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Europe revives claims of Microsoft web browser monopoly

post #1 of 150
Thread Starter 
Having escaped more severe consequences in the US, Microsoft has been put on notice by the European Union that it may have to detach Internet Explorer from Windows under claims that the web browser has an unfair monopoly.

The European Commission's Statement of Objection, delivered on Friday, gives Microsoft an early warning that the EC believes the company has abused its monopoly by linking Internet Explorer deeply with its operating system, preventing competitors from easily offering their own alternatives and giving the browser a de facto lead by including it with Windows PCs, which currently have about 90 percent of the world market.

The current situation "distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match," the organization says in its confirmation of the statement. "The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain."

Europe's continent-wide legal body also argues that, competition aside, the sheer "ubiquity" of the browser often pushes website owners and app programmers to build content optimized mostly or exclusively for Internet Explorer and thus limits the number of features users can get on web pages or in software.

EC officials support the argument by directly pointing to their own findings: in 2004, Microsoft was fined nearly $690 million for allegedly stifling competition in jukebox software by bundling Windows Media Player with Windows. The decision ultimately forced the American company to sell an operating system version known as "Windows XP N" that strips out the media software.

Microsoft in its formal response also reveals that it was told that the changes it made in the wake of a 2002 US antitrust ruling on the same subject, such as adding a control panel to change the browser default and to let PC makers preload outside software, aren't enough to make Internet Explorer's status legal in Europe.

The finding isn't an absolute conclusion but gives Microsoft just eight weeks to formally respond to the claims. It can also request a hearing to publicly confront the charge after the roughly two-month span is over.

If the Commission decides against Microsoft, it could exact one or more punishments that could include levying another fine, forcing the company to "cease the abuse" or any other step the agency feels would help level the playing field.

Microsoft has so far taken a cautious approach to the objection and only says it plans to obey European law, though it has fought previous EC cases.

The potential action against Microsoft arrives despite the software firm losing market share to challengers in studies by web trackers at Net Applications who note that Internet Explorer has dipped below 69 percent share while Firefox has crested 21 percent and Apple's Safari has jumped to near 8 percent.
post #2 of 150
I'm glad, IE is messing up web standards.
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post #3 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I'm glad, IE is messing up web standards.

Bullshit. When IE 6.0 came out those web standards did not exist. Opera's officers which created the ACID 2.0 and 3.0 tests were the ones that pushed for various CSS standards. In fact when Acid 2.0 was released they challenged Microsoft to pass it when hypocritically the Opera browser hadn't passed yet. IE 8 does pass 2 and is better on 3 (its still in Beta).

In addition Microsoft can't force users to quit using IE6. Released in 2001 mind you.

All other browsers such as Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Chrome are way new browsers.

While I do dislike certain CSS and PNG issues with IE6, if I want to cater to people using software from 2001 (when there is a free upgrade to Firefox or IE7 that doesn't have png issues) I need to develop that way. If your too lazy then your not a real web designer. The browsers will never be 100% alike as standards evolve and you should choose another job.

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post #4 of 150
With Obama concerned over the BCS and people who receive TV from rabbit ears and the EU worried about IE, I am for sure everyone is worrying about the wrong things. Why can't they get off their butts and try to fix a few things that matter outside this crap.
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #5 of 150
Have I travelled back in time 10 years? At my company, any websites we develop now have to be Firefox and Mac compatible. The statistics at the end of the article speak for themselves.
post #6 of 150
..........
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post #7 of 150
For me the greatest irony in this is that government departments are the worst offenders when it comes to websites that are incompatible with anything other than I.E. followed in close second place by large corporates.

In my country the National Library has an excellent catalogue of historic photos available online. However, unless you have a PC running IE you cannot run the obscure viewer program which shows these photos in hi-res and are left with jpeg thumbnails. Our tax department also runs a great business portal which claims to have a Mac compatible plug-in. Its so buggy that you would never trust your business to it. Finally my bank has a consumer site which can be used by any browser but try and log-in to their business site and you find it is a Windows/IE-only environment.

