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View Full Version : Microsoft finally gives in about Internet Explorer



drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 01:22 PM
Link (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/business/global/17msft.html)
As I said a few weeks ago, Microsoft will begin offering other browsers to users of IE and on new Windows installations. After $2.44 billion in fines from the EU, users will be given the choice of up to 12 different browsers to install instead of IE.

Web developers around the world fell to the ground with tears of joy and relief.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 03:28 PM
It's kind of a double edged sword IMO. Does Apple or Google have to do the same? So far as I know, safari is bundled and is the default on OSX. I'm right up near the front of the line when it comes to wanting IE to either die or get its standards support on track, but when does it become OK to dictate to ANY company what they can and cannot sell with their products? If I write two applications and bundle them together, am I being anti-competitive? What about ubuntu? It bundles firefox and leaves it as the default browser.

This should certainly help trim down market share a bit for IE (though many non-technical people will probably still choose IE because they don't know anything different.)

Not trying to be argumentative, but seriously, why is this OK? I don't think anyone doubts that Microsoft isn't exactly a friendly competitor, but as far as I'm concerned it has every right to bundle its own software together, after all, they wrote it. If you don't want it, don't use it......seemed to work for me just fine.

I guess the core of my question is, other than than their reputation and scale, what makes this any different than Apple, Ubuntu, or any independent software company that bundles its own software together?

Dean440
12-16-2009, 04:10 PM
I'm all for trimming down the market share of IE, Windows, and anything Microsoft as well. It does seem kind of unfair that they can be fined billions of dollars just because they're winning out competitively. It just seems like Kmart suing Wal-mart because more people go to Wal-mart.

But I'm just glad IE's market share is going to fall. It's an annoying browser. I hope Windows falls down a bit from its ridiculous 91% world market share as well.

tomws
12-16-2009, 04:28 PM
Not trying to be argumentative, but seriously, why is this OK?

It's OK because it's 1) the EU, and 2) Microsoft. The EU doesn't like free enterprise. No one likes Microsoft.

Most everyone will look the other way until it affects a corporation they like. Perhaps MS will counter that Sun/Oracle should offer MSSQL and Access along with its own db products. Or Burger King will argue that McDonald's should offer Whoppers alongside Big Macs. Who knows?

I also don't mean to defend the festering canker that is Internet Explorer (or anything from Microsoft, for that matter), but this should be called what it is: just another unnecessary governmental intrusion into the private sector. It's coming to the US, too. We're already beginning to dictate compensation for corporate executives.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 05:09 PM
Does Apple or Google have to do the same?

Not trying to be argumentative, but seriously, why is this OK?

Because Microsoft performed illegal anti-competitive measures in Europe. THAT is the reason all this came about. It's the same reason they were fined over a billion dollars in the US and more by 7 US States and are under continued Federal oversight right now.

I thought we went over all this before.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 05:13 PM
The EU doesn't like free enterprise.To the contrary, this came about to defend free enterprise.
No one likes Microsoft.Why do you think that is?


Perhaps MS will counter that Sun/Oracle should offer MSSQL and Access along with its own db products. Or Burger King will argue that McDonald's should offer Whoppers alongside Big Macs.What anti-competitive measures did McDonald's and Oracle do to deserve that?

tomws
12-16-2009, 05:59 PM
To the contrary, this came about to defend free enterprise.
Ostensibly. "[D]efend free enterprise", though, typically does not mean that companies [I]must provide competitors' products. In this context, it should rather address inhibiting/prohibiting access or use of those products, which is where all this started, of course. These are different.


Why do you think that is?
Honestly? Because they're big and "successful". Most people probably won't care about their anti-competitive history, their ineptness in various fields, or that Internet Explorer is a steaming load. Many are simply jealous that Bill the geek is a billionaire and they're not.


What anti-competitive measures did McDonald's and Oracle do to deserve that?
If you're implying that they've never practiced anti-competition, I think you're incorrect. However, the point, again, is that companies shouldn't be forced to provide the competition's products. That's monkeying with the market and it's not a job for the government in a (nominally) capitalistic society.

nick1988
12-16-2009, 06:10 PM
Here we go again ^_^

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 06:46 PM
Here we go again ^_^

Yeah, people would rather make things up without reading the facts spelled out long ago.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 07:25 PM
All I have to say on the topic is:

1. Yes Microsoft has a history of being anti-competitive, no new news there.
2. The idea of requiring ANY company to provide competitor products is just plain ridiculous. Bundling your own software together to provide a better out of box experience is NOT anti-competitive, just many many other things that MS does, is quite anti-competitive. As said previously, its an invasion into the private sector that shouldn't happen.
3. The only true way to force MS to compete with companies instead of destroy them, is to educate people. It's slow but its working, as evidenced by the slowly declining IE market share over the past years. Legislation like this just causes more potential problems for many other companies.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 07:26 PM
Here we go again ^_^

You're right, but its part of what makes this forum interesting and engaging :thumbsup:

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 08:56 PM
Bundling your own software together to provide a better out of box experience is NOT anti-competitive

You're right but Microsoft locked out competition doing so and that IS anti-competitive.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 08:57 PM
Legislation like this just causes more potential problems for many other companies.
Sometimes. Sometimes not. Sometimes things are better.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 09:24 PM
You're right but Microsoft locked out competition doing so and that IS anti-competitive.

