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EU Accepts Microsoft's Browser Choice Promise 336

itwbennett writes "Hurrah! The European Commission's antitrust investigation of Microsoft's position in the browser market is over. The EC has accepted Microsoft's commitment to offer users of 'Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 a choice screen through which they can pick the browsers they want to install on their PC,' writes Peter Sayer in an article on ITworld. 'The screen will be offered to users in the European Union and some neighboring countries for the next five years via the Windows Update mechanism. In addition, PC manufacturers will be allowed to ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer.'"
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EU Accepts Microsoft's Browser Choice Promise

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  • Hurray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by AlexiaDeath ( 1616055 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:40AM (#30457364)
    No more IE being forced down our throats... Except when we need to access our corporate intranet.
    • I don’t get these comments about IE required for corporate intranet. I’ve never seen something like that.

      Also: You are free to allow another company to buy your services, or just sell right to end-users.

    • by smartr ( 1035324 )
      Or if you need to get that DRM'd music ripped from Windows Media Player activated on your mom's computer...
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I would like to see a context-sensitive use of URL:s so that some URL:s starts IE others Firefox and yet others Opera.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by ByOhTek ( 1181381 )

      Yep. I've never had a choice but to use IE on my windows machines. Nope, never. That firefox installer I have on a usb key, with the '.exe'? Yeah, that certainly couldn't be for windows...

      Preventing MS from telling OEMs that they can't install other browsers is reasonable - MS shouldn't be able to tell them that, but to make it so that MS has put the effort to, what amounts to, advertise for their competators... Why not make Apple do that on their machines? Why not make dell offer the option of non-dell mot

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Why not make Apple do that on their machines?

        Because Apple isn't a monopoly. It can't be an abuse of monopoly power if you aren't a monopoly in the first place.

  • Yeah right. (Score:2, Informative)

    by jack2000 ( 1178961 )
    Good luck with that. IE is still a huge chunk of the shell and is shipped with XP weather you like it or not. (can't comment on win7/vista)
    • Good luck with that. IE is still a huge chunk of the shell and is shipped with XP weather you like it or not. (can't comment on win7/vista)

      Which for the five millionth time, was not the issue here. And I seem to remember reading that the browser ballot will come as an update to XP too.

    • Re:Yeah right. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:26PM (#30460062) Homepage

      There is nothing wrong with IE being included. The big difference is that OTHER programs can be included.

      Buried in the story about the "ballot box" is the REAL story: "In addition, PC manufacturers will be allowed to ship computers with competing Web browsers, as well as or instead of Internet Explorer."

      The real deal is that OEM manufactures were NOT ALLOWED TO SHIP A COMPETITOR TO IE. Not at all as long as they wanted to keep their volume discout pricing for Windows. This is the REAL antitrust settlement. Microsoft astroturfers have managed to bury this fact under so much fud about the "browser ballot box" that it is almost hidden even here at Slashdot. Disgusting.

  • Next up (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:44AM (#30457424) Journal

    Uberdork: "Now if only we could get them to ship Windows with a choice to use bash."

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      That's why I usually install cygwin on my computers; I just can't get used to Windows' commands.
    • by Ralish ( 775196 )

      Well, not bash, but they do ship their high-end editions of Vista/7 and most (all?) Server 2008/R2 editions with csh and ksh as part of Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications [], an optional component. And, there's always Cygwin []. But really, PowerShell [] is better than all of the above. Yes, I know I just pissed off a stack of people devoted to the inherent and forever eternal supremacy of the Unix command-line paradigm, and while I would have agreed with you until the advent of PoSH, I can't anymore. Those who h

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dkf ( 304284 )

        But really, PowerShell is better than all of the above.

        Depends on whether you think that types are a good thing or a bad thing in shells. If you like types, then PowerShell is indeed MSNirvana(TM). Those of us who think that types are just an annoyance when it comes to sticking programs together to do cool stuff, well, we're just never going to be all that impressed with MS's offering here and will stick to other technologies.

        Who's right? I'm definitely biased, but I rather like the POSIX way of doing things.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        PowerShell is very cool but in reality it's not just about the shell, it's also about the tools: typical linux install has a better selection and there are loads and load more available with just a quick "apt-cache search problem ... apt-get install new-tool"

    • Real geeks prefer zsh! ^^

      And ubergeeks prefer a shell for their Emacs VM. ;)

    • I know this was meant to be funny, but I figured I would point this out. Windows 7 with the subsystem for UNIX installed allows you to download and install the GNU utilities from Interop Systems' SUA community. Included are such things as the Apache server, Perl, openssh, gcc, and bash. I run bash on windows 7 and have found 0 problems with it. Comes in very handy.