So more power to the EU despite the hypocrisy.
post #8 of 150
It takes almost no effort to switch browsers, the fact that most people don't bother to do that doesn't change that fact. Even if it's built into the operating system, you don't have to use IE for the web. It's a good idea to take the couple minutes and switch to something else. Being built into the OS has made bad security problems even worse because it gets around a couple security checks, at least that I recall.
post #9 of 150
I wonder if the problem comes in that IE seems pretty critical when checking for OS updates. For some reason that is where everyone goes to update their computer if they want to check for updates. Is this still the case?
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post #10 of 150
so.....

how exactly would you download a browser if your OS didn't come with one?

it seems kind of silly to talk about monopolies when we are dealing with products that are free anyway.
post #11 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It takes almost no effort to switch browsers, the fact that most people don't bother to do that doesn't change that fact. Even if it's built into the operating system, you don't have to use IE for the web. It's a good idea to take the couple minutes and switch to something else. Being built into the OS has made bad security problems even worse because it gets around a couple security checks, at least that I recall.

Yeah, I never understood the worry and concern here either. I think I use IE 2 or 3 times a year on my PC. Nowadays I reach for a Mac whenever I go online. I think the EU is grandstanding again.
post #12 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooch View Post

...it seems kind of silly to talk about monopolies when we are dealing with products that are free anyway.

That's a knee-jerk reaction. Look at the power Google gets having a search field in Firefox. Would people be using MS cloud services if IE didn't lead them there? Probably not to the same extent.

Windows Media Player* is free. Is it still not significant with regard to iTunes? And vice versa?


*Or whatever it's called now.
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post #13 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooch View Post

so.....

how exactly would you download a browser if your OS didn't come with one?

it seems kind of silly to talk about monopolies when we are dealing with products that are free anyway.

Genius! You saw straight to the heart of the issue and cut through all of this 'monopoly' nonsense.

I hate to be annoying, but the only monopoly here is the EU. At least people can compete with Microsoft - the success of safari and firefox are proof of that. What about competing with the EU's services? Why aren't there 3rd party companies that also provide the service of regulating monopolies? Or private police to compete with the EU's? Clearly, there's a double standard here. The government is a monopoly - the first monopoly, the biggest, a monopoly that has killed countless people in wars and failed social experiments. Whatever Microsoft has done, i'll bet you the EU has done worse, so it seems strange to me that the EU of all organisations should be in charge of this. Maybe that's just me, but it does seem a bit silly for people to be directing their energies against Microsoft. No matter how you justify it, i can assure you that Microsoft doesn't start wars, they don't have the power to tax you, to jail you for harmless activities, or to forcefully control how you run your business. Microsoft simply don't have this kind of power - if you don't like them, you are free to choose someone else's products! People, get your priorities right. You know better than this, we all do. Not to mention the practical side of this: If you ask for a world where governments can regulate businesses at will, then companies like Apple will not survive. Government stifles creativity - innovative companies will disappear, and be replaced by the businesses with the most 'political influence'. And that is certainly not a world where you can have nice shiny iPods and all of the good stuff that Apple keeps bringing us.

Anyone who supports this cannot claim to be against monopolies at all. People are picking and choosing which monopolies are 'good' and 'bad' on nothing more than a whim. You can't say "Monopolies are bad, so we really need to create an even bigger monopoly called the government to regulate the smaller monopolies, because monopolies are good!" That's a contradiction. If you don't like monopolies, then I am afraid that the first place you have to direct your energy towards is the government, not some decaying software company with shrinking market share.
post #14 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Genius! You saw straight to the heart of the issue and cut through all of this 'monopoly' nonsense.