Maybe its just me, but I don't remember MS stopping me from installing firefox, chrome, opera and safari. How did they lock out the competition? Refusing to allow competitors products to be installed is locking them out, but to my knowledge this never happened (kind of surprisingly though).

With the way the court systems work (by ruling based on similar past cases), this legislation could easily be applied to apple once the EU has gotten bored with MS, and to any other company is so desires. Complete invasion of the private sector. The net effect of doing this to MS is good, but the ends doesn't justify the means in this case.

Apostropartheid
12-16-2009, 09:27 PM
I believe MS used wrongful business practices to force OEMs not to preinstall alternate browsers. Or something.

@drdr: I thought MS agreed to do this ages ago.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 09:33 PM
I believe MS used wrongful business practices to force OEMs not to preinstall alternate browsers. Or something.


In that particular case, I think it would be proper to keep MS from applying restrictions to the OEMs, not force MS to provide competing products. What you noted is definitely anti-competitive and shouldn't be permitted, but bundling I can't see the harm in, so long as it can be removed (which it can in newer windows versions) and permits the installation of competing products.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 10:04 PM
How did they lock out the competition?Didn't we go over this already in an earlier thread or two or three?


this legislation could easily be applied to apple
They cannot. Apple does not dominate/monopolize the desktop.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 10:09 PM
@drdr: I thought MS agreed to do this ages ago.
They wouldn't do anything the EU wanted them to do. Then they agreed to do something but never gave their own plan. So the EU threatened another fine and that got them moving and here we are.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 10:15 PM
In that particular case, I think it would be proper to keep MS from applying restrictions to the OEMs, not force MS to provide competing products. What you noted is definitely anti-competitive and shouldn't be permittedThey were. Microsoft was fined millions and this was part of the US vs Microsoft case...um...I think. Maybe a different one. I forgot.

but bundling I can't see the harm in, so long as it can be removed (which it can in newer windows versions) and permits the installation of competing products.
You are focusing on the bundling as the issue. The issue was dominating the desktop and making software work with their software alone and making it difficult for other vendors to get access to the desktop, and the internet, for their products to work. Microsoft would even hide API calls from uncooperative software vendors and even supply erroneous information. That is why the US Fed has Microsoft supply them with all software documentation to this day (and why MSDN documentation has gotten so much better over the last few years).

brad211987
12-16-2009, 10:40 PM
You are focusing on the bundling as the issue. The issue was dominating the desktop and making software work with their software alone and making it difficult for other vendors to get access to the desktop, and the internet, for their products to work. Microsoft would even hide API calls from uncooperative software vendors and even supply erroneous information. That is why the US Fed has Microsoft supply them with all software documentation to this day (and why MSDN documentation has gotten so much better over the last few years).

I understand the issue, and it IS an issue, no arguments from me there. My question is, how does forcing them to provide competing browsers resolve these problems? To me it doesn't. The problem is much deeper, the OS should be more open, not necessarily open source, but open to API calls, desktop management etc... Simply making them give you browser options is wrong IMO, and doesn't solve anything.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 10:42 PM
Didn't we go over this already in an earlier thread or two or three?.


Let me re-phrase.....How does not installing competing products lock out competition? I know they lock out competition in many areas, just don't understand the focus on browsers when there are so many things to go after in the OS itself.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 11:22 PM
Let me re-phrase.....How does not installing competing products lock out competition? I know they lock out competition in many areas, just don't understand the focus on browsers when there are so many things to go after in the OS itself.

