Google, Too, Chooses Lobbying Over Competing

from the is-that-so-googley? dept

Microsoft's increasing regulatory headache from the European Commission concerns its Internet Explorer browser that comes standard with Windows. We've said before that this investigation is prima facie silly given the vibrant and increasing competition in the browser market, but it looks like things are just going to get worse for Microsoft. First, it was Mozilla deciding to complain that Microsoft was creating an unhealthy browser market by bundling IE with Windows. Now, Google is jumping onto the bandwagon and arguing that Microsoft's policy limits competition and harms innovation.

This is primarily problematic because the browser market is anything but uncompetitive. Firefox has created what is widely considered a better product, and, wouldn't you know it, gained considerable market share around the world (as high as 30% in some regions). More recently, Google introduced its own browser, Chrome, that launched to accolades and much user adoption. By introducing regulators into the browser market, these companies will all be distracted from providing users with the best possible product.

But what's even more confounding is Google's involvement. Obviously the company desires control of most browsers so it can set the defaults in its favor, but it is increasingly obvious that Google should not be bringing regulatory attention to the Internet -- especially when it comes to antitrust questions. Although claims of Google's "monopoly" are as specious as Internet Explorer's, making noise about antitrust is likely to come back and bite Google, especially given the rising number of political enemies they have.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Your headline might be a bit over the top. Who says they are not doing both? Wouldn't that be a good idea? One doesn't preclude the other. Gotta find something to do with lawyers on your staff.

     

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    David T, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Crushing the IE juggernaught

    If IE is not bundled with Windows and people had to choose which browser they wanted, I suspect MS would lose most of its market share overnight.

    Weighing a devastating strike against MS browser market share against irking some nebulous regulatory specter, I would opt for putting MS on the chopping block. Google making a solid tactical call on this one, I think.

     

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    Dave, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    A bit of payback for MS screwing over Google for trying to buy yahoo.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    Re: Crushing the IE juggernaught

    I don't. There are far to many people out there that are unwilling to change. I'd bet that, if given a choice, most people would still chose IE. I get too many complaints about the change from IE6 to IE7.

    Google doesn't need to litigate, once IE8 comes out of Beta, people will be flocking to other browsers in droves.

    If I were Microsoft I would ask Google what they recommend. Remove the browser completely, not allowing people online at all? Bundle other, soon to be obsolete (everything gets updated) browsers into Windows? Spend extra time and money to develop another browser (outside of IE and MSN) to create a third browser to allow people to download one of the competitors? And this all still ignores the fact that MAC has only Safari and Linux has only Mozilla.

    It's been a while since I used chrome (since it was built on top of IE), can one change the search provider used in the address bar?

     

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    Nick, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re: Dave

    Uh, MS only brought attention to the Googlehoo deal because Google helped to disrupt the Microhoo deal 6 months earlier.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    "Firefox has created what is widely considered a better product, and, wouldn't you know it, gained considerable market share around the world"

    Since they build a better mousetrap yet only see a 30% market share some barrier to entry in the market must be in place.

     

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    Matt, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    hmm

    I don't know if this is really lobbying.

    I mean we really do want to push MS to forcibly unbundle IE. It's not about the browser dominance, it creates a whole computer dominance. I don't think having them include multiple browsers is a good idea, but I do think that some method needs to come up to allow people to choose. That in itself would take years to come up with a fair/good method.

    Remember: they tie IE to the file explorer too. If they can force unbundling then MS can't force IE as the file explorer either. I find this to be the truly critical factor.

    So I think this isn't just a black and white google is taking the easy road here...maybe that's just me.

     

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    Mikester, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Basic app

    I believe IE has become a basic part of the out-of-the-box functionality for Windows. Can you imagine if there was no way to browse the Internet after installing (or reinstalling) Windows? I don't understand why this is such a big deal.
    Having a browser out of the box is to be assumed as much as having Notepad for text files or the Calculator app.

    How are you suppose to download your browser of choice if you can get to the web to start with?