The only monopoly here is the EU. At least people can compete with Microsoft without getting thrown in jail. Try competing with one of the EU's monopoly services, and you will be forcefully thrown in jail, or worse. Why not open up a 3rd party court, or a 3rd party regulatory body that regulates the EU as an anti-competitive monopoly, and you will quickly see the hypocrisy and inconsistency at the root of all of this. People, the government is a monopoly - the first monopoly, the biggest, a monopoly that has killed over 200 million people in the last century. And you're directing your energies against Microsoft? Really? How many people has Microsoft killed, enslaved, taxed, jailed or physically forced to do anything? People, get your priorities right. You know better than this, we all do.

Anyone who supports this cannot claim to be against monopolies at all. People are picking and choosing which monopolies are 'good' and 'bad' on nothing more than a whim. You can't say "Monopolies are bad, so we really need to create an even bigger monopoly called the government to regulate the smaller monopolies, because monopolies are good!" That's a contradiction. If you don't like monopolies, then I am afraid that the first place you have to direct your energy towards is the government, not some decaying software company with shrinking market share.

Dude, everyone knows that the Saucer people made a deal with the reverse vampires years ago that completely stopped this kind of thing. Why, it was renewed just last week at the Tin-foil hat seminar in London.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #15 of 150
European Union has much more civilized laws that don't favor any interest group of company.
I don't think they can force this kind of rule, but im glad they can. In other parts of the world Microsoft buys all kinds of these regulations by discounting their software and supplying 3rd word countries with cheap PCs. By making such deals with Dell, HP and other ones they do create monopoly.

EU is not that stupid. They just want real neutrality and choice.

With IE numbers dropping, Microsoft will make it follow web-standards and be much more friendly towards web developers. But Internet Explorer is such piece of SHHHH, developers and web-designers found that out the hard way. Average users will never tell a difference between browsers because web-designers have to work their asses around stupid bugs and errors in IE.
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post #16 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

Bullshit. When IE 6.0 came out those web standards did not exist. Opera's officers which created the ACID 2.0 and 3.0 tests were the ones that pushed for various CSS standards. In fact when Acid 2.0 was released they challenged Microsoft to pass it when hypocritically the Opera browser hadn't passed yet. IE 8 does pass 2 and is better on 3 (its still in Beta).

In addition Microsoft can't force users to quit using IE6. Released in 2001 mind you.

All other browsers such as Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Chrome are way new browsers.

While I do dislike certain CSS and PNG issues with IE6, if I want to cater to people using software from 2001 (when there is a free upgrade to Firefox or IE7 that doesn't have png issues) I need to develop that way. If your too lazy then your not a real web designer. The browsers will never be 100% alike as standards evolve and you should choose another job.

Oh don't defend Micro$oft, they created their own mess because they wanted to. Ease of use and standards is nowhere to be found in any of Micro$oft programming.
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post #17 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

Bullshit. When IE 6.0 came out those web standards did not exist. Opera's officers which created the ACID 2.0 and 3.0 tests were the ones that pushed for various CSS standards. In fact when Acid 2.0 was released they challenged Microsoft to pass it when hypocritically the Opera browser hadn't passed yet. IE 8 does pass 2 and is better on 3 (its still in Beta).

In addition Microsoft can't force users to quit using IE6. Released in 2001 mind you.

All other browsers such as Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Chrome are way new browsers.

While I do dislike certain CSS and PNG issues with IE6, if I want to cater to people using software from 2001 (when there is a free upgrade to Firefox or IE7 that doesn't have png issues) I need to develop that way. If your too lazy then your not a real web designer. The browsers will never be 100% alike as standards evolve and you should choose another job.

IE is the worst browser on the face of this planet.
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post #18 of 150
Boy oh boy, thank goodness we have the benevolent EU to protect us from this dangerous world we live in.