I'm starting to forget the details and I'm weary of this, not you but other places. Something along the lines of in order to get your software to work on the desktop and via the internet you had to buy Microsoft products because everyone used Windows and everyone used IE but Microsoft withheld information and blocked access to those wanting to compete with Microsoft. The US got the access to the APIs and documentation issue solved. The EU is finishing up what the US did not do and gain access for browser vendors AND software vendors wanting to provide access to the internet without having to go through IE alone. Remember how some software products could not work unless you had IE as your default browser? I do.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 11:26 PM
You know, I'm thinking now that the reason a lot of people don't understand the struggle here is because most people who haven't been involved in all this from as little as 8 years ago don't remember all the hassles of coding for the web and the desktop and just how bad MSDN documentation used to be. While brad, and many other people, look at the current landscape and don't see a problem, this whole thing has been kicking around since 1998 or so and the current landscape is the result of all the anti-trust charges brought against MS for over 10 years now. You are seeing the aftermath but never the war.

drhowarddrfine
12-16-2009, 11:35 PM
Coincidentally, Microsoft's lead attorney just said this in a CNET interview today (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10416714-38.html) about this very issue of Microsoft not being open and honest with their documentation and APIs in the future:

Our basic approach is to include in Windows, software that has APIs (application programming interfaces) that will be beneficial for other applications to call on and use.

brad211987
12-16-2009, 11:50 PM
You bring up a good point about looking mostly at the current landscape. In 1998, I was 11 :)

I do understand the difficulties that came about because of MS, but this particular piece of legislation seems dangerous in the future, for little benefit today. Might have made more sense in 1998 to do something like this, but lets face it, IE is only a requirement anymore for those websites out there that specifically programmed for IE6.

Do you think IE will take much of a market share hit because of this? I'm a bit split, I think most non-technical users will still grab IE simply because they recognize it.

Apostropartheid
12-17-2009, 12:03 AM
They wouldn't do anything the EU wanted them to do. Then they agreed to do something but never gave their own plan. So the EU threatened another fine and that got them moving and here we are.

But I saw a ballot prototype some months ago. I remember chuckling because if you wanted to get to Opera you had to scroll and they were a bit peeved about that.

Apostropartheid
12-17-2009, 12:06 AM
You know, I'm thinking now that the reason a lot of people don't understand the struggle here is because most people who haven't been involved in all this from as little as 8 years ago don't remember all the hassles of coding for the web and the desktop and just how bad MSDN documentation used to be. While brad, and many other people, look at the current landscape and don't see a problem, this whole thing has been kicking around since 1998 or so and the current landscape is the result of all the anti-trust charges brought against MS for over 10 years now. You are seeing the aftermath but never the war.

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. There is a lot of fresh blood in web development, myself included, but the old hats tend to forget that this stuff isn't standard knowledge.

Brandoe85
12-17-2009, 12:32 AM
So? If I write a piece of software, and I don't want to release the API for you to interface with it, then so be it. You don't like it, don't use it. If I write an application and it requires someapp.exe to be installed, if you don't install it, too bad, you don't use my software. If I dominate the desktop world and create apps that only work on my desktop, I'm going to keep doing it, and make as much money as I can off of it. If you don't like that, please use a different desktop and different apps.

Just because their software dominates the market means they have to allow others to compete? Ok, I suppose that's what they do in sports as well, sorry, I'm the dominator (arnold :D), so here is my game plan for the game, please try your best with this information to beat me.

And that's the way the cookie crumbles...

VIPStephan
12-17-2009, 12:32 AM
Not trying to be argumentative, but seriously, why is this OK? I don't think anyone doubts that Microsoft isn't exactly a friendly competitor, but as far as I'm concerned it has every right to bundle its own software together, after all, they wrote it. If you don't want it, don't use it......seemed to work for me just fine.

I guess the core of my question is, other than than their reputation and scale, what makes this any different than Apple, Ubuntu, or any independent software company that bundles its own software together?

Well, I guess what makes them different is the fact that Windows is running on ca. 90% of all computers worldwide. What marketshare does Apple have? And Linux?

If Apple or Google had the same size and weight and power as Microsoft Iím sure the EU would do the same to them.

drhowarddrfine
12-17-2009, 12:54 AM
If I write a piece of software, and I don't want to release the API for you to interface with it, then so be it. You don't like it, don't use it.Not the issue. Microsoft supplied incorrect APIs to some and correct APIs to those who paid the right price and followed their rules.
If I write an application and it requires someapp.exe to be installed, if you don't install it, too bad, you don't use my software.You don't understand the issue.

Just because their software dominates the market means they have to allow others to compete?Has been true of virtually every country on earth since forever.

drhowarddrfine
12-17-2009, 01:01 AM
Here's another way to look at it. When I was growing up, whenever you wanted a telephone there was only one place to call, Bell Telephone. There was only one service. If you wanted a second phone, you had to buy from them. You also had to buy their phones. You couldn't rewire the jacks or run your own phone lines either.

Now picture some company that wants to sell telephones to everyone. You couldn't because Bell wouldn't let you. They'd charge the customer to remove the phone if you were caught. So who would you sell to? Bell could have charged anything they wanted if they weren't a regulated industry but they were regulated for the same reason; so they couldn't charge what they wanted. Bell was a monopoly and the only way you could use their phones and use their lines was through them.