     

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    Tank Szuba, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Bad form for Google

    after i read the comments and the story i had time to consider how this should be approached and i honestly cannot say how you can view packaging IE as being monopolistic. IS it monopolistic to only provide vehicles capable of burning only one of two fuels? you need transportation in order to get to a place where you can make a change from the fuel you burn to something different if possible but most do not. So how can you call bundling an inferior browser with your software monopolistic, how would the vast majority of people be able to access the internet (Chrome, Opera, or firefox) without first having to use and dislike IE and subsequently search for something better or suffer with it. I cannot speak on behalf of or speculate about "Most People" because we all know there generally is no "most people" it is most of the people you happen to know. As for the people i interact with most are dimly aware that there is even a difference between the internet and IE. They think of them as one in the same since it is IE that brings the internet to them and they dont distinguish, why should they, it does not behave like any other "program" they interact with. combining that with the fact that Google can still stick its claws into IE with its toolbars I dont see how they expect this to do them any good at all as the author pints out that they too are getting more and more anti-trust attention as well. Let the people, the consumers, and the rest of the surfing world decide what is and is not right on the internet. not Governments. It did not take government involvement for people to join together and develop Linux into a better product than MS can offer, it took those who were dissatisfied to boycott MS in the form of making something better. Not a government. I love Google and i hate MS so I am a little biased but i must say that my bias stops at the point where it seems that regulation is the only answer. Sorry Google you are going to "f" this up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Dave

    hooa hooa?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    If IE weren't required for virtually all enterprize intranet apps, it might lose some more market share. Until it does, nothing will change.

     

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    Dave (profile), Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:47am

    I hate this lobbying shit, how isn't it illegal yet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Crushing the IE juggernaught

    Linux does not have only Mozilla. It's all dependent on the distro, and there are a LOT of choices to go with there before you even get to browser inclusion... Apples and Oranges.

     

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    Nathania, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    It's amazing how Google became the number one, monopolistic search engine despite Windows bundling of IE and setting MSN as the home page.

    Doesn't that mean that Google can, in fact, make inroads despite bundling?

    And when Android starts showing up on netbooks in 2010, will Chrome be bundled with it?

    Does Google's CEO Eric Schmidt who sits on the board with Apple have a problem with Safari being bundled with Mac OS X?

     

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    chris (profile), Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Bad form for Google

    the monopoly angle today is not what it was in 99. in 99 MS was on trial for using it's windows monopoly to push netscape out of the market.

    the biggest example was telling apple that if it didn't ship IE for the mac, it would stop making office for the mac, rendering the mac pretty much useless at that time.

    things are different now, and i guess europe wants to see MS punished for it's actions from a decade ago.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    It's money, it's America. Nothing else matters.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    If this applied to cars...

    Why can't I get a new car from the factory with an Alpine sound system in it? What if I buy a Chevy but prefer Ford floor mats? The world is full of examples of people customizing factory products to suit their needs or desires. It's simply far too complicated for an OEM to offer you every option under the sun. They give you what they want to give you, and then you're free to do what you please with the product. Of course, there may be warranty implications in doing so, but that's beside the point.

    The only slight difference in the case of Microsoft and Windows/IE is that you can't fully remove IE from your system. That is something that really needs to be addressed somehow. But even though it's there, it's fairly easy to ignore once you setup another browser as default on your system. I personally wouldn't uninstall it even if I could, even though I'm a heavy Firefox user, because every so often you run into a site or app that can't function properly without IE, sad to say. Additionally, sometimes it's nice to have two completely separate browser, because it's a different set of temp files, different set of cookies, etc. That allows you to sometimes compare two things side by side which you couldn't do with a single browser. Example: easily compare two different versions of a shopping cart for one online retailer. But I digress.

    Basically, the only legitimate need for legislation in this matter is to get Microsoft to finally un-integrate IE so it can be fully removed from the system if users so choose. Other than that, I can think of no valid reason for forcing them to bundle competing web browsers into Windows. Honestly, it takes less than 5 minutes to download and install Firefox, if you have a fast internet connection. Why spend millions of dollars in legal fees trying to force Microsoft into preloading it? The only reason for doing that is pure greed. Sorry, but greed is NOT the basis for a lawsuit, or a business model, for that matter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    I think I can reasonably speak for at least half the people online in America.

