I came across an interesting article which articulates much of my own thoughts on the entire Microsoft Internet Explorer antitrust saga. The article on a blog JCXP which I came across for the first time. The blog seems to be by MS
fanboys supporters is calling for a boycott of Opera Soft, makers of the amazing Opera browser. The article, Opera Boycott: Clearing up a few things is actually a follow up article to the initial call for boycott.
I have some thoughts on the points presented in the second article but before that the disclaimer: I’m not a MS supporter or an Opera hater. In fact the two primary browsers on my laptop was Mozilla Firefox and Opera. I dislike IE (at least 6 and 7) primarily because of the headaches they have given me and the PITA they have been to the whole design and web-development industry. This article is not an evangelizing of IE or MS but broader thoughts on the anti trust calls when an organization starts to succeed and gains significant market share.
With that out of the way, I quote a part of the article:
"But it’s against antitrust laws!". Good to know. I’ll gladly admit I know very little about European antitrust laws (ie. barely anything). All I know, and this has been my stance since the very beginning, is that Microsoft has (or should have) every right to include their own Internet Explorer web browser as the only and default option in Windows. This applies to any and all companies on any matter, not just Microsoft. If Microsoft were to file an antitrust complaint agaisnt[sic] Apple for including Safari as the default browser in OS X, I would be just as peeved. Many have been saying that Microsoft has been taking advantage of its dominance of the market by bundling IE with Windows and that they are forcing it on customers. I do not see how that is true in any way. Nothing has changed in the last 15 years. Internet Explorer has been an integral and key feature of Windows ever since Windows 95, before Microsoft "dominated" the market. It’s not like Microsoft only recently started bundling IE with Windows, it has been there all along.
This is a view point I agree with whole heartedly. Why should an organization which has succeeded so wholly and entirely on their own suddenly be branded as cheaters? If this is the case, than is it not applicable for _all_ utilities being bundled with an OS, any OS (calculator, graphics program, image viewer etc). Isn’t Apple being anti-competitive by bundling Safari (and only Safari) with OSX? Or consider this – If Intel manufactured CPU cooling fans and they were bundled with the CPU, would they be behaving anti-competitively? Even though there are a zillion other brands and types of CPU cooling fans available for the buyer to choose
Let’s take another example: IPods are the most popular portable media players. They work primarily with ITunes which is what is bundled with those devices. Additionally, installing iTunes also forces a user to install QuickTime (a very bad media player and bloat ware IMO). Is that not forcing the consumer out of a choice?
Yes, there is Winamp, GTKPod and hundreds of other apps which can be used to manage the iPod and view the media files. But they are NOT bundled with the iPod. Why should they? Apple should and is free to bundle what they want with THEIR product. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. And if you still buy it, don’t install it (ITunes that is. QuickTime unfortunately is SHOVED down everyone’s throats by ITunes. Ugh)In the same vein, there are lots of other browsers available on the Internet, most of them definitely better than IE. But that does not mean that MS should start bundling everyone of those with it’s OS. You don’t like the components, then either don’t buy Windows (there is always Linux) or don’t use the browser.
I am not saying that MS is all holy. If they use their influence to force computer makers to install their software or to pressurizing them against installing competitors software then they should be taken to task. That would be an abuse of monopoly, NOT including their own software in their own product.
Coming a bit late but I wanted to jot down my thoughts on Opera Unite. My first thought, it is an awesome concept with the potential to change the way the Internet is used and also a huge boon for the us users, but in a different manner than envisaged by the Unite team. But I also feel it is a bit lacking as I will explain below.