Old Habits Or New Envy? Microsoft Bans 3rd Party Browsers On Windows RT

from the antitrust-bells? dept

The big antitrust case in the US against Microsoft about a decade ago focused on Microsoft’s efforts in the browser war to lock out Netscape. While Microsoft lost that case, regime change at the DOJ meant that Microsoft got a slap on the wrist, rather than being broken up (as was originally proposed). In the long run, this may have been the best solution anyway. The market itself realized soon after that there was a pretty big opening for an innovative and effective web browser, and new competitors sprung up and took market share away from Microsoft: first Mozilla’s Firefox, then Apple’s Safari and finally Google’s Chrome (and, yes, there have been a few smaller players as well, but they’re all pretty small). Either way, given that Microsoft technically lost the antitrust case filed against it, and the key reason was its efforts to block the use of Netscape, you would think that the company would be a bit more sensitive about blocking competing browsers.

However, a war of words is brewing between Microsoft and Mozilla over the fact that Microsoft is effectively banning native third party browsers on Windows RT — which will effectively become the “mobile device” version of Windows. On top of that, the company apparently is blocking the use of certain APIs that would be useful — and which Microsoft’s own browser will be able to use.

It’s easy to assume nefarious intent on the part of Microsoft, but reading through the details, it feels more like a case where Microsoft is growing jealous of Apple’s control over the iPhone platform, and is effectively looking to do some of the same with its next generation mobile offering. I think that’s pretty short-sighted. Denying third party browsers may have worked for now, for Apple, but that’s driven (in large part) by the larger than life infatuation with Apple products. I’m not sure any other company can pull it off — especially Microsoft.

The way to compete with Apple is to attack where it’s weakest — and that’s by being more open. Instead, it looks like (in typical Microsoft fashion) Microsoft has decided to try to attack Apple by copying where Apple is strongest — in its walled garden. And, in the process, the company may end up setting off some antitrust alarm bells. Oh, and also, along the way, it will severely hurt its own platform by limiting the types of useful innovations that others might provide. That doesn’t seem like a very smart business plan.

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Companies: apple, microsoft, mozilla

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Comments on “Old Habits Or New Envy? Microsoft Bans 3rd Party Browsers On Windows RT”

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John Doe says:

This is a sad move indeed

I have an Android phone and LOVE it. I just got an Android tablet and LOVE it even more. The thing I really like about Android is the openness. But, it doesn’t run Office and other Windows apps. So I figured in a year or two, my next phone and tablet may very well be MS based devices. I thought if MS pulls it off right, they may come back to dominance in the mobile market like they do in the desktop/laptop market.

But I am afraid now they will not. Not that I care who “wins”, but I was looking forward to running Office on a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard. That would be the true laptop replacement. But if MS is going to lockdown their devices like Apple then forget it. I will stick with Android and run an open office.

Like you have pointed out before, cargo cult copying doesn’t work. MS dominates for being open, Apple dominates for being closed and I am afraid any attempt MS makes to copy parts of Apple’s ecosystem will fail miserably. Nobody expects or wants that from MS and I personally don’t think Apple can make it too much longer being locked down as tight as they are.

Anonymous Coward says:


This is one of the strongest advantages of Android – its openness. Anyone can develop for Android without having to register (just download the SDK), you can develop for Android on any of the most popular operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and you can install the applications you developed on any Android device without having to register (just enable a checkbox in the settings – manufacturers cannot remove this feature, see the Android Compatibility Definition section 9).

Also, from what I recall reading in one of the Android blogs, the Android API is designed so that all the Google applications (the closed-source ones) could be programmed using only the public API. And even if that were not the case, you can get the source code for the whole API (see the AOSP).

izzitme101 (profile) says:


I’m not even sure its relevant tbh, with virtually no mobile devices in the market at the minute, they are going to have a massive uphill struggle to get anywhere i think.
The one device i know of that they do have, is shelved in the corner out of the way of everything else, and probably rarely mentioned by sales staff, and with no clue how to innovate, i reckon they’r wasting money even bothering to try.