    I used IE for years, downloaded Firefox about 6 months ago and have used it since, but I really don't see much difference between the two. Sure, you can put scripts in, but I have not used them, I really don't see the difference between either product.

     

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  19.  
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    Jared, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Why is everyone picking on MS

    I think the EU can go to H-E-L-L! I don't want to re-hash things but people bash MS for coming out with 5 versions of Vista. Do you know why they HAD to? Um... the EU... They said that MS can no longer included eveything and the kitchen sink any more... if they want to sell in Europe they had to break it up and GIVE people a choice... Hmmm... Some choice... Oh ... Wait... they (MS) were also told they now longer could bundle a messenger program with their software and the end user would have to download it... Hmmmm... More crap for the end user because of the EU.... I think it's time the PEOPLE stood up and told the EU we are sick of them destroying consumer products for their own gain. You can't tell me you can't smell a payout from Apple or Google can you? If you can't you better go see a doctor. How is apple able to include their Browser, and all those other apps that come with OS X? How is it Apple can control Everything from the hardware to the software and no be a monopoly.... Just my 2 cents

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re:

    What part about EUROPEAN Commission did you not understand?

     

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  21.  
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    Saphert, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Google and Microsoft

    Honestly I see why Google decided to put their nose in this. MS did a nasty thing in lobbying and blocking their deal with Yahoo.

    In all honesty Google pissed off MS by attracting a lot of their talent to begin with. MS took it as a slight and wanted to get revenge, so they did. Then Google took what MS did and wants to get revenge, and they did. And on the cycle goes. I don't believe it will end anytime soon.

     

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    Alan, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Why is everyone picking on MS

    You just can't be further from the truth. The decision for 5 versions of Vista falls solely within the Microsoft marketing division. The only thing the EU have done so far is to tell MS to remove Media Player from ALL versions sold in Europe (including XP as well as all Vista versions). Of course, as you say, MS could tell the EU to go to hell, but then they would lose OVER 50% of their sales - Europe, funnily enough is a BIGGER market that North America. Way to go to cut your own throat...

     

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    Zaphod (profile), Feb 25th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    This is so last millenia...

    Either people are getting short memories, or this is the same suit we were hearing about in the 90s.

    Yes, even back then Microsoft's competitors wanted M$ to have to un-bundle windows and IE. Suits were filed, some settled, some lost, but the fact of the matter is, M$ still distros IE with Windows.

    Then the competitor browsers wanted a free ride in on the operating system too. Such a load of crap. That also didn't amount to a hill of beans. If they had put firefox on the CD, then chances are the addition of a GPL browser, would have caused a lawsuit trying to make MS open source all of windows. Ain't gonna happen.

    Fact of the matter is, if you don't get a browser with your OS, you won't be able to download anyone elses browser to get away from IE.

    Do you think I support MS? Hell no, I am using Opera!

    Do you think I like FireFox because I use Opera? Hell no, FF is a shambling pile of bloatware compared to Opera.

    Do I think it's right for any one group to demand what another group does with it's product? Hell no, I'm a libertarian!

    So let's move on from this stupid, insipid, smegmatic attack on how M$ chooses to sell their stuff.

     

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  24.  
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    Other Dave, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Evil vs. Evil

    The only reason this is big news is that we expect Google not to act this way.

    When MS moved to block the Google/Yahoo deal, was it any surprise?

    And I agree with Mikester, there are a lot of other built-in apps that come out of the box with Windows. It is seriously BS to say they can't package it with IE.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Up To

    Firefox has created what is widely considered a better product, and, wouldn't you know it, gained considerable market share around the world (as high as 30% in some regions).

    First of all, I notice how you used "as high as" and "in some regions" instead of some overall average number. That kind of writing reminds me of the "up to" marketing that some ISPs use: it's misleading and doesn't reflect well on your character.

    And if Firefox is the better browser and free, then doesn't it tell you that something is wrong with the market if it only has "as high as 30% in some regions"?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Basic app

    How are you suppose to download your browser of choice if you can get to the web to start with?

