M$’s Latest Dirty Trick In The Browser Wars

“Mozilla estimated that it had lost between six to nine million downloads of Firefox over the fifteen months. The Commission reports now that it believes 15 million windows users did not see the "Browser Choice Screen" during that time.”via EU fines Microsoft €561 million for browser choice failure.

You can see the effect in NetApplication’s data:

FireFox and Chrome were on a tear until M$’s “update”. The only browser to benefit? IE…

No fine will undo that grab of market-share just as the US DOJ v M$ did not undo the harm to the market. We are stuck with this trash in our markets for IT and M$ gets to pay the fine with its ill-gotten gains. What’s the life of a PC? How many years does IE get to stick around because governments can’t do the maths and protect consumers?

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to M$’s Latest Dirty Trick In The Browser Wars

  1. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser Exactly what brought EU down on top of Microsoft.

    Shipping with a standards non conferment browser as a defecto standard so harming other browsers means to operate.

    DrLoser the one thing you cannot get up chrome for is failing to render a standard conferment page.
    http://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=28 Yes even a Year after the EU ruling Microsoft is still failing.

    If Mozilla wanted to make a Firefox equal to chromebook they could. Due to both browsers being fairly standard con-formant both could visit the same web pages and work.

    So it possible to compete fairly against a chromebook.

    DrLoser a technical difference means different rules apply. Also MS gets into another lot of fun with IE. The fact that other OS’s cannot run on Windows machines at times due to no specs and no drivers. So user cannot always choose for flat format a Windows machine and install something else.

    Chromebooks are fully open spec. This is required to keep EU regulators off Google tail.

    I don’t think MS is going to go hey hardware makers you must open spec to use Windows.

    So Dr Loser Google has given up something for what they do something Microsoft has not.

    Google most likely has a nicer punishment. But it does put requirements on Google to be as open spec as possible. This does include publishing the bios source code.

  2. DrLoser says:

    Different rules apply.

    Who says? I seem to have lost the rule book to this particular game.

    Let’s say that, by 2015, Chromebooks sell as fast as “legacy PCs.” We now have a commercial equivalence in computing devices. Is it ethical that the only browser available on a Chromebook is Chrome?

    You could even stipulate that Google only needs to offer a choice of “FOSS” browsers (for some value of FOSS). Firefox, Konqueror, Epophany, wget … wait, wget isn’t a browser, even though Richard Stallman thinks it is … whatever. That’s quite reasonable, because the browser would have to work on top of a Linux kernel, so IE is out.

    But would that be ethical? Should the EU step in?

    No, and oddly enough, no.

  3. Dr Loser wrote, “Remind us what browser choice the users of a Chromebook have?”

    Consumers can easily go out and buy a PC with other browsers installed. Not so a lover of FIreFox or Chrome. They have to choose to install a browser on Wintel machines.

    Further, Google is not a monopolist in PC OS. M$ is. Different rules apply.

  4. oiaohm says:

    –The browser choice you have on Windows RT is precisely the same as it is on the Chromebook: 1.–

    Dr Loser browser choice is punishment for making such a non conforming browser that enhanced there means to get market dominance. Its like saying someone can avoid doing community service.

    Punishments are not meant to be fair Dr Loser.

    Microsoft was not being fined over the Windows RT devices.

    It was bone headed and stupid of Microsoft to think they could fail conformance to standards and that one day a government somewhere would not hit them with some form of insane punishment.

    Dr Loser its not like Google has not received a warning over chromebooks. One of the key reasons why Chrome-books is left alone is any competitor to google is free to install Chrome. One of the big issues with IE is when Microsoft stopped providing it for other platforms.

    The problem with IE is that it was that non conforming that web sites built for IE would not render in anything standards conform it. So yes the punishment in the EU for doing that is showing the browser choice window.

    It could get worse yet. Like with OOXML it documentation is not correct. Microsoft is bundling MS office with Windows. We could end up with a browser choice followed by Office suit choice window because Microsoft has not learnt there lesson from the first time around.

    Basically conform to standard or be forced todo stupid things. Windows RT is being left alone at this stage because IE10 is fairly standard conforming. Chrome in chromebooks is also fairly standard conforming.

    If you value the sanity of your end users Microsoft don’t get any ideas with IE11 of making it non conforming. Also if you do value the sanity of your end users please look very careful at what you are doing with OOXML. EU has no issues about handing down insane punishments for standard non conformance to discourage anyone else from doing the same.

    –Have you noticed that LibreOffice has offered said tool for several years, now?–
    Yes I have but it don’t integrate into browser. There are no hooks in browsers to connect a third party grammar checker. This does piss me off. IE10 also lacks this.

    Please don’t say copy paste between LibreOffice and Browser. That just insane pain in but.

  5. Dr Loser says:

    Dr Loser –Remind us what browser choice the users of a Chromebook have?–

    What browser choice does a Windows RT device have. That is right none at all as well as no OS choice.

    I see the campaign to get you to use a tool as simple as a grammar checker is going well, Hamster. Have you noticed that Libre Office has offered said tool for several years, now?