If IE is such a monopoly and if IE discourages competition and innovation, then why are Firefox and Safari thriving on the desktop, and why is mobile Safari (iphone) providing far more mobile internet surfing than IE's mobile edition? Also, why is Google--a major competitor of Microsoft's and potential a lethal one--jumping into the fray with Chrome?

This is ridiculous. This is what happens when you hire too many stuffed shirts into government...they start looking for things to keep them busy and justify their paychecks, and they quickly come up with meddling, costly, cumbersome, burdensome, destructive ideas like this.

God, I hate big government.
post #19 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


EU is not that stupid. They just want real neutrality and choice.

Meaning what, though? That we, the people, are stupid and need parental oversight? We don't want choice and need it legislated on us? I made my choices (not IE) very easily as has everyone else I know. If they asked my opinion, I gave it. I don't remember anyone asking the State Legislature or Congress which browser they should use.

'Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."
Mark Twain

A politico is a politico is a politico. I'd rather take my chances with MS.
post #20 of 150
While not a fan of MS' monopolistic practices, this is not one of them.

PS: Does Vista use IE to update the OS or does it use a seperate app like *nx-based systems?
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post #21 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasein View Post

Meaning what, though? That we, the people, are stupid and need parental oversight? We don't want choice and need it legislated on us? I made my choices (not IE) very easily as has everyone else I know. If they asked my opinion, I gave it. I don't remember anyone asking the State Legislature or Congress which browser they should use.

'Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."
Mark Twain

A politico is a politico is a politico. I'd rather take my chances with MS.

The people deciding whether to sue MS or not on competition grounds are civil servants and not politicians. They will not limit your choice on IE or any other browser. They just do not want IE to be incorporated in the operating system. MS would be free to install it as a free standing browser.
post #22 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

The people deciding whether to sue MS or not on competition grounds are civil servants and not politicians. They will not limit your choice on IE or any other browser. They just do not want IE to be incorporated in the operating system. MS would be free to install it as a free standing browser.

What would that accomplish? What other Windows apps would have to be completely separate from the OS if this passes? What about OS X and all its integrated frameworks as it gains marketshare?

The fact is the easiest way to install a different browser if with a browser, that IE is losing marketshare, and MS is being pushed into adopting more standards.
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post #23 of 150
The EU is trying to find a reason to fine Microsoft again. This is just nonsense. Did the Opera people launch another complaint with the EU?

With Firefox, Safari, and Chrome out there this is a non-issue. Microsoft is not monopolizing the browser anymore.
post #24 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What would that accomplish? What other Windows apps would have to be completely separate from the OS if this passes? What about OS X and all its integrated frameworks as it gains marketshare?

The fact is the easiest way to install a different browser if with a browser, that IE is losing marketshare, and MS is being pushed into adopting more standards.

It would accomplish that all applications for which there are viable freestanding alternatives are not bundled with the operating systems. This gives the consumer the ability to remove such apps when not wanted and replace them with the application of their choice.
post #25 of 150
I am not a fan of Microsoft but I really can't see how they can solve this problem. First, you cannot download web browser without having a web browser to access the internet and website. Second, you can't force a company to bundle 3rd party software especially when the 3rd party is a competitor.

What next? Breaking up MS Office and sell Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc individually to break MS monopoly in word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc markets?!

I understand it is about choice but software sometimes need to be bundled together because it will provide better user experience and value.
post #26 of 150
Quote:
The current situation "distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match," the organization says in its confirmation of the statement. "The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain."


The same arguments apply to Safari which is tied to Mac OS X, but also the iPhone. Both Firefox and Opera are better web browsers than Safari which is tied to Mac OS X and the iPhone OS X.

Moreover, Apple is illegally blocking Firefox and Opera developpers from distributing their web browser through the iTunes iPhone App Store for use on the iPhone.

I encourage the developpers of Firefox and Opera to launch an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Apple which is illegally blocking their web browsers from distribution on the iTunes iPhone store.

post #27 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I am not a fan of Microsoft but I really can't see how they can solve this problem. First, you cannot download web browser without having a web browser to access the internet and website. Second, you can't force a company to bundle 3rd party software especially when the 3rd party is a competitor.