    That's funny. Do you really think that the only to access the Internet is with a web browser? Maybe you should read up about the Internet a little before making such comments so that you don't embarrass yourself so much.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Basic app

    That's funny. Do you really think that the only to access the Internet is with a web browser? Maybe you should read up about the Internet a little before making such comments so that you don't embarrass yourself so much.

    You seem to be proving his point. If he (a person who understands enough of this area to comment on this thread) doesn't understand how to get a new browser without already having one, how can you possibly expect that the average computer user will know?

    Should they "read up about the Internet a little ... so that you don't embarrass yourself so much."

    Is this what you will tell your grandmother when she asks how she is supposed to view pictures that a family member just sent her?

    That is so insulting that it sounds like you don't care what choices the user faces, but only that your browser of choice grows in market share, something I expect is at the root of a lot of this legislation. Education is the key, not forcing arbitrary choices down a user's throat.

     

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    Mikester, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Basic app

    That's funny. Do you really think that the only to access the Internet is with a web browser? Maybe you should read up about the Internet a little before making such comments so that you don't embarrass yourself so much.

    Gee, thanks for the great contribution to the thread. Yes, I do know that the Internet is more that just the web, however as the commenter above notes, most people do not. Most of them would probably be furious that the computer/OS they just shelled out for cannot do something as basic as browse to Google out of the box.

     

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  29.  
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    Zaphod (profile), Feb 25th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Pardon me but...

    Do you think you could teach your mother how to use a CLI FTP application to log into moz's servers to download a better browser than MSIE? My mom loves FF (even if I don't like it), but I would be damned if I could teach her that trick. Heck, even Lynx would confuse her.

    (soapbox on)

    BTW, I have been using the net since '84. I used to dial up my local community college, use their link to the univerity 150 miles way, and use corral.uwyo.edu's LYNX browser to go chat at cleveland.freenet.edu. Trust me, I probably know the guts of this kludge we call the internet better than you.

    But my elder parents, wouldn't have a clue. Neither would yours unless they are freakishly brilliant, or you're still a teeny-bopper.

    (soapbox off)

    L8R !-)

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 10:57pm

    Re:

    PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO CHANGE IS NOT A BARRIER.

     

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  31.  
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    db0, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 12:07am

    Here we go again

    Techdirt is once again unwilling to recognise monopoly and anti-competitive tactis when it's staring them in the face. I wrote about this last time and the point still stands. The lawsuit is about their tactics (now and then), not about the current status

     

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    Mike (profile), Feb 26th, 2009 @ 12:53am

    Re: Here we go again

    Techdirt is once again unwilling to recognise monopoly and anti-competitive tactis when it's staring them in the face. I wrote about this last time and the point still stands. The lawsuit is about their tactics (now and then), not about the current status

    Um. What is an "anti-competitive" tactic?

     

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  33.  
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    db0, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Here we go again

    Using your monopoly status to stiffle the competition? An example is bundling your product with your OS (on which you have a monopoly) so that you can drive all competitors out of business and then start charging for it once there is no-one to compete with.

     

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    sf suave, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 5:13am

    Re: Basic app

    Why do we always get this same, tired arguement everytime we talk about IE.

    "How are you suppose to download your browser of choice if you can get to the web to start with?"

    You dont need IE to access the internet!

    Seriously, for the uninformed, open an explorer window and type a URL in the address bar, magic! Wow, look what happened, I got to the internet without IE, thats amazing!

    Apologies for the sarcasm but this is starting to bug me now.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 5:22am

    From the Comments on the Google Public Policy Blog

    There was a useful comment made at the end of the Google's Blog post by Stefan Gustavson who said...

    ---
    The point most of you are missing is that MS is not simply bundling IE with Windows. If that was the only thing they did, it would not be any worse than Apple bundling Safari with MacOS, or Ubuntu providing Firefox in the default installation. A web browser is a pretty indispensable part of the modern desktop, and Windows would be crippled without one.

    However, three important points to consider are the following:

    1) MS has effectively forbidden OEM vendors to install any competing browser along with Windows on new computers. Doing so would make them lose their heavy discount on OEM Windows licenses.

    (Yes, MacOS bundles Safari, but only Apple sells Macs with MacOS preinstalled, so no shady OEM deals are involved there.)

