Wednesday, March 6, 2013

MS to Pay 561 Millions to Europe for Lack of Browser Choice

The European Comission has fined Microsoft in 561 million euros for not fulfilling what they agreed to in regards of browser choice in Windows. MS had been found guilty of abusing its dominant position to force their own Internet Explorer browser onto users. They agreed they would show up a browser choice screen to european customers, so everyone could choose their preferred browser, for five years (until 2014).

However the EC has found that from May 2011 to July 2012, Microsoft failed to do so in the Windows 7 SP1, leaving 15 million european users without that browser choice screen. I think it would be far more important to educate users so they know they have alternatives, without being required to have them shoved in our faces as morons. Likewise, if the EC is so worried about the lack of browser choice, why don't they worry about far more closed platforms, as Apple's iOS, where competing browsers don't even get the chance to provide a real alternative (they can't even access the full Safari javascript performance!) Wouldn't that deserve the same treatment as the one given to MS?

In any case, I'm not fond of Internet Explorer, particularly when recently I found I couldn't even use it to download Google's Chrome browser. When headed to the main chrome page, clicking the download button... did nothing at all. I had to search around in secondary pages till finally founding a real link that worked. Maybe the problem is Internet Explorer, maybe it's Google's script for the button click action; the scary part is that something as simple as downloading a file has now become so complex that we're not even sure we can do it. And that's... very wrong and worrying.

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