What next? Breaking up MS Office and sell Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc individually to break MS monopoly in word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc markets?!

I understand it is about choice but software sometimes need to be bundled together because it will provide better user experience and value.

If MS would incorporate MS Office with the operating system that would incur the wrath of the competition commissioner. It is the incorporation of an app, not the provision of a separate app that is at issue
post #28 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

The same arguments apply to Safari which is tied to Mac OS X, but also the iPhone. Both Firefox and Opera are better web browsers than Safari which is tied to Mac OS X and the iPhone OS X.

Moreover, Apple is illegally blocking Firefox and Opera developpers from distributing their web browser through the iTunes iPhone App Store for use on the iPhone.

I encourage the developpers of Firefox and Opera to launch an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Apple which is illegally blocking their web browsers from distribution on the iTunes iPhone store.


While the percentage of Safari users on OS X seems to be significantly higher than IE users on Windows, calling Apple's policy to not allow for private APIs illegal and calling for anti-trust lawsuits is laughable.
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post #29 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

The people deciding whether to sue MS or not on competition grounds are civil servants and not politicians.

They're proxy politicians.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

They will not limit your choice on IE or any other browser.

Neither does MS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

MS would be free to install it as a free standing browser.

This is government doublespeak.
post #30 of 150
European Union vs MS regarding ethics.... That's all I gotta say.
post #31 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

If MS would incorporate MS Office with the operating system that would incur the wrath of the competition commissioner. It is the incorporation of an app, not the provision of a separate app that is at issue

They incorporate Notepad and Wordpad, yet those word processing apps having incurred any such wrath. The reason they don't include them is because they are major profit centers for the company.

Should MS be sued because they include various backgrounds and screensavers that reduce the ability for others to compete in this potential market? Of course not, because those so inclined can install their own at will, just like they can do with 3rd-party web browsers.
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post #32 of 150
It's true though, how are you going to download something else if your machine didn't come with a browser, but microsoft seriously needs to detach iE from windows cause dude that shit really is a bug magnet & having that thing embedded into the OS makes things even Worse, i mean why should people have iE in their machines if they don't want it.
post #33 of 150
If IE is to windows what Safari is to Mac, why don't they force Apple to remove Safari from Mac OS and iPhone OS. While at it, remove iCal, iTunes, Quicktime, Address book, iChat...

Just leave IE there, if you want to use another browser install Safari or Firefox.

Isn't Quicktime embedded deep down Mac OS X?
..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
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..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
~ Captain Obvious on Windows Vista
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post #34 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

While not a fan of MS' monopolistic practices, this is not one of them.

PS: Does Vista use IE to update the OS or does it use a seperate app like *nx-based systems?

I think it uses a program called Windows Update... but I don't know if it is linked to IE or not.
..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
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..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
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post #35 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouragan View Post

The same arguments apply to Safari which is tied to Mac OS X, but also the iPhone. Both Firefox and Opera are better web browsers than Safari which is tied to Mac OS X and the iPhone OS X.

Moreover, Apple is illegally blocking Firefox and Opera developpers from distributing their web browser through the iTunes iPhone App Store for use on the iPhone.

I encourage the developpers of Firefox and Opera to launch an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Apple which is illegally blocking their web browsers from distribution on the iTunes iPhone store.