    2) MS has, for no obvious technical reasons, tied the browser component very tightly with the OS. It is actually impossible to uninstall IE from Windows - you are stuck with it. (Removing Safari from MacOS is simply a matter of deleting the application, and then it's completely gone, for good. Apple's system software update does not arbitrarily require a web browser to function.)

    3) For a very long time, Internet Explorer did not adhere to international web standards, so web sites that wanted to support both IE and other browsers had to jump through a lot of hoops to work around incompatibilities. Most of these incompatibilities were designed into IE on purpose, they were not bugs. (Yes, Netscape did some ugly things too back in the nineties. The world is not black and white.)

    These are the anti-competitive issues. Bundling is OK. The case is about MS removing choice for Windows users and trying to take control over the Web by making a majority of web pages incompatible with existing standards and inaccessible with competing browsers.

    So, people, read before you write, OK? You need to know what you are talking about before you can make any useful comments.

    ---

    Just to makes some of the connections crystal clear here:

    As many commenters have pointed out the general public is not very computer literate and often don't distinguish between 'the internet' and Internet Explorer. So the preloaded browser is very important. And it would be nice if an OEM could offer an alternative experience (maybe a pimped version of Firefox, or a value-added Opera, or the nice new fast Safari). But they can't.

    That certainly sounds anti-competitive to me.

    I suspect Microsoft aren't going to change the way they do business out of the goodness of their heart, which means that legal means are the last resort.

    Clearly Google would be idiotic to leave this to chance. Google is hugely vulnerable to that initial user experience- if IE comes installed with only MS based search (maybe a start page that by default pops up with a Live Search page) then due to Microsofts dominant position in as the most popular OS many people will never even try Google- or Cuil or Baidu or Ask.com.

    Its not like Google wants for competition. And if you think switching browsers (download browser, install, transfer bookmarks and familiarise yourself with any differences in the software) is as easy as switching search engines (type URL or in FF click on the little drop down menu next to the search box) then well... I'm flabbergasted.

    Maybe in a couple of generations when everyone is much more computer literate and changing browsers really IS a non event for the general populace this wouldn't be an issue, but currently as it stands I agree with Google: MS have a case to answer.

     

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    db0, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Basic app

    Er, that's basically because IE and WE are basically the same application?

    It's not that I don't agree that you don't need IE to access the internet, but your comment was just uninformed.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    bundling IE

    I clearly remember the M$ - Netscape fiasco. Mysteriously, Netscape had "problems" when IE was bundled; in fact, it was so difficult to get Netscape to work properly (and IE was so seamless) that it made no sense to use IE.
    Unbundling IE might not solve that sort of insidious maliciousness, but it would go a long way; and remove the "installed stuff works better inherently" argument.
    You blew it.

     

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    Mike (profile), Feb 26th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    Using your monopoly status to stiffle the competition?

    That would imply that someone was being stifled. Yet, as the evidence clearly shows, everyone else is GAINING on Microsoft. How is that stifling?

    An example is bundling your product with your OS (on which you have a monopoly) so that you can drive all competitors out of business and then start charging for it once there is no-one to compete with.

    Yes, and prima facie evidence that this is not happening is the fact that even when you bundled an app with your OS (on which you have a large share of the market, though not a monopoly), you still ended up losing marketshare to upstart competitors.

    You seem to be confusing straight up competition with "anti-competitive tactics."

     

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    Rekrul, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Many (most?) computer users today are completely clueless. I'd even go so far as to say that when it comes to computers, a large percentage of them are downright stupid. They'll use whatever comes with their computer and never even consider that there might be something better. Many of them never install anything else. They expect the computer to be "complete" right out of the box.

     

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    db0, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    Just because you are winning despite your opponent cheating does not mean your opponent is not cheating.

    Everyone else is gaining NOW on Microsoft because Free software is one thing they cannot kill through sheer market share and their classic tactis (although they do try to find other tactics that work, ie FUD). However they did manage to do this on almost all commercial competitors. From Real Player, to Netscape to Lotus to Digital Research. For some reason you seem to have a selective memory when regarding all those who WERE stiffled by MS anti-competitive tactics.