PeterScott (profile) says:

Avoid the ARM verions.

It may not be common knowledge, but Intel with Medfield, has pretty much caught up with ARM for Perf/watt.

Avoid the Win-ARM tablets and get one with Medfield.

The Medfield tablets are wide open. Run all your old desktop software, let you install anything you want. Run all the new Metro stuff too.

The ARM tablets are a locked down subset. Pretty much Metro only, you can only install approved apps from the app store, you can’t even install a browser plugin like Flash on these tablets.

Win8 on ARM is essentially Microsofts walled garden apple clone.

Win8 on Medfield will work with that same apps store and run those walled garden metro apps, but it isn’t limited to them. You can install run anyhting, get full browser plugins, use any browser (full desktop FF/Chrome).

Anonymous Coward says:

I see this as Microsoft building in redundancy.

quick look back……

Look at the “mess” they made with XP. It worked too well , it still does work over 10 years later.
They don’t wont to make the same mistake.
Heaven forbid the make the OS so useful that it disables them from selling new OS in the future.

Microsoft should be commended for XP
If they had the choice they would never have made it so useful in the first place.

Now … Everyone should move to Android
It has the least redundancy meaning it is the most useful and will last longer.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

I have an Android phone and LOVE it. I just got an Android tablet and LOVE it even more. The thing I really like about Android is the openness. But, it doesn’t run Office and other Windows apps.

It doesn’t run Office, but there is office compatibility in several of the apps that run on Android. Plus, you can always upload the office document to Google docs and be done with it. Why you’d want Windows on a phone is beyond me…I have a hard time justifying installing it on a computer because of its instability and buggyness.

But I am afraid now they will not. Not that I care who “wins”, but I was looking forward to running Office on a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard. That would be the true laptop replacement. But if MS is going to lockdown their devices like Apple then forget it. I will stick with Android and run an open office.

In my not so humble opinion, LibreOffice is far superior to anything that Microsoft offers. I have no problem opening Office documents on my Android tablet with bluetooth keyboard. I also have no problem editing them and sending them off. And in most cases, Office is compatible with the Office format, so the receiver can open them and do whatever. The problem is that Microsoft doesn’t even follow their own specs, so some times Office corrupts the document after it is opened and edited by a non-Office editor.

Trails (profile) says:

La plus ?a change...

The Apple 2 was the first PC with significant mainstream market traction, because of its ease of use. Within a few years, MS-DOS/Windows dominated. 2 reasons: effective business marketing strategy, and allowing anyone to develop (in fact bundling BASIC). In fact the latter fed into the former, as business would be able to roll their own programs. By comparison, writting any code for Apple required a dev license from them. A barrier to tinkering which lead to more innovation on the Windows platform. Windows won because it was a more open platform, and Apple computers became niche because it was a walled garden.

Fast forward: OSx took off because it abandoned the powerpc custom platform and built on top of a rock solid BSD kernel. Said kernel, plus an x86 architecture made ports and development easier. Apple, for the first time in over a decade had mainstream market traction.

The mobile world has been lead by Apple, and for good reason. They came up with a stunning form factor and brilliant product design. The walled garden worked because they leveraged their product’s complete leapfrogging of any other phone available at the time. But the most sold phones these days are android. Others have caught up/copied the compelling aspects of the iphone and are providing a better value offering to consumers, and winning.

Windows phone 7 is a great OS. It does some very innovative things and steps away from the task/channel-specific approach of iPhones and Androids to a more integrated approach. It’s lovely. But their market share is crap, their app “ecosystem” is minute, they’re a distant third on everyone’s list of phone OSes to support. They’re the Opera of the phone OS world.

Creating a walled garden on top of that is silly. They lose out on innovation by limiting the API available for apps. Game changing apps everyone “has to have” are less likely with a limited API, as many of these evolve from tinkering. Limiting the API available to tinkerers means they’ll go somewhere else. Apple has a huge market share to leverage, Android has a huge market share and more open platform. Windows has neither.

