Microsoft ends 10-year fight with Europe on browsers

kicknhorse

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QUOTE said:
Microsoft has reached agreement with European Union anti-trust regulators to allow European users a choice of web browsers.

The accord ends 10 years of dispute between the two sides.

Over that time, the EU imposed fines totalling 1.68bn euros ($2.44bn, £1.5bn).

The European Commission said Microsoft's legally binding agreement ended the dispute and averted a possible fine for the company.

The Commission's concern was that the US computer giant may have broken competition rules by bundling its Internet Explorer web browser with its dominant Windows operating system.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which web browser they use."

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said the company was "embarking on a path that will require significant change".

"Nevertheless, we believe that these are important steps that resolve these competition law concerns," he added.

Better browsers

Ms Kroes said Microsoft's pledge was an incentive for web browser companies to innovate and offer better browsers in the future.

Internet Explorer is used by more than half of global internet users, with Mozilla's Firefox at about 32% and Norway's Opera with 2%.

It was the minnow operator, Opera, that brought the latest complaint about browsers in 2007.

The company's chief executive, Jon von Tetzchner, agreed the move would boost innovation.

"This is a victory for the future of the web. This decision is also a celebration of open web standards, as these shared guidelines are the necessary ingredients for innovation."

Nevertheless, we believe that these are important steps that resolve these competition law concerns."

Microsoft's commitments on web browsers will be valid in the European Economic Area for five years.

Dominant bundle

In preliminary findings released in January, the European Commission said Microsoft "may have infringed" a European Treaty by "abusing its dominant market position" by bundling the company's web browser with its Windows PC operating system.

In July, Microsoft proposed a consumer choice screen that allowed users to pick from a number of different browsers.

The Commission then asked Microsoft to improve the choice screen, which it has now done.

In 2004, the EU fined Microsoft and forced it to offer a version of its Windows operating system without Microsoft's own media player.

The company was also told to give rivals more information about how Windows works, so they could make their own software integrate better with the operating system.

Microsoft appealed against the decision but lost its case in 2007.

Outstanding concerns

There remain, though, unresolved areas of dispute between the two parties. Although here, too, progress has been made.

Microsoft has submitted an improved version of undertakings it made in July on interoperability.

These are designed to address EU concerns about improving the compatibility of third-party products with several Microsoft ones, such as Windows and Microsoft Office.

The Commission welcomed this move too, but said it would monitor its impact on the market. Any findings would be taken into account in a pending anti-trust investigation on interoperability, it said.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8415902.stm

To give you some idea of the acctual market browser share - though most of these I assume would be those not too familiar with the internet, as most here seem to use Firefox;

_47393801_browser_market_sh_466.gif


Oh Opera, we love you and hope you grow!
 

OSW

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IMO, Opera deserves better. I find the usability of Firefox, Chrome and Opera very equal (although I rarely use apps/extensions and such things).

IE has always been terrible, and I think it's only fair that the betters browsers are now more accessible to the uneducated of the internet.
 

Fat D

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I do not get all this fighting against MS bundling IE. Sure, IE is not the best browser and MS uses its monopoly to push it, but denying them the right to bundle their software is weird to me. Every system needs some kind of web browser, and if IE is the best thing MS has to offer for free, they should have every right to bundle it. After all, you need IE to download a real browser. But including a client do download a browser of choice is an alternative.
 

Athlon-pv

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It is not about bundling their software. It is about doing it for free.

If I sell you 3 strawberries and a lemon for free what sense does that business model make ?

You only pay for the 3 strawberries but since i hold a world monopoly on strawberries do you know that you paid for them according to the price that i have set and not made the 1 for free in that price that i gave you for all 4.

So basically you would still play for all 4 but on the record you paid only for the strawberry and not for the lemon.

Which ofcourse is a form of false competition. Since you paid for it anyway.
 

Pliskron

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European regulators are so frigging stupid. Who the hell cares what Windows is bundled with. People are moving away from Microsoft products because they suck. I stopped useing Windows media player, then explorer, then windows for everything but a few legacy tasks. In the next ten years Microsoft will be lucky if they have 50% of the os market. Problem fixed without regulators sticking their noses where they don't belong. How many people here use Linux?
 

Hadrian

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Does it really matter? It's not like Microsoft made it so you couldn't use another browser.

What a waste of time and money for those involved.
 

Demonbart

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This is retarded.
People who used IE in the first place aren't likely to switch browsers due to this, and people who use different browsers knew how to download in the first place.
Also, Mac users don't get the choice either AFAIK.
 

Demonbart

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Jamstruth said:
Question: If Microsoft didn't bundle IE with Windows, how would you go about downloading an alternative browser?
They bundle a couple of browsers with Windows now, and the user gets the choice which browser they want to install upon installing Windows.
 

lightyear

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WTF???? People are just never happy.

Note to the douchbag spearheading the lawsuit: Just because it's bundled doesn't mean you have to use it, let alone the fact that you can easily uninstall it, even, if it bothers you that much.

Look, I'm all for suing M$'s greedy asses every chance possible.....but really??? They were sued in the US years ago because they didn't bundle IE & win, and now they are sued in Europe for following the terms of the lawsuit in the US....whatever....seems like Europeans are just jealous of the fact that they haven't sued M$ yet
tongue.gif
 
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