  • YAY (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kc_spot ( 1677970 )
    Congrats Europe!! you'll finally be able to use Firefox and Opera or maybe even Chrome!! ...4:1 = a majority of stick with IE...
  • oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kennethmci ( 1472923 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:46AM (#30457446)
    sounds great - although, i can hear the customes complaining 'i cant find internet explorer'! i love the alternative browsers , but cant help feel the 'average consumer' doesn't really care that much? i have actually installed firefox on family members computers, and couldnt really answer ( with info that they found useful ) what the difference was... my family dont really care to much about usability compliance and security ( well - until theyre shot down themselves with it! )
    • by daid303 ( 843777 )

      You are doing it wrong. On the ignorant user you should just force it. Remove any IE shortcuts and they'll be fine.

      I replaced IE with Firefox and Outlook with Thunderbird at my parents years ago. Told them 'the red icon is internet', 'the blue icon is email', and they are happy. The amount of sites that don't work in firefox are limited, and yes, I got lucky with the online banking. That all works in FF.
      Now if they only learn that they can install java/flash updates without my help then they'll do fine.

      • by clodney ( 778910 )

        I can understand replacing IE with Firefox, but unless you are planning on using IMAP instead of MAPI I think Outlook is a far more capable product than Thunderbird. Free as in beer I understand, but if your parents already have a valid Outlook license why would you take it away?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          My parents use web based e-mail clients happily. I'm yet to see a free e-mail provider with MAPI. Gmail does POP and IMAP. Outlook does not do IMAP. POP3 just confuses them because it deletes all their mail from server and they can read it at other computers. That leaves Thunderbird, but honestly the Gmail web interface is better, if you have broadband and connection is always available.
          • Thunderbird 3 made some big strides in usability, especially for IMAP (and Gmail specifically). If you haven't looked into it, it may be worth a try, though it sounds like you already have the situation settled...

          • You can setup Outlook to use IMAP for Gmail and it works. It's slow to sync, but it works.

            Outlook 2007 with Gmail []
        • by daid303 ( 843777 )

          Who said that they had a valid license?
          They are using POP3.
          And thunderbird is a less target for viruses (which was a huge issue when I replaced it years ago)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Outlook may be a good Exchange client, but calling it a capable e-mail client is stretching it...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My dad certainly started to use the red ring thing for internet after I had to clean off porn spam off his PC. He is in his sixties and was somewhat embarrassed about it. The rest of the family does it because I named it The Internet and put it on the desktop. Since then time needed to spend cleaning both family computers during my home visits has gone down to about an hour per year. So the user might not care, but the tech savvy family member that gets the free cleanup work does.
      • Exactly. I switched my mother to Gmail last year and forced a Firefox/Thunderbird transition earlier this year. After a couple of weeks of discomfort, she's happier now than she ever was before. No more spam, very few suspicious browser issues. My regular upkeep for her has been reduced to double-checking her Windows updates and upgrading/reinstalling antivirus software once a year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jgtg32a ( 1173373 )
        Yeah, I did the same for my Mom, I renamed the Firefox short cut to Internet Explorer and changed the icon as well. I don't think she noticed.
    • by jours ( 663228 )

      The average user doesn't care. At all. I replaced my mother's computer with a Mac Mini:

      Mom: "Where's the Internet? The blue e?"
      Me: "Click on the compass instead."

      One browser is as secure as any other to matter what she does she still gets fake phishing e-mails that scare her. And to her they all have identical features because Yahoo and Facebook look and work exactly the same. The difference to her is - literally - which picture she clicks on to open it.

      When people get that dialog they'll happ

  • Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dotwhynot ( 938895 )
    This is great! Now all the users that really wanted a different browser finally will be able to get one!

    (And all users that don't care or don't understand will pick something at random, from a list of up to 12 (!) different browsers, is going to make life interesting for developers again now that we finally were seeing IE6 starting to disappear :)
    • by nmb3000 ( 741169 )

      This is great! Now all the users that really wanted a different browser finally will be able to get one!

      (And all users that don't care or don't understand will pick something at random, from a list of up to 12 (!) different browsers, is going to make life interesting for developers again now that we finally were seeing IE6 starting to disappear :)

      Ah, yes. Now instead of needing to realistically support 3 major browsers, web developers will need to make sure they completely support 12 (!) browsers. The dis

  • Hurrah? (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is yet another instance of the state violating our rights. "Boo", not "hurrah".

    Not that I'm a huge fan of Microsoft. Financially it's not like it's going to hurt them or anything (I don't think?). But Windows is Microsoft's OS. Why should anyone have the right to force them to be "fair" and let users decide which browser to install? What's next... should we start forcing Microsoft to include Emacs, Vim, Notepad++, and Notepad2 because it's "unfair" that Notepad is included with such a popular OS?