    Again, if you didn't read my post (that I linked before) I urge you to do so as I laid my argument there in more detail.

     

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    Mike (profile), Feb 26th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    Just because you are winning despite your opponent cheating does not mean your opponent is not cheating.

    COMPETITION is NOT cheating.

    However they did manage to do this on almost all commercial competitors. From Real Player, to Netscape to Lotus to Digital Research. For some reason you seem to have a selective memory when regarding all those who WERE stiffled by MS anti-competitive tactics.

    If that's what this lawsuit were about you *might* have a point. But it's not. It's about the browser market.

    And, for that matter, I'd suggest that you're wrong in your initial assessment. Microsoft beat all of the companies you listed above by creating a BETTER PRODUCT. The end result was that consumers were better off, not worse. Companies who could create better products were able to beat Microsoft in the market -- and many have: Intuit, Adobe, Apple and Google are just a few who come to mind.

    You seem to have trouble confusing competition with what you seem to think is unfair. There's nothing "unfair" about building a better product.

    The very point of antitrust should be to make sure that consumers aren't worse off. If they were worse off then there would be an issue, but that's not what happened, nor is it what's happening.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    db0, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    COMPETITION is NOT cheating.
    So you think that everything goes in "competition"? Because I define competition as actually making a better product and outselling/outspreading your competitors. But what you seem to be saying is that everything is OK as long as you're winning market share.
    If that's what this lawsuit were about you *might* have a point. But it's not. It's about the browser market.
    And the lawsuit was opened by Opera who faced similar tactics to Netscape. Or do you think that Netscape lost only because it was inferior as well?
    And, for that matter, I'd suggest that you're wrong in your initial assessment. Microsoft beat all of the companies you listed above by creating a BETTER PRODUCT. The end result was that consumers were better off, not worse. Companies who could create better products were able to beat Microsoft in the market -- and many have: Intuit, Adobe, Apple and Google are just a few who come to mind.
    Aaahahahahahahaahahha...gasp...aaahahaha So there you have it, the perfect ignorance of what Microsoft products are. Tell me Mike, do you consider that Microsoft builds better products and this is why it's winning or that it's winning so it MUST be building better products? I suggest you check the history of MS products, how inferior they have always been to the competition and how the experts of the time have always been scratching their head on how very obviously second class products can grab market space. Excel VS Lotus Notes? MS Word VS WordPerfect? There's NO competition here. The only reason MS finally came out on top is due to their aforementioned anti-competitive tactics. If you are not aware of MS' shady history now would be a good time to educate yourself.
    You seem to have trouble confusing competition with what you seem to think is unfair. There's nothing "unfair" about building a better product.
    You seem to confuse competition with simply gaining market share and then correlating from there to the (false) fact that this is because of better product.
    The very point of antitrust should be to make sure that consumers aren't worse off. If they were worse off then there would be an issue, but that's not what happened, nor is it what's happening.
    It IS happening. Were it not for MS tactics, then IE would be at around 10% as it's obviously an inferior product. Not only that, but even if other browsers manage to overcome all the anti-competitive traps MS spreads around, it does not mean that MS shouldn't be punished.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Feb 26th, 2009 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    So you think that everything goes in "competition"? Because I define competition as actually making a better product and outselling/outspreading your competitors. But what you seem to be saying is that everything is OK as long as you're winning market share.

    No, I quite clearly said (please read before making such bad assumptions) that as long as the consumer is *better off* then there's no problem. The point of antitrust statutes are to protect consumers.

    That's not anything goes.

    And the lawsuit was opened by Opera who faced similar tactics to Netscape. Or do you think that Netscape lost only because it was inferior as well?

    If you used Netscape, you would know that it WAS inferior. Look, I used Netscape from it's very first release, and stuck with it until the very end. But, by that time it was as bloated piece of crap. IE3 really was a better product -- and the market agreed.

    Aaahahahahahahaahahha...gasp...aaahahaha So there you have it, the perfect ignorance of what Microsoft products are. Tell me Mike, do you consider that Microsoft builds better products and this is why it's winning or that it's winning so it MUST be building better products?

