EU VS Microsoft, Has it gone too far?

The EU VS Microsoft has been in the news a lot latley, as some of you might have read Europe has had versions of Windows since XP that have features removed such as Windows Media Player because the EU consider it a violation of European antitrust law.

Microsoft originally wanted to call the version of XP Windows XP: Reduced Media Edition however it ended up been called Windows XP N Edition, the same with Vista we have Vista Home Premium and Business “N” Editions which basically just have Media Player stripped out.

Until now it’s not really bothered me as the normal editions of Windows the rest of the world get have always been on sale over here and no one has really bothered with the “N” versions of Windows anyway.

However if you read the CNET article published yesterday it appears we are only going to get reduced versions of Windows, either with Media Player and Internet Explorer ripped out or just Internet Explorer ripped out.

I’m sure some people will be quite happy about this, however I think shipping an OS without a web browser in this day and age is just stupid, say you didn’t have Google Chrome / IE or Firefox saved away some where you have a bit of a problem… although I’m sure you could easily obtain a web browser your average computer user most likely thinks the web browser is the internet and wouldn’t have a clue how to go about getting online.

The thing that concerns me is what component in Windows is going to be the next problem

Windows Defender
Windows Media Centre
Windows Firewall
Remote Desktop

You could argue all of the above shouldn’t be included with Windows for the same reasons Media Player and IE have got removed. A lot of alternatives to the above list exist.

Although it appears Microsoft made its own decision to avoid been forced to bundle other browsers with windows, what are the EU going to have problems with next?

I can see a Windows Reduced Functionality Edition with everything but the essentials been removed one day. All it takes is a company like Arcsoft to complain about how Windows Media Centre now its included with all versions of Windows apart from the starter edition and we could have yet another version of Windows.

Should Microsoft be allowed to include whatever they want with the OS? It appears it ok for Apple to include Safari and iTunes with OSX however people have a problem when Microsoft include there media player and web browser.

Matt Hill

Matt Hill is in his mid 20′s and has a passion for technology. Matt studied Computer and Network Administration at University and currently works as an IT Administrator for a company based in his home town.

7 Comments

  1. Nimrod   •  

    Without Internet Explorer how will I download Firefox?? And what if for some reason I broke my Firefox or accidently uninstalled it, IE has always been the lifeline for me to be able to install another web browser.

    For the majority of people who buy pre-made computers with Windows preinstalled this shouldnt be too much of a problem, I highly suspect IE8 will be installed by most PC makers or at least another alternative like Firefox or Chrome. But for people who buy a boxed Retail copy of Windows 7 will be screwed over as they wont have anyway to get a Browser.

    Also with news that you cant upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7 now due to the IE thing – this seems like a diaster. I think its time with all the money the EU is bringing in, they got a few people with some brain cells in, there mostly unelected morons at the moment who clearly mate with vegetables.

  2. Icharus_Falling   •  

    that seems very odd, i never knew the other feature-less versions of windows existed. they should be allowed to put it on there, but it might be a case of the IE8 not being in the version of windows, but HP (or substitute whoever sells pre-made computers) puts IE8 or firefox, or whoever pays them the most to bundle that software in with all the other annoying software that computer companies put on the machines. so there will probably be an internet browser, it just wont be installed by Microsoft.

  3. InsaneNutter   •  

    Exactly as you both say OEM’s like Acer / HP and so on fill pc’s with nothing but crap anyway adding Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari wouldn’t really do much more damage… yes its excessive but what exactly do the EU want?
    The EU is to continue the anti-trust case, regardless of Windows 7 E anyway:

    “The European Commission notes with interest Microsoft’s announcement of its plans for Windows 7, and in particular of the apparent separation of Internet Explorer (IE) from Windows in the EEA. The Commission will shortly decide in the pending browser tying antitrust case whether or not Microsoft’s conduct from 1996 to date has been abusive and, if so, what remedy would be necessary to create genuine consumer choice and address the anticompetitive effects of Microsoft’s long-standing conduct. In terms of potential remedies if the Commission were to find that Microsoft had committed an abuse, the Commission has suggested that consumers should be offered a choice of browser, not that Windows should be supplied without a browser at all.”

    Opera who make a web browser few people use say:

    “”We note with interest that Microsoft now seems capable of separating IE from Windows. However, we do not believe that Microsoft’s move will restore competition for desktop browsers. Most users get their operating systems from the OEM channel and Microsoft will recommend that OEMs pre-install IE8. As such, users are unlikely to be given a genuine choice of browsers. We believe that the idea of a ‘ballot screen’ is better: when going online, users will be asked which browser(s) they prefer to use. The browser(s) of choice will the painlessly be installed and ready for use.”

    At the end of the day Microsoft should not have to promote competitive products.

  4. Nimrod   •  

    A ballot screen is a crap idea, because if they get their way with Web Browsers it will happen for every other program, including Media Players, Instant Messengers, Notepads!!! If they got forced to put a ballot screen I hope to god Microsoft wont include Opera on that ballot screen, there not a major player in the browser market and just a bunch of crazy moaning europeans who cant offer a decent browser.

    Anyways I dont know if the EU has the power to force Microsoft to put in rivals products in their OS, if they do it will set a very dangerous prisident. Microsoft have just removed the browser so the EU cant honestly ask for anymore.

  5. Titcher   •  

    Microsoft will just have an auto-update offering to install Internet Explorer. And for those with some know-how, you could just use the text mode ftp client included with all versions of windows and use it to ftp to a mozilla repository. I’ve done that a couple of times when messing with heavily stripped down versions of windows. Also, their file explorers will always have network functionality anyway, so it’s just a matter of typing ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/ into an address bar.

  6. Nimrod   •  

    But there is no way 98% of PC purchasers have a clue how to use graphical ftp client, let alone a text based one. On old versions of Windows typing ftp://ftp-server in Explorer did load the FTP server in Explorer, but it relied on components from Internet Explorer which are most likely removed in the E edition, however I’m not sure how Windows Vista/7 handle it.

  7. Titcher   •  

    They may even make Internet Explorer a separate purchase, at some silly price like 50 pence or something just to make it easily available.

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