With windows it was an anti trust issue because Windows was dominant. With Windows RT, they aren’t dominant, so all this is is dumb.

mike (profile) says:

tempest in a teapot?

MS isn’t banning 3rd party browsers in Windows 8, as sensational as that might sound.

They are just limiting apps – ALL new apps – to the metro UI, where they clearly want the innovation to be centered. Windows on ARM is focused touch and mobile, not legacy.

i would also say its a bit of a red herring. browsers are free and a commodity for most users.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:


FWIW, MS is also emulating Apple’s developer paywall – right down to the same $99US ‘subscription’ fee to have your apps listed on their store.

Some say this a great idea: a dev paywall keeps out the ankle-biters, only ‘serious’ devs need apply, do we really need 20 versions of a fart-noise generator?

Generally I agree with these arguments. But then I think: what if you needed the absolute best fart-noise generator in the world? Does it follow that the best app comes from the most monied dev?

All this aside, charging devs for a product that runs on the product you want to sell the public is just plain stupid. For both MS and Apple.

Anonymous Coward says:

If it means not having to worry about antivirus and other BS on my phone, so be it. First and foremost it needs to be a functional communication device. No-nonsense, it just plain works. Yes a lot of open-ness is sacrificed for this. The people who share this opinion prefer apple products.

Having an open platform has it’s downsides. I’m willing to deal with those issues for a workstation, not my phone.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a sad move indeed

Libre office kicks MS Office out of the park. The simple fact that you do not have to hunt down which program where, it prints to pdf.

I just found GIMP for Windows EXCITE. Every couple of months I try and run my home automation programs in Linux. Every six months I get a little closer to my goal.

Also, Thunderbird wipes the floor with outlook.

JimmyMc (profile) says:

MS Office Replacement

Try Kingsoft Office for Android. Run’s perfect on my Transformer Prime and is the closest thing to MS Office on Android I’ve ever tried. It even saves documents in MS Office native formats. I’ve used Quick Office HD and Pro, Think Free Office, Polaris, Documents to Go, Olive office and Office Suite Pro. Kingsoft Office beats them all in my opinion.

jnemesh (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

There area a few good Office apps available for Android, with full file compatibility with MS Office!

QuickOffice Pro is the one I have been using:


If you still need FULL Office, use Onlive Desktop!


ltlw0lf (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

I just found GIMP for Windows EXCITE. Every couple of months I try and run my home automation programs in Linux. Every six months I get a little closer to my goal.

I use Linux right now to run my home automation. Simple X10 works fine, and I have no problem having my linux plug turn on/off lights and deal with the other automation.

Only thing it currently is having problems with is one-wire-weather, though that is because Dallas doesn’t support OWW any more and as a result, everyone has moved on to other solutions. However, it does display the temp/baro/rain fine…I just can’t get owfsws to display wind speed/direction correctly. Most of the current weather crap only runs on winblows, which is why I am sticking with OWW.

Anonymous Coward says:


Apple is like a Porsche: 10x as expensive and 10x selfproclaimed cooler than it really is.

(Windows is like a Ford: it brings you from A to B, but the brakes and airbags comewith a servicepack

Linux/Android is like a HotRod you built in your garage: The best fo you, but first you have to build it according to your preferences)

DogBreath says:


Just another example of Apples “our way, or the highway” business model, as it always has been for them. Microsoft and some other companies are heading down that same long dark hallway in an effort to try and lock in profit, all at the expense of pissing off and losing more customers.

Resistance fighter Kyle Reese from the first Terminator (1984) movie should have said this to Sarah Connor, and it would be totally understood today:

“Listen, and understand! Apple and Microsoft are out there! They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are converted to there way of doing business, and/or dead!”