    If you look at those markets, yes, Microsoft started out with crappy products, but they became much better over time. Which is, yes, Microsoft's MO. The first versions suck, but they get better. As I pointed out, plenty of companies have, in fact, beaten Microsoft. If they were so powerful, then how do you explain that?

    And, yes, it's the customers who decide what's a better product, and they flocked to Office in part because Office provided a MUCH BETTER overall experience than Lotus and WP -- which didn't work together well. Sure, as a standalone spreadsheet program Lotus may have been better (that's debatable, since the company took its eye off the ball when it went whole hog on Notes/Domino). And in the early days WP was a better product -- but Word definitely did get better, while WordPerfect rested on its laurels.

    The only reason MS finally came out on top is due to their aforementioned anti-competitive tactics. If you are not aware of MS' shady history now would be a good time to educate yourself.

    Oh, grow up. I'm quite aware of what Microsoft has done and I was all for the original lawsuit when it occurred. But these days, there's simply no excuse for doing that in the browser market. Opera didn't fail because of Microsoft's abuse. It failed because it didn't make a product people wanted.

    You seem to confuse competition with simply gaining market share and then correlating from there to the (false) fact that this is because of better product.

    The market clearly thinks it's a better product. Until we elect you grandmaster of "what is good" I trust the market. Not you.

    It IS happening. Were it not for MS tactics, then IE would be at around 10% as it's obviously an inferior product.

    I'm not sure how you can just declare that. Look, I don't use IE at all. I use FF and Chrome, and it's a better product for me. But for many people, IE is a perfectly good product, and PART OF THE BENEFIT is that they don't have to go and download another browser. So why force them to? Just because some dude who won't even admit his real name says it's "better"? Sorry, man. That's not how the world works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    db0, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 1:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    No, I quite clearly said (please read before making such bad assumptions) that as long as the consumer is *better off* then there's no problem.
    How can you ever tell if the consumers are better off or not? Do you have an objective way to tell? No you only look at what is out there and decide that if it's out there, it must be because it's better for consumers, which is totally fallacious resoning. The anti-trust ARE protecting consumers since superior products stop being developed and pushed aside when MS "outcompetes" them.
    As I pointed out, plenty of companies have, in fact, beaten Microsoft. If they were so powerful, then how do you explain that?
    Please mention the commercial companies who have beaten Microsoft on products they were competing directly with them and relying on the underlying OS (just to avoid you mentioning the Game consoles where MS is losing since it has to actually play fair)
    And, yes, it's the customers who decide what's a better product, and they flocked to Office in part because Office provided a MUCH BETTER overall experience than Lotus and WP -- which didn't work together well
    Or it could be also because MS was giving away Office for free? Or it could be because of hidden APIs that made those programs malfunction most often than not and make MS look shiny? How many times do I have to say this CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.
    And in the early days WP was a better product -- but Word definitely did get better, while WordPerfect rested on its laurels.
    In the early days?! WP was better than Word up to 2000!
    and PART OF THE BENEFIT is that they don't have to go and download another browser. So why force them to?
    Have you been even reading the rest of the comments here? This lawsuit is not simply to force MS to unbundle IE (which it only did to avoid being slapped around by the netscape lawsuit in the first place) but to make them pay and stop their anti-competitive tactis. Tactics such as forcing their OEM clients to not use other browsers etc. The solution does not have to be "take off IE from all PCs" but can very well be "ship all PCs with IE and FF" or "Pay a big fine for being anti-competitive and allow OEMs to ship with any browser they want" or anything else that makes it better for the consumers. Yes, people get "value" when they don't have to download a browser and MS abuses that and they deserve to be punished for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    db0, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Here we go again

    Oh, and btw, consumers were quite a bit worse off when Netscape closed down. IE6 Development stopped altogether (which should outright point out to you WHY IE was being developed in the first place) and very soon thereafter, people had to use IE and propriertary MS technologies (which were locked to the OS) in order to access websites.

    Web standards fell by the wayside, using anything other than MS Windows & IE was problematic (not because windows was more valuable, but because MS tactics dropped the utility of everything else) and everyone was worse off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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