Multiple Browser Bundling With Windows Is Stupid
A recent article published on the website of the Wall Street Journal suggests (paywall) that EU officials are considering forcing Microsoft to include a bunch of web browsers in the Windows operating system to dilute the advantage that Internet Explorer has over the competition.
This could lead to Microsoft having to add third-party web browsers to the installation of the operating system, or to offer users choices during installation to download and install third-party web browsers.
This poses some interesting questions: who decides which web browsers to include in the offer?
The list should probably include the most popular third-party browsers compatible with the operating system (which are Firefox, Google Browser, Safari and Opera at the time of writing).
But what about other niche browsers? What if the makers of Lynx, Arachne or Sleipnir want their web browsers included as well?
This opens Pandora's Box and will confuse the average Joe more than anything else. Many regular Windows users do not even know which version of the operating system they are running. How are they supposed to make a decision between 5, 10 or 20 of different web browsers that are displayed to them as choices when they run the setup, or load the system for the first time after unpacking it.
How would the EU suggest to keep web browsers up to date? They would lock out users without Internet connection if they would make the decision to download the web browser during installation.
If web browsers come bundled, these may need an update immediately after installation. Not all web browsers perform automatic update installations though and it is unclear how this would be handled.
Experienced users on the other hand will not benefit from this proposal as well. One of the first tasks of many after installing Windows on a computer is to download a different web browser to avoid having to use Internet Explorer.
If the EU forces Microsoft into doing this they should also force the developers of other operating systems to do the same. Force Apple to include Internet Explorer as an alternative, force Linux distributions to display other web browsers as an option.
But there is another thing that needs to be discussed. Why stop with web browsers? What about developers of calculators, media players, task managers or text editors? Should not they have the same right of inclusion if web browser companies get it?
It is without doubt true that Microsoft did use the power of their operating system to distribute Internet Explorer. Today, a new web browser is only a few clicks away and the success of the Firefox web browser shows that it is possible to be successful even without being distributed with an operating system.
I personally think something should have been done back in the last century when Microsoft began distributing Internet Explorer with Windows. What's your take on the issue?
I agree, this bundling is stupid. I’m avoiding MS browser since 2000, and IE bundling in Windows never was big obstacle for me.
AFAIK, Firefox popularity in some EU countries are around 40% and even higher. So, what they want?
I myself think that its a (ferry) great idea that the EU are ordering to stop Microsoft, to monopolize the (browser/player/o.s., etc.) market. And there (the EU) are now trying to find the best way to do it. Give the some credit (time) to find a perfect way to do it. I think a (small) book (.pdf) where there is a short explanation from what every browser, who is on the web, does, by a independent consumer organization is a ferry good idea. Next to that a short start up guide from that same brouwser would not take much effort.
“Today a new web browser is only a few clicks away and the success of the Firefox web browser shows that it is possible to be successful even without being distributed with an operating system.”
*I personally think something should have been done back in the last century when Microsoft began distributing Internet Explorer with Windows.”
*Cough*Windows95*Cough*Windows98*Cough* (The LAST times the EU tried to get Micro$oft to ‘unbundle’ IE from the OS.)
Today, browsers. Tomorrow, media players. Than, Windows Explorer. They have alternatives for everything, so will the EU go after all of them to support competition? Ridiculous!
Agree Ridiculous !!!
Political stuff that is neither close to real life or worth attention.
There will always be users who use IE just because it comes with Windows. End of story. :)
“…I think a (small) book (.pdf) where there is a short explanation from what every browser…” Erm? Sorry? Are you suggesting an proprietary file format? Oh, and proprietary software from Adobe (didn’t they have an monopol on PDF?)? Sure, the reader is free right now.
@Martin: you forget that Microsoft should remove cmd and allow alternatives like bash/zsh/etc.
Yeah but more stupid is people still using internet explorer we all know it’s the worst browser outhere.
This is the nanny state run amok.
Only a child is comforted by being treated like a child..
We do not force Ford to include the option of installing Dodge parts in a truck, why then should we force Microsoft to offer a competitor’s product with their own? Anyone who wants a new browser can get one for free off of the Internet.
I doubt it helps. The average joe will choose Explorer anyway.
The funny thing is that if one click on explorer and you give them the choice to choose a version: IE6, IE7 and IE8. A lot of people will probably choose IE6 because they also use that one on their work.
If you then ask them why they made that decision they will say they don’t want a newer version because all the buttons are on a different place. It’s confusing, they don’t like that.
It’s stupid, but that’s the sad reality. A lot of people like innovation, as long as they don’t have to deal with it.