Yakko Warner (profile) says:

Windows RT is their "tablet"

This isn’t a case of “banning”, it’s a case of creating a locked-in system on their tablet version of the OS. It’s their answer to the iPad. (So, to answer the question in the title, it’s “New Envy” more than “Old Habits”.)

If they tried banning browsers in the standard desktop version of Windows 8, you’d have a story.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nobody understands the platform like Microsoft, so it follows that nobody would be able to build better software for the platform than Microsoft.

Remember IE6? That was the best browser of it’s day. Sure, Firefox and Opera tried to make a better browser, but they were inferior in lots of ways. Their biggest problem – weak security. AFAIK, IE6 was never exploited.

Now Microsoft doesn’t want to make the same mistakes again. This time they are going to lock the platform down and prevent inferior third party software from compromising the security of their platform. Microsoft’s well earned reputation for security will generate a lot of trust in Win RT (what a fantastic product name!).

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

“Within a few years, MS-DOS/Windows dominated. 2 reasons: effective business marketing strategy, and allowing anyone to develop (in fact bundling BASIC). In fact the latter fed into the former, as business would be able to roll their own programs.”

Let’s do keep in mind that when the IBM PC came out MS was still, relatively speaking, a small company. The story about how DOS ended up on the PC rather than CP/M is well known but it wasn’t IBM’s first choice. MS probably would have provided BASIC for it anyway as they did with numerous other PCs at the time. The business marketing came from IBM, not MS, because business knew IBM and trusted it. Most purchasers in medium and big business had never heard of Microsoft when the first IBM PC came out.

Fast forward to Windows 3.1. MS had enough money and clout by that time to persuade computer makers to preinstall Windows which, for all practical purposes, blocked other OSs being installed by businesses particularly after the first edition of MS Office came out. (Over simplified, before someone points that out.) As much as anything that led to virtual monopoly that MS has enjoyed on the desktop ever since and led to the 5000 pound mutant gorilla tossing its weight around along with various bits of office furniture.

MS was late to the smartphone market and when they did arrive it was with a fourth rate product even if a number of pundits at the time insisted that it would soon dominate. It didn’t nor could it persuade enough enough smart phone makers to preinstall it and cellular telcos greeted it with an enormous yawn. Buyer focus was on the iPhone and Blackberry.

MS on smart phones is a poor 4th after iPhone, Android and Blackberry and sales are declining even faster than Blackberry’s are. If Blackberry’s new OS is a huge improvement over what they currently have, which it appears to be, then I suspect MS will remain in 4th place.

You’d think MS would know better than to try the “walled garden” thing after their run in with US anti-trust laws and the EU hammering them and still very suspicious of them. Apple’s excuse is their hardware is special, same excuse they have for the Mac and people seem to buy that. MS is wanting Win8(RT) to be general purpose so it can be installed on almost any smartphone that excuse isn’t there.

The walled garden approach is worse than dumb it’s self defeating.

Bengie says:

So much FUD and ignorance

Windows RT only allows Metro apps to be installed. Desktop mode is not a metro app, thus you can’t install a 3rd party browser to the desktop.

What you can do is install a 3rd party browser to Metro.

Quote: “Remember the “desktop mode” in Windows RT will not be available for general applications and user-installed apps. Users can only install Windows Metro-style apps from the Windows Store”

This has been known for well over a YEAR!

F’n melodrama.


Anonymous Coward says:


MSFT is using the mere illusion that apple only allows safari to try and get away with something far more nefarious actually.

See, apple doesn’t actually block other browsers. What really happened is apple integrated HTML rendering into the OS directly so that every app can have equal access to it, and is preventing 3rd party apps from interfering with the OS level HTML rendering service.

There are, in fact, several other browsers available for iOS. But they must run webkit as the HTML rendering engine.

As far as webkit is concerned, it may have a ton of apple staffers on the project, but it is actually an open source project, and an extremely robust HTML rendering engine.

But this is actual information, not illusion.