    The browser choice you have on Windows RT is precisely the same as it is on the Chromebook: 1.

    I happen to feel that this is an extraordinarily stupid thing for Microsoft to do. I happen to feel that it is precisely the same level of bone-headed mistake that cost them €500 million for not putting a stupid and pointless browser choice box up on Windows 7. But so what?

    Two operating systems, both with a single choice of browser. Do please explain, in just a couple of hundred words, what the difference is.

    It sucks both ways, doesn’t it?

    And this farcical notion of paving over a Chromebook?

    Nobody will do that, Hamster. Not even you.

    And even if they did, that would hardly invalidate the Comes/EU instruction to offer “browser choice,” now, would it? (Except possibly on the Chromebook, since you would per definitionem lose the entire OS by paving over the browser … unlike Windows from Win95 onwards).

    The idea was to give non-technical customers a choice of browsers up-front, Hamster.

    Not to give them a dialog box that tells them they are limited (in this case) to either IE10 or Chrome, and to explain that they should download an entirely different OS from a handy repository somewhere and then go to the trouble of installing said OS simply so that they can pick a different browser.

    Have you any idea how stupid that process makes you sound?

    Why am I bothering to ask?

    You are a very foolish middle-aged man, Hamster. Grow up before it is too late.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser –Remind us what browser choice the users of a Chromebook have?–

    What browser choice does a Windows RT device have. That is right none at all as well as no OS choice.

    Dr Loser Chromebook device you can pave over the OS with anything bar Windows. Windows RT device you cannot pave over with any OS.

    Basically don’t throw stones while standing in a Glass house. Microsoft has said is fine not to open up UEFI on Arm devices. Guess what more and more Chromebooks in production is. That right arm devices.

    When Microsoft unlocks the Windows RT devices to install other OS’s then you have grounds to go after chromebooks. Until then chromebooks are superior to the MS product line in the same market.

    –Meanwhile all those browsers run on Windows and manage to keep everyone happy with their Windows computer.–
    Not without legal disputes and other things along the way. I can tell you this much IE over the years has made Web developers very unhappy.

    So keep everyone happy Microsoft has failed. I can pull out quite a few video presentations on what about IE made web developers unhapppy. There was a nice video of a presentation LCA 2013 that time lines browser history and exactly what has made web developers life harder.

  7. Dr Loser says:

    Once again, Robert:

    Remind us what browser choice the users of a Chromebook have?

    It’s a bit difficult to stand on your high horse, defending the diversity of an ecosystem, when you have actually published a post extolling the future of a monoculture which is literally baked in to the OS.

    Strangely enough, back in 1995, and even with Microsoft’s best efforts, nothing stopped users like me downloading (and using!) the Netscape browser. We did in in our tens of millions.

    Tell me: when do you think Google is going to offer, on the front page, a choice of browsers?

    Actually I don’t really care about your opinion on that either way, because I’m sure you have a pre-cooked excuse.

    But perhaps a more important question is: when do you think the EU is going to go after Google and fine them €500 million? Because they probably will. They have precedent at this point, and it’s obviously a massive revenue earner.

    And what would you say if they did?

  8. bw says:

    “The browser opens up a huge region of opportunity …”

    What a blast from the past! Back then the conventional wisdom was that the browser was the way to the future and Netscape (remember them???) would be “the next Microsoft”! .COM was king and we could forget about nuts and bolts, eh?

    I am sure that you do could not believe that anymore in today’s world. But why did you cite it? I am perplexed. Particular when you conclude:

    “The browser opens up a huge region of opportunity and excluding others is a means of extending the desktop monopoly to cyberspace.” That was sage advice when it was shown in black and white, but it looks rather silly in Technicolor.

    Meanwhile all those browsers run on Windows and manage to keep everyone happy with their Windows computer.

  9. bw wrote, “Run one browser, run another. Why should Microsoft care much about that?”

    In the words of M$’s marketing droids, “Why are ISPs: important to our Internet mission ?
    Every user that wants to get on the lntemet needs a connection. To get that connection a user today would contact an ISP.

    For a new user, this is probably their first exposure to the Internet (other than reading the hype in the press) and we have data that back this up. According to U.S. research 31% of lntemet users got their browser: from an ISP or OLS. 2l% got it from work, l5% downloaded. 8% with PC, 4% fiom retail store and 3% in the mail (probably from OLS too). I4% don’t know. If the user gets IE setup to work with his ISP he will have a great “out-of-the-box“ experience which makes him less likely to switch to Netscape or another browser later. That’s why we need to work closely with ISPs, to get them to offer IE as the standard browser. In addition we are seeing many ISPs migrating up the value chain and offering web design, web hosting etc. By being a great partner to lSPs we also open up the door to a long array of joint marketing opportunities and other sales opportunities. If you think about it, this is very much like how we established Windows as the standard platform by working closely with 0EMs.”

    The browser opens up a huge region of opportunity and excluding others is a means of extending the desktop monopoly to cyberspace.

