Disagree! (or: Anti-Microsoft is so Last Decade)

December 15, 2007

Earlier I wrote about how I tend to disagree with Chris Messina a fair amount but occasionally we come to terms on a subject.

Microsoft is not that subject.

Earlier today Chris Tweeted: ” Taking on Microsoft never grows old: http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2007/12/13/

The basic gist of the article is that Microsoft is being sued for some monopolistic crap because they bundle their own web browser in to their own operating system, which can be thought of as noncompetitive in a sense. So Opera and a bunch of folks want Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows.

Anti-monopoly is one thing. Being a dick to advance your own company is another. Oh, and not thinking it through all the way either…real smart?

So let’s imagine a scenario where Microsoft loses this case and Windows is shipped sans Internet Explorer. Alright. Get the computer set up, Windows is up and running, you got all your drivers working and presto! You have an internet connection! With NO WAY TO ACCESS THE INTERNET INITIALLY! So you try to go to Opera.com, Mozilla.org, Flock.com, Yourwebbrowserofchoice.com how exactly?

OK, so the next logical argument is that “Well Microsoft should package Firefox/Opera/BrowserX in Windows.” Hayel no!

Go to Ford. See if this business model flies.

“Hey Ford, we noticed your steering columns are locked in to only being Ford parts, and, uh, that’s kinda monopolistic don’t ya think? I mean, GM steering columns are engineered better. If y’all don’t change columns, we’re gonna have to go to court over this.”

How much sense does that make? Or in this scenario, the car wouldn’t even have a steering column initially.

Let’s think about it at an angle that probably would resonate for Messina (an avid Apple supporter/enthusiast/promoter). Mac OSX comes with a ton of bundled software from Apple off the bat. Safari equates to IE (though admittedly better). Why should Apple be allowed to sell an operating system that has their programs bundled on it from the get-go? Should there be some judicial action? No!

Let the darned companies bundle the software they write in the operating system they write. People are smart enough to figure out how to remove bundled software nowadays. If Firefox’s increasing market share trend shows us anything it is that people KNOW IE sucks and they want options. But to force MS to remove it outright is just kicking a dude in the stitches after an appendectomy. What happened last decade WAS definitely shady and ruled monopolization in the end. Read up folks! You CAN install new browsers. You SHOULD install new browsers. And then you should CHOOSE the browser you want. Microsoft doesn’t force you to use IE anymore save for ONE TIME, and during that one time you go to the browser’s site, download it, and then you install it.


2 Responses to “Disagree! (or: Anti-Microsoft is so Last Decade)”

  1. Hmm, I don’t think that’s a fair take on the Opera issue. They’re more concerned with the fact that IE, given its dominant position on the Windows desktop, has held back development of the web by essentially creating a de facto chilling effect on new browser innovation for fear of being incompatible with IE.

    Since IE 6, in particular (since IE 7 isn’t backwards compatible AFAIK), is still highly dominant and Microsoft refuses to update it to the most current web “standards”, those “standards” in effect become useless (what good are standards if no one supports them?). Therefore, Opera is essentially trying to compel Microsoft to get in line and conform to the standards that the W3C (of which Microsoft is a member) have decreed.

    This really isn’t about not shipping IE with Windows. That was the former anti-trust case, and now Microsoft makes it fairly easy to set an alternative browser to your default and to remove IE, since they had to decouple the browser from the OS in order to compete more fairly with other browsers. I take your point that shipping an OS without a browser is pretty dumb, but that’s not what this issue is all about.

    Instead it’s about holding back the web while IE6 remains dominant and while Microsoft refuses to rev their browser to conform to current standards.

  2. Daniel Lackey Says:

    “Opera requests the Commission to implement two remedies to Microsoft’s abusive actions. First, it requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers pre-installed on the desktop. Second, it asks the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities.”

    I agree with you on the second remedy for sure: Microsoft SHOULD follow web standards as set forth by the W3C. But the first remedy is definitely an extreme that regardless of the company shouldn’t be upheld. I would love to see this suit end in a situation that forces IE to adhere to standards. And I think MS is realizing this too; they sure aren’t gaining IE7 users (but, to be fair, IE7 is bounds better than IE6. I’m not deathly afraid to open 7 😉 )

    The language set forth in the press release makes it sound as though Microsoft continues to prevent people from installing new browsers. This hasn’t been the case for years. People have been free to choose their browser for a long time now.

    If anything, I think this speaks to the marketing of alternative browsers. How do you bring these browsers to the forefront? Firefox spread amongst the techie folks rapidly because they were tuned in to all the news sources covering it online. Other browsers show similar trends. But the problem is that simply spread campaigns limited to internet use hit maybe 10% of the potential market (73% of stats are made up on the spot). Take your ads to the television, to the radio, to the newspapers. If people want to switch or even try something different, they will. How many people actually leave the defacto web browser on their operating system, be it Windows, OSX or Linux?

    My point is, if this ends up in Microsoft being forced to improve or rewrite IE to be standards compliant, I am all for it. If this ends in IE having to be unbundled from Windows altogether, I find that a limitation on software/OS developer freedom, and unacceptable.

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