What Microsoft wants to do, is change standards so “things” have to be optimized one way or another, forcing every step in the development/consumption chain to be a forced decision that alienates one side or the other.

Remember when Firefox was young, and most sites looked like shit in it cause they were all optimized for IE6? Firefox had to fight hard for marketshare and developer mindshare during that period of its life to get people to stop folling IE6 bastardizations.

This time around, MSFT will be trying to do the exact same thing, force websites/developers to decide if they want to optimize their site for IERT or for webkit.

The good news: It won’t work. Seriously. It only worked before by defacto monopoly flexing. MSFT doesnt have that this time around. All they will accomplish this time is wasting their own massive outsourced developer budget.

Anonymous Coward says:


the firefox team refuses to be flexible enough to utilize a different HTML renderer. Its GECKO or GTFO for them. Which is very strange behavior actually.

Its a selfish move designed to make everyone think that Firefox IS gecko, and will never be anything but gecko. meanwhile, one of the first addons ever made for firefox in its initial popularity rampup was the ability to swap renderers from its native gecko engine to IE6’s engine, so you could still view those frustratingly broken webpages without having to fire up internet explorer.

Its the mozilla team forgetting where they came from and denying their own history.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

The difference between Apple and Microsoft

The reason why what MS is doing should be considered anti-competitive and trigger an anti-trust action, and Apple doing much the same thing is not so much, is this; Apple owns/builds the entire system, hardware and software; Microsoft sells software to end-users or OEMs (hardware manufacturers). If Windows mobile was only available on gear designed and manufactured by Microsoft, then I say they can limit the apps to whatever they want; however, for them to do this for systems that are designed, built, and sold by other parties, then I think they should have the “book” thrown at them for this sort of behavior.

Bengie says:

So much FUD and ignorance

Probably configuration/etc.

I heard(rumor) that IE was only included for the desktop mode in the firs place because of a dependency and that MS wants to get rid of any browser in desktop mode.

But it has officially been stated that no applications may be installed by the user to the desktop, not even MS applications. IE is pre-installed, so it gets past that.

John D (user link) says:


The first thing that should be thrown out there is that a) this only affects ARM tablets (x86 is still wide-open), b) Medfield has brought x86/ARM relatively close in power saving qualities & c) alternative browsers CAN still be installed on Windows on ARM tablets, just not in the desktop mode – where NO apps will be allowed to be installed.

I suspect desktop mode in ARM is being maintained pretty much exclusively for Office – rumor has it Office 15 won’t be ready for WinRT (Metro). Bare bones Office (I think Word/PPoint/Excel) will come pre-installed on Windows for ARM. Office contains so many components that rely on IE (or, at least the Trident engine) that it’s been thrown in to enhance compatibility with Office on ARM desktop.

.net on ARM doesn’t exist, nor does Win32 (at least not one we can use as devs) – WinRT uses C# & JS, but doesn’t use the .net framework. There’s a completely new set of native libraries for system functions. If .net or Win32 were ever fully ported to ARM, then the restrictions might be different, as more legacy apps would be usable on ARM desktop.

But in reality, the ARM devices we have currently are pretty locked down – this really isn’t any different. If Windows for ARM didn’t include Desktop mode, there’d be no complaining. Since the Windows desktop is the ‘wild west’ in terms of what apps are allowed to do, it’s no surprise that Microsoft would attempt to limit that in favor of driving developers to another interface (one much more appropriate for touch, no less), in an attempt to maintain the experience.

IE can be removed in Windows 7 & 8 through the Features panel (although I don’t if that will happen with WoA), and alternative browsers can be installed via the Windows Store – but they are Metro only on ARM. In fact, if your default browser is set to something other than IE, Metro IE disappears (at least in the x86 CP).

And since NO apps will be allowed to be installed to the desktop mode on ARM (x86 will allow anything), I suspect we’ll see the desktop mode go away completely by Windows 9 (maybe even earlier via service pack) on ARM – as soon as Office for Metro is ready to go.