    You do

    • Re:Hurrah? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by minsk ( 805035 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:03AM (#30457682)

      When governments are not a huge customer of Microsoft, there might be some ground to complain about them being subject to anti-trust laws.

      For the moment, "Microsoft tax" is far too literal. And your comment far too close to the usual silliness of reducing regulations on government-supported monopolies...

      • This does not compute. You could say that the government, as a result of these cases, shouldn't sponsor Microsoft until they're a proper law-abiding company, but if you did that for all companies that run into a lawsuit here and there, you wouldn't be able to use almost any products in government.

        Notice that I said after the fact, not before. The government may very well use Ford vehicles for all their transit needs and then end up suing Ford because of some other corporate failure like tax evasion. The

  • Since Internet Explorer is integrated into the OS, does this mean they changed the OS significantly or just removed the interface? If you just get rid of the icon and/or executable for IE, the operating system would still use the underlying functionality of IE for Internet access so some exploits would still exist and would require continued patching. This change does protect the user on behavior abuses involving the user when the browser is in use but not other Windows features using the underlying functio

    • by RobVB ( 1566105 )

      isn't removing IE like removing a factory stereo CD deck that also does the GPS navigation and diagnostic interface

      No, it's not. IE isn't awesome like that.

    • by lyml ( 1200795 )
      Yes, they just removed the excecutable for IE. The engine is still there.
    • In Windows 7 IE can be "removed" via the Program Features control panel, but all that does is remove IExplore.exe (which is little more than a loader stub), removes the icons, and unregisters the HTTP shell protocol handlers. IE actually remains and can be embedded by applications (such as the desktop shell).

      The previously proposed IEless Windows 7e, also "removes" IE in the same way but does not offer the option to re-enable IE. On both Windows 7 and Windows 7e dropping the IExplore.exe file in to the Inte

  • I hate IE as much as the next guy, and have no love for MS in general, but I don't see what the big deal is? Why wouldn't they integrate their own browser with their own operating system? They don't even charge for IE, so how can it be a monopoly issue? I must be missing something. Are they going to have include the option of installing crimson editor instead of notepad? How about BB4Win instead of explorer.exe? They don't stop you from installing other browsers, so who cares? Grandma's stuck with IE becau

  • by ActionJesus ( 803475 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:06AM (#30457748)

    Welcome to Windows!

    Looks like you need to install a browser. Would you like:

    A) Internet Explorer, the latest and most secure browser from Microsoft
    B) Firefox, a browser made by terrorists that want access to your computer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bcmm ( 768152 )
      They'd never get away with that, but they will get away with this:

      You must install one of:
      A) Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 *
      C) Mozilla Firefox 3

      And let the users form their own uninformed opinions of which one comes with the newest, shiniest internet.
      And of course, if they avoid the phrase "which web browser", a lot of users will think they're being asked to choose between the internet and something they've never heard of (these are the ones who successfully got through XP's network setup wizard by clic
      • by Inda ( 580031 )
        Then the obvious answer is Mozilla Firefox 12!

        Are people really that stupid though? I mean, I was forward another chain email this morning about a virus that had been confirmed by Lord Norton himself, but I don't think these people would fall foul to a crazy, made-up numbering system.
        • You really think people wouldn't fall for this? Average, non-technical, uninformed computer users? Hell, Slackware had to artifically inflate their version number several years back due to confusion from Linux users because Red Hat's version number was so much higher. This was back in 1999, when the only people using Linux were, for the most part, pretty strong from a technical standpoint (I mean even moreso than today).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by selven ( 1556643 )

        You are buying a new computer, please choose:

        A) Windows 7
        B) Mac OSX 10.6
        C) Ubuntu 10.04
        D) OpenSUSE 11.2
        E) Fedora 12

        Look who's winning now.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by flabordec ( 984984 )

        * Remember, they are currently working on incrementing their version number as fast as they think they can get away with.


        • IE 6 was released on August 27, 2001
        • IE 7 was released on October 18, 2006
        • IE 8 was released on March 19, 2009


        • Firefox 1 was released on November 9, 2004
        • Firefox 2 was released on October 24, 2006
        • Firefox 3 was released on June 17, 2008
        • Firefox 4 is dated for October - November 2010

        From where I see it the release schedule of Firefox is incrementing the version number far more frequently. And besides, who cares? There's some amazing 0.99 version software and some amazing 10.5 version software. Don't h

    • That's just about right, but you forgot another point.....

      The IE choice is a large, attractive button with the word 'Yes' on it. The Firefox choice is a hyperlink in x-small size, off to the side, starting with, "No thanks. I'll try the other one".

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.