Wednesday, February 25, 2009
EU to Force Microsoft to Bundle Competing Browsers on Windows and Windows Mobile
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:38 AM
"The EU will require Microsoft to package third party browser software with Windows. Furthermore, it will require Microsoft to provide further support efforts to make third party browsers' interface with Windows components like Windows Explorer as efficient as Internet Explorer's. The ruling is set to apply to both desktop Windows OS's and to Windows Mobile for cell phones."
Ah, the EU bureaucrats. With the world economy in tatters, they're still running after Microsoft, salivating for more money. Don't they have better things to do? Or maybe fleecing a big American company is part of their plan for the economic recovery of Europe - I wouldn't put it past them. We all know that Microsoft had some heavy-handed, monopolistic tactics back in the '90s - it's a matter of public record. But in the technology world, that's an eternity ago - politics, and even the law, can't keep up with the ferocious pace of technology and they look like idiots when they try.
Internet Explorer may still have the biggest market share, but it's nowhere near where it was years ago, and as consumers we've never had more choices for browsers: Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, and even IE-engine-based browsers such as Maxthon are all valid alternatives to Internet Explorer. Myself, I use Firefox. If I was setting up a new computer and it came with several browsers as the EU is demanding, I don't see how that's any different than the rest of the crapware I hate seeing from big PC companies. I'm the buyer; let me download and install whatever browser I wish. Do we really need socialism on our computers?
What really stuns me though is the EU's audacity to apply this to Windows Mobile. There's simply no way you can consider Windows Mobile a monopoly in the mobile world - I'd have to hand that one to Symbian, and even more specifically to Nokia. Why isn't the EU going after Symbian or Nokia? Could it be because Symbian is a European company? Nah, that couldn't possibly be the reason they're being left alone. The browser on Windows Mobile, up until recently, was so bad it's laughable to even consider it somehow "dominant". If this ruling from the EU is applied, it will only make Windows Mobile phones more expensive, have less ROM space for our applications, and possibly make the upgrade story even worse if companies have to license other browsers to include in upgrades.
All in all, this is a ridiculous decision by the EU and it may have far-reaching negative impact on the computers and phones we use.