Ultimately, if consumers are hell-bent on Firefox or Chrome or whatever alternative browser they want on the desktop, they should probably buy an x86 tablet.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:


While Microsoft lost that case, regime change at the DOJ meant that Microsoft got a slap on the wrist, rather than being broken up (as was originally proposed). In the long run, this may have been the best solution anyway. The market itself realized soon after that there was a pretty big opening for an innovative and effective web browser,

Wait… since when does more than 5 years later constitute “soon after,” especially in the tech world?

It was the government’s failure to enforce the law in this case that got us so many years of IE6 stagnation, the effects of which linger to this day in web development.

Hambone says:

This is a sad move indeed

I just can’t get past the fact that you recommend Google Docs as a viable alternative to MS Word. I’ve used both, and there isn’t even a valid comparison. Google Docs just plain sucks. Obviously, IMO.

I’ve use OpenOffice/LibreOffice before, and it doesn’t totally suck, but is still an inferior product to MSOffice. Maybe you just haven’t used MSOffice?

At any rate, openness = better than closed platform. Shame on MS for going this route. But lets try to keep things realistic here. In NO WAY doe Google Docs compare favorably with MS Word.

Ven says:


Apple does not allow any third party browser to run interpreted code. For instance the Opera browser partially renders the page on Opera’s server (breaking HTTPS) and then sends you the results as a streamlined HTML page that does not contain JavaScript.

A number of other browsers are repackaging Apple WebKit with some UI/UX features such as gestures or Flash to HTML5 converters, but they are still Apple WebKit under the hood.

Anonymous Coward says:


If the device is cool….and
If the IE browser sucks…..
A new browser will be made (probably a FF or Chromium source)

FFS… even the old NintedoDS has a homebrew web browser.

My point is that, if it is needed and wanted , it will be built just for fun.
Where there is will there is a way. (if the will is there at all)

As you say… x86 tablet , why bother with ARM.
But I do believe intel will make a really low voltage (i5 type performance) chip soon.

Ven says:


And there is no evidence that you can’t repackage the IE10 rendering engine to make a new “Browser” on Win/ARM. Both both iOS and Win/ARM don’t allow new HTML Rendering engines, and that precludes FireFox/Mozilla/Gecko.

Regardless of how we be pedantic about terminology MS is not breaking new ground here. They are following Apple’s lead.

Some Other AC (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

While I have limited experience in working with Linux builds and other open software options, your statement, “Libre office kicks MS Office out of the park. The simple fact that you do not have to hunt down which program where, it prints to pdf.” , is no longer valid. MS Office 2010 natively prints to PDF from most modules(if not all). I like the Libre Office product, but I work in an MS shop and use what is provided.
To be honest, I have had little issue with Windows in either Desktop or OS version and this includes the dreaded Vista. Win7 has been reliable, fast and stable on all builds that I have worked with.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

I just can’t get past the fact that you recommend Google Docs as a viable alternative to MS Word. I’ve used both, and there isn’t even a valid comparison. Google Docs just plain sucks. Obviously, IMO.

Compare Microsoft Sharepoint to Google Docs, when it comes to collaboration and open sharing of documents, and you’ll understand why. If I check out a Sharepoint document and start editing it, nobody else can open and edit it (they only get the option to read the document.) With Google Docs, multiple people can work on the same document at the same time, seeing what each other is doing, and no conflicts. MS Office is clearly rcs where Google docs is svn.

I’ve use OpenOffice/LibreOffice before, and it doesn’t totally suck, but is still an inferior product to MSOffice. Maybe you just haven’t used MSOffice?

I have, we are required to use MS Office at work, and I cannot stand it. The fact that MS Office corrupts MS Office documents so horribly from time to time keeps me on the edge with Office. I’ve had to recover a number of documents so horribly corrupted by MS Office that I’d prefer something that writes in a WYSIWYG format, so that when it gets corrupted I can just grab the text and move it into a new document. If everyone has the exact same version of MS Office, there isn’t much problems, but if you have any differences in versions, MS Office is a pain to support.


