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EU: Microsoft pulling IE from Win 7 not enough

updated 08:45 am EDT, Fri June 12, 2009

EU Say Win 7 E Not Enough

Microsoft's decision to pull Internet Explorer from Windows 7 in Europe isn't enough to address EU antitrust complaints about the company's abuse of the market, the European Commission said Friday. The continent's officials now say that Microsoft's proposed solution would actually hurt competition as it would leave the five percent of those buying retail copies of Windows each year with few options. Instead of having an immediate choice, buyers would have to resort to obtaining a physical copy of a web browser or else some alternative.

"Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less," the Commission says.

The organization maintains that its already suggested solution of requiring a choice of multiple browsers from within the OS is the best strategy. Such an approach would require that Microsoft either preinstall or else offer simple downloads for both its browser and its major rivals, likely including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

The Commission executive does say that the market for preloaded PCs will likely benefit as many of these vendors could preload a competing browser if they prefer. However, it's also concerned that removing Internet Explorer could have consequences, intentional or otherwise, that will have "negated" many of the benefits of uncoupling Internet Explorer from Windows.

Microsoft has a history of running afoul of EU regulators, who have long insisted that the American company's dominance of the OS market was enforced by monopolistic behavior ranging from withholding important code from third-party developers to bundling Windows Media Player.

by MacNN Staff



  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Next up

    They'll claim that ms isn't giving enough choice in OS and need to include copies of Linux that van be installed instead.

    And only 5% buy upgrades every year? And they're worried about them? This doesn't bode well for apple. Last thing they want is to get on the bureaucrats radar.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tough argument

    That will be a really tough argument to make. The "slippery slope" really is plenty slippery and slopee here.

    No doubt Microsoft is/was guilty of monopolistic practices, but adding their own software to the OS isn't monopolistic. Actively preventing other browser maker's products from running on the OS would be.
    On the other hand, requiring them to include other browser maker's products is silly. But it is not silly if Microsoft already bundles other vendor software (no. I don't mean drivers) with their OS.

    If you want to put that burden on the box vendor that often bundled crapware out the wahzoo, it might make more sense.

    If the box vendors "are" precluded from doing so by Microsoft contract, then we'll talk.

    Just seems like power mongering by the EU commission at this point. Trust me, I am no Microsoft apologist (shudder).

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Intentionally Stupid?

    MS can and should get dinged--HARD--for their severe monopolistic abuse and behavior. Removing IE from Win7 is a just-plain-stupid way to do it, though.

    I haven't been following this carefully, but was this MS's offer? In which case they KNEW it made no sense and that's probably why they offered it.

    Really, the USDoJ should have broken the company up years ago, but oh well. I can't really think of a more dangerous monopoly for the modern world than the OS that runs the world's computers. Well, maybe oil, but that's pretty much a mess, too.

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