From the Associated Press/NewYorkTimes.com:
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Friday that Microsoft’s practice of selling the Internet Explorer browser together with its Windows operating system violated the union’s antitrust rules.
It ordered the software giant to untie the browser from its operating system in the 27-nation union, enabling makers of rival browsers to compete fairly.
“Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between Web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice,” the E.U. said in a statement.
I find this a little extreme. First off, Microsoft is not “selling” the Internet Explorer browser. It is either included with Windows or can be downloaded for free. It is not like Microsoft is getting any monetary benefit or the others such as Chrome, Safari and Opera are losing any money.
How is this going to enable rival browser makers to “compete fairly”? I could see this back firing big time. Consider this, how do get a web browser on your machine? You use the pre-loaded Internet Explorer and download the browser of your choice. Oh wait, Internet Explorer can no longer be pre-loaded. Now Microsoft and these other browser makers need to spend money to make install CDs and the associated packaging. Well, they would be creating jobs at least. So after you purchase your Windows PC you need to pick-up an install CD for the web browser of your choice. While I am sure Microsoft could afford to either sell the install CD very cheap or even give it away. But the others wouldn’t be able to compete and would have to stop making install CDs. So much for that idea. I suppose a program can be written that will run the first time the user run Windows they can choose which browser to install.
But wait there’s more! Why does Microsoft have to ‘untie’ Internet Explorer from Windows and yet Apple can keep “selling” Safari with Mac OS X? A bit of a double standard here if you ask me. How does Apple/Safari NOT violate the union’s antitrust rules? Macs can run Firefox, Opera, Chrome and yes even Internet Exploiter (why in the world any would want to is beyond me).
Edit: Someone in another forum pointed out that may be the EU wants Microsoft to make it possible to remove Internet Explorer. Which makes sense in the “tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system” part, but not the “Practice of selling the Internet Explorer browser together with its Windows operating system”. Still you can run other browsers even if you can not remove Internet Explorer.