I believe Microsoft got away with a lot of monopoly abuse in their history, but trying to make up for it now makes no sense. Partially because no one’s that scared of Microsoft any more; they’re late to all the cool stuff going on, and IE share is dropping all on its own.
Still, I think because Microsoft is easier to pick on now some groups are trying to score points by doing just that.
The EU and their get-IE-out-of-Windows kick — fueled by Google, Mozilla, and Opera (Opera?!) — is just silly. Microsoft was able to show how silly it was by saying “OK, we won’t include a browser in Windows 7 for Europe”. Then some of the big brains doing the bitching wondered how, without a browser, the user would get an alternative. Duh.
Anyway, it didn’t take a genius to see that having no browser would severely impact the user, so Microsoft came around to submitting a new proposal to the EU:
Under our new proposal, among other things, European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web.
This is as reasonable as the EU (and Microsoft rivals) can hope for. Naturally, the EU commission won’t agree to it right away, so all we get at this time is “The Commission has no further comment at this stage.” Yeah, whatever. Take the obvious concession and move on to something actually worthwhile. Does anyone else think the EU is making too much of IE?
Yes or no, it’s your choice.
In a move likely aimed at thwarting EU complaints, Microsoft has changed the way IE 8 acts when it’s installed. No longer assuming that simply by installing IE you want it to be the default browser, it will instead present the dialog panel shown.
According to the IE blog entry:
we heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit. This change is part of our ongoing commitment to user choice and control.
Bottom line is if there’s another browser set as the default the user will have to explicitly change it to IE via the new panel. It used to automatically be made default if you chose Express settings (instead of Custom) for installation, but now you get the choice either way.
This is a small change, but a welcome one.