Fumigator
12-17-2009, 02:15 AM
This witch hunt against MS has gotten so ridiculous they were not allowed to include their security software (anti virus/spyware etc) with Windows 7. So now we have to download and install it separately. It's 2009, let's get over it already.

drhowarddrfine
12-17-2009, 02:21 AM
This witch hunt against MSYou've read nothing about this or do you just not understand what you've read?

Fumigator
12-17-2009, 04:35 AM
You've read nothing about this or do you just not understand what you've read?

I just enjoy see you whipped up into a frenzy, it's entertaining... and so easy.

drhowarddrfine
12-17-2009, 04:55 AM
I just enjoy see you whipped up into a frenzy, it's entertaining... and so easy.

And I enjoy seeing children play but if you have nothing intelligent to say, please run along.

bazz
12-17-2009, 05:47 AM
You bring up a good point about looking mostly at the current landscape. In 1998, I was 11 :)


Your post encapsulates quite well pat of the reason why this issue is so difficult to communicate or grasp.

In 1998 you were 11 (I am jealous) and the landscape has changed so much since then - due to legislation against m$ - that the initial problem is unclear to all but those who have followed it from the beginning (can't call myself an expert on it).

And then you raise this question.



Do you think IE will take much of a market share hit because of this? I'm a bit split, I think most non-technical users will still grab IE simply because they recognize it.


Put the clock forward ten years so 11 year olds are about your age and then ask who will recognise M$ over any other browser when it won't have been the dominant one.

Many/most won't recognise IE but, if the law hadn't been changed now, they would stick with m$ who, through deceitful practices and anti-competitive contracts, ensured that only their system was on pcs when bought. you had to use IE, even if looking for another browser which most weren't because they had IE and by doing as described by DrDr with API's, they made sure they controlled other companies' market position, by controlling who could access M$ apis and who couldn't.

Its one thing to be competitive but a totally different thing to distort the market. That is where M$ went too far and why they have had these rulings against them.

That combination of market domination with deceptive/cynical/unethical practices is what brought all this on them. The browser was a strategic tool in that effort which may be why they were free (I seem to recall an big thing about M$ providing its browser for free).

By ensuring joe public had what he needed for his computing needs at the time (and most people are content with that), others who wanted to push the boundaries and to advance technology more quickly, were thwarted to a huge degree because they weren't permitted by M$ to access the OS and so were cut off from 90% of their potential customers. This held them back in a niche market.

Were M$ not so relatively big, others would have occupied some of the market space and so normal competitiveness would have ensured M$ opened up due to competitive forces rather than those of the law.

Now we have Goggle and its chrome. not the same as windows but they are a competitior om size because they became big via a different route. they have seen how they can become bigger and know how unpopular M$ is and has been. So the combination of legal rulings and the threat of a competitor has forced M$'s hand.

Of course, it depends on one's own view of M$ but my view of any control freak/controlling organsation, is that they will dominate in an effort to hold everything in place as they want it because they can't cope with the dreaded 'C' word - CHANGE!

So, I think M$ will shrink. I think they will be unable to compete in its present form/structure, with the new developments in the wings and with ppl as big as google who can change the whole emphasis of the 'playing field'.

And if m$ wants to compete, they can of course use normal strategic business relationships and partnerships, which by their nature, mean someone isn't so dominant and the playing field is more open - and fair.

M$ has tried to prevent that for years and I think it is because they became big because they were first on the park and because that gave them a huge time-to-market advantage. But they were never brilliant in their field and as soon as people needs and wants changed, M$ didn't/couldn't deliver and so they tried to stifle the whole market to keep control. (O I'm back to the control freak scenario).

satisfying customer needs is one thing. when they want something they will get it. Customer 'wants' have got us to where we are now and because m$ kept satisfying the needs of the many, the wants of the relatively few, were not satisfied so that M$ could hold the status quo.

Now what people want, has been enabled and the market will change because that's what they do. I hope M$ doesn't go away. I hope they change and serve their customer.

Indeed; I believe that, instead of donating his millions to the worthy causes he did - Bill Gates could have done it later. He could, instead, have invested it in a more open Internet/IT industry and created more wealth for many more poeple and himself, which he could then have donated as he has already done but on a larger scale. The point I am making there is that had he not done it all through a focus on financial wealth, he could have made himself and the majority of the world more wealthy had he done it in a more benevolent way from the outset.

bazz

drhowarddrfine
12-17-2009, 02:42 PM
@bazz,
You said, in one post, what I've been trying to say in bits and pieces for years. Well done!



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