That's not so true, you might think Apple is going it but in reality things are different, as you might recalled this past week a few bullshit browsers where release throw the App store, all based on webkit, so i don't see how Apple can block firefox since they use webkit same as safari. People quickly jump to all kinds of conclusion when they don't see something on the app store, although these browsers seem small you can't cook one overnight you know
post #36 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

That's not so true, you might think Apple is going it but in reality things are different, as you might recalled this past week a few bullshit browsers where release throw the App store, all based on webkit, so i don't see how Apple can block firefox since they use webkit same as safari. People quickly jump to all kinds of conclusion when they don't see something on the app store, although these browsers seem small you can't cook one overnight you know

Firefox and Opera mobile browsers have a different code from Mobile Safari, they are based in Webkit too but it is a different interpreted code. Apple have on the developer I don't know what that they do not accept interpreted code.
..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
~ Captain Obvious on Windows Vista
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..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
~ Captain Obvious on Windows Vista
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post #37 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eduararipe View Post

If IE is to windows what Safari is to Mac, why don't they force Apple to remove Safari from Mac OS and iPhone OS. While at it, remove iCal, iTunes, Quicktime, Address book, iChat...

Just leave IE there, if you want to use another browser install Safari or Firefox.

Isn't Quicktime embedded deep down Mac OS X?

Your not getting it, if safari for example is exposing my mac to a security risk i could just take it and delete and never see it again if i wish, iE is embedded to the OS so you can't get rid of it and have windows work right, to me iE is like a door for all kinds things to makes it's way to your machine but a door you can't close shut
post #38 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

Your not getting it, if safari for example is exposing my mac to a security risk i could just take it and delete and never see it again if i wish, iE is embedded to the OS so you can't get rid of it and have windows work right, to me iE is like a door for all kinds things to makes it's way to your machine but a door you can't close shut

Oh I see, so if there's something wrong with the app, lets say Safari, I just delete from the applications folder. In Windows I would have to remove from add/remove windows features in the add/remove programs configuration pane.

So the point is not making IE so embedded, so you can remove and use something else like Firefox. What I don't see is the fine line between programs and OS Utilities... like Keychain.

Tank-you!
..more bugs than a Chinese restaurant.
~ Captain Obvious on Windows Vista
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post #39 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Dude, everyone knows that the Saucer people made a deal with the reverse vampires years ago that completely stopped this kind of thing. Why, it was renewed just last week at the Tin-foil hat seminar in London.

There is a moral argument being made here, and it goes something like this: "Microsoft is bad because it is a monopoly. They need to be regulated by someone good. The government should regulate them, because the government is good."

The moral argument here is that "All monopolies are bad. X is bad because it is a monopoly". Very well then - let's take their logic and apply it to another group (such as the government) to see if it still holds up. Well, here's the problem: the government is also a monopoly. So, let's see how well this works out:

"The government is bad because it is a monopoly. They need to be regulated by someone good. The government should regulate them, because the government is good." Clearly, that's absurd - its a contradiction, not to mention a conflict of interest. This idea just doesn't work- if you want someone to regulate monopolies, governments are certainly the last group who should be given that task. It simply isn't logical to call for governments to regulate monopolies. You can still want it, but then you're not making arguments anymore - they're just empty opinions, like "I like blue", in which case, you have to stop acting so pompous and so sure that you are right. If you don't want your theories to be held up to logical consistency, then drop the moralising, gloating and finger-wagging. I don't mean this as an attack, please don't misunderstand me- it would really be great if we chose to use reason instead of just tossing empty opinions pack and forth. But until then, if you just have an opinion, then be honest about it: "I like the idea of the government regulating Microsoft. I don't know why, and it might not be right or logical - but I still like it." Does that make sense?
post #40 of 150
I can certainty understand how it might seem... unconventional, and even alarming, to hold governments to the same standard as we hold anything else. People like to invent moral rules on the spot or just repeat what they were told, and apply these rules inconsistently, because that is how moral arguments were used against them when they were growing up. I get that most people aren't rational, and as unfortunate as that is, its a reality we have to deal with. So I'm not going to get angry at you for using a straw man attack - that would be silly. However, I hope that we can agree that logic and reason are very important here. If you want to use some other standard, then fine, but you'll have to give up the easy credibility and certainty that logic and reason will give you.
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