  10. Dr Loser wrote, “It does nothing about the parallel problem of illegally bundling Chrome with Chromium, either.

    Want to know why? Because neither “bundling” is illegal.”

    Just renaming the problem does not make it go away. M$’s bundling accomplished an illegal act under EU law. Read the memos in US DOJ v M$ about why they wanted to bundle IE. It’s always been about messing with competition not providing an essential part of an OS.

    Hey! First the trolls complain about the inadequacy of Chromeboxes being dependent on the web. Now they call it bundling of the browser. Go figure. M$ just can’t handle competition. One can install a complete OS and any number of browsers on a Chromebox along with or in place of Chrome OS. I read that Linus is liking the hardware of Chromium Pixel. A huge difference is that M$ has a monopoly and must respect anti-competition laws. They cannot just bundle everything that comes up that the competition uses and expect to maintain their monopoly indefinitely against competition.

  11. Dr Loser says:

    The remedy does nothing about the original problem of illegally bundling Explorer with Windows.

    It does nothing about the parallel problem of illegally bundling Chrome with Chromium, either.

    Want to know why? Because neither “bundling” is illegal.

    At the risk of triggering one of Robert’s interminable Comes reminiscences (it’s OK, I don’t mind, it’s relevant), the issue was never whether “bundling” was illegal. The issue was whether “leveraging” was illegal, ie taking measures to prevent or discourage users from using alternatives.

    Whether or not that makes sense now, or even made sense at the time, is another matter. But please let’s stick to the facts and not ramble on about alleged “illegal bundling.”

    Also, I don’t know what bank you run your account in, but I seriously doubt that mine would be in a jocular mood after I took €521 million out to pay the taxman (which is essentially what is happening here).

    Look, some berk at MS trod on their d*ck with this one: it’s evidence of serious internal incompetence at some point. And MS have been duly whacked over the head for it. But considering that nobody noticed the mistake for eighteen months (not MS, not the public, not the EU, not even Mr Pogson and friends … apparently this issue wasn’t really very important to you at the time, was it?) … I fail to see where the Pillars of Freedom were threatened.

    Just be happy with Microsoft’s blatant and expensive incompetence. Isn’t that enough for you?

  12. bw says:

    Run one browser, run another. Why should Microsoft care much about that? They get their money from selling Windows and all of these browsers are running on Windows. When a user picks one as a default, it only means that they have bought yet another new Windows computer. It is hard to see how having a wide choice of browsers can make Windows less appealing to consumers.

    The EUC is just out to tax a successful business. As it was said above, Microsoft can well afford it. Ballmer is not going to miss a meal over it.

  13. dougman says:

    Internet Exploiter is the worst browser ever!

    Internet Exploiter Sucks!

  14. Der Balrog says:

    Well, I suggest you start to cry then.

  15. Aieee a Ballhogg says:

    The courts dodged the issue on this one. In part, Opera and the others bringing the case also dropped the ball. The remedy does nothing about the original problem of illegally bundling Explorer with Windows. Even the browser ballot, such that it is, does nothing about that. All that does is offer a choice of selected other browsers IN ADDITION to MSIE. There is no choice on the ballot to do without MSIE. And that is what the case was originally about. So unless the court forces M$ to remove MSIE from future systems or bans M$ from bidding in government procurement, it is just making hollow, ineffective gestures.

    521m EUR and a delay of 4+ years? M$ is laughing all the way to the bank on this one.

  16. Der Balrog says:

    Failed to understand what’s it’s about again? That’s the trouble with idelogue minds: you can’t beat sense into them even with a demolition hammer.

    Let me give you the short version, compensating for your ADHD:

    Users can install every browser they want without any need for a browser choice window.

  17. lpbbear says:

    Let me translate Ballscrog’s Microspeak for you….

    “There is no browser choice blah blah blah blah blah blah…………Microsoft is Gooooooooood”

  18. Der Balrog says:

    Pogson, get it in your head:

    Users are free.

    There is no browser choice window necessary for anyone to visit mozilla.org and download Firefox.

    That alone counts. That users are in principle free to do as they please. You should remember that obtaining the source code to any software in Linux is also an act which is optional. Nobody’s forced to do it, the important thing is that you’re in principle free to do so.

    In other words, spoken in a more sociological manner: freedom is characterized through its absence. It’s a possibility normally relegated to the back of one’s mind (only coming to the fore when you perceive that your freedom is limited by so./sth.). The important thing about freedom is not that you choose, but that you could choose. And in the case of Windows it’s precisely like that. You are not forbidden to install whichever browser you want.

    Our society is pretty much focused on individual responsibility everywhere else. So why do you want to negate this principle here? When a burglar breaks into your house, do you blame the media for not reminding people everyday that you’re not allowed to do that? No, you will hold the burglar responsible. But you’re unwilling to hold users responsible for not installing Firefox.

    I ask you: how did people find out about Firefox before there was a browser window? Remember how Firefox grew and grew back then?

    You will never learn. Your armchair theorizing doesn’t amount to anything. On every corner you see Microsoft’s ghost. They are merely figments of your imagination.

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