refusal to implement them and the importance of that due to their monopoly in desktop OS's. Why do you object to IE having to compete on even ground with other browsers? All MS has to do is ship all the other browsers with Windows as well as IE or stop shipping IE with it or agree to abide by the standards so the Web can move forward. What, exactly is your objection to that?

    why punish a company out to extinction?

    Are you implying that if MS has to compete fairly in the browser market they will become extinct?

    Is just because it isn't European?

    The EU has enforced their antitrust laws against dozens of European companies in the past 5 years. For that matter, the US courts ordered even more drastic measures then this when they convicted MS of abusing US antitrust law, but then there was an election where MS was one of the largest contributors to both the Republican and Democratic parties and suddenly the new people running the DoJ decided MS's punishment should be changed from being broken up, to the absolutely nothing at all would be done.

    but what business do they have with the OS?

    Windows is a monopoly. When you have a monopoly, you can tie it to other markets to undermine capitalist free trade in those markets. Thus, when you have a monopoly, you can't tie that monopoly to other markets, because it breaks capitalism. For years IE has been inferior to other browsers in almost every way, and yet it still has the lion's share of the market. That is a market failure. The only thing wrong with Firefox is it can't handle Web pages intentionally broken to work with IE, or using MS proprietary technologies that only work with IE. Both of those problems exist only because of MS's monopoly abuse, thus they are artificial problems introduced into a competing product, through the use of a monopoly in another market. That is criminal, in both the US and the EU. Even american companies like Sun, however, have been forced to go to the European courts because the US ones are so corrupt and bribable. Before you go slandering the EU courts as anti-american, maybe you should research how the US courts have been behaving.

  • Re:Waaambulance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Saturday December 15, 2007 @05:43AM (#21706894)
    and yet a small private company consisting of tens of individuals (opera) can make a standards compliant browser while microsoft (60000 employees and 20 billion profit every year) cannot.

    so i must conclude that either microsoft is incompetent or microsoft is deliberately not implementing the standards.
  • Not the whole way... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eternal Annoyance ( 815010 ) on Saturday December 15, 2007 @10:40AM (#21708224)
    I agree with the view that IE should be removed from windows... but this doesn't hurt Microsoft enough.

    Basically a lot of people are not able to change platforms due to one piece of software which has been in windows since windows 98... Nearly all games currently available need directx to run, which is deeply embedded in windows. If microsoft is forced to distribute directx separately from windows and charge for it per installation (per seat), I think a lot of game developers will choose a different api, thereby allowing games to be ported easier to other platforms.

    Another thing: Microsoft should be stopped from tampering with the hardware market. As it stands most "cheap" motherboards and laptops have trouble running anything other then windows due to a severely foobar'ed acpi (for which we can thank the severely broken microsoft acpi compiler).

Put no trust in cryptic comments.