The real problem...

The real problem is that it chases the genuine altruists that produce Free Software. Instead of gratis software that’s actually safe and useful, you end up with a ton of adware and fart apps. The cheap end of the spectrum is dominated by a bunch of dishonest shysters that aren’t really giving anything away.

AzureSky (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

huh…..you must be using xp or non-updated vista…..because 7 is rock solid for everybody I know…..even idiots who had to reinstall windows every 2-3 months are enlarge going on YEARS on their first 7 install…some thru multi hardware upgrades.

LibreOffice is great if you dont use it for large excel files or for documents made using MS office or corel word perect suit saved in their native formats.

anything openoffice based SUCKS for large excel files, I know I tried to not use MS office or corel wordperfect because I wanted to get off the retail software train….didnt work well with files clients sent me….and no, your not gonna convince most people to install another office suit, they would rather find a replacement for me then change office suits.

I have used LibreOffice, Lotus Synphony, OpenOffice and 2 other variants of OOo, and NON deal well with large complex documents or excel files….

For my own word processing I use ABI Word and save to doc format when sending to an ms office user.

I still have a hard time believing that 7 or even updated vista arent stable for you….I never had any stability issues with windows 2000, 2003, 2008/vista, 2008 r2/7 xp and 9x based windows where hit and miss but, so was linux back then on many systems(bad open source drivers mostly)

AzureSky (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

shhhh you will upset the lintard….

I should try and find an example of a 1gb excel file and watch them try and open and manipulate it in libreoffice…..(hint, it CHUGS and loads line by line as you scroll)

I tried to use libreoffice, lotus symphony, and even root OOo for this, and large excell files(even “small” 200mb files where hard to work with…I wouldnt use excell for this stuff but I have had clients who started using excel back in the early days when excel was the best spredsheet bar non who have HUGE files…..)

MS and Corel products open and work with such files with ease, softmaker office worked OK but couldnt deal with some advanced functions/formulas they had setup….

and about windows, yeah, but dont try and tell a “windows sucks use linux” type that vista and 7 are rock solid and reliable…they just get mad and spout old tag lines about it being unstable, lines that root back to XP and ME/98/95 era…..

Im not linux hater, but, I also dont see why people try and say its better then windows for desktop use…

I use vector on a few systems(linux) and it works great for a basic desktop os for browsing and light word processing….but using linux for the average desktop user who does more then brows and word process from time to time……isnt worth the pain of trying to teach them to do stuff that in windows only takes a few clicks.

Brad Hubbard (profile) says:


Actually, NONE of those are browsers. Your ability to type something into a search engine does not constitute research.

Apple will block any web browser from the App Store that runs interpreted code (such as Javascript) and does not use the Safari WebKit engine. That means that every one of those browsers is either:

– Using Safari and running a different skin on top
– Passing your information to remote servers who pretend to be you online, then send back server-rendered data to your phone
– Stealing your personal info
– Some combination of the above

Major names like Opera are not running browsers, they’re running remote servers. Most of the little guys are just reskins hoping people will like them better than the Safari UI and pay a few bucks.

AzureSky (profile) says:

This is a sad move indeed

another very strange thing, I have gotten many doc files in every ms office format from 97 to 2010 and not had any issues not related to the original file sent being buggered in some way, but, even using non-ms products to open them or old ms office versions lead to same issues even with the orignal files….I have seen this with staroffice(openoffice) and other office suits when files headers get borked by some software…(use to keep a list but most of that has stopped in recent years)

My adivice is if you have old documents from MS office or any office app, if possible open them in a program like ABI Word, then save to a more modern format OR just save to RTF, at least that way you avoid formatting issues.

OH, a big issue people complain about in my exp is MS Works files not working with MS Office, I agree its BS the default works format SUCKS(cant just edit with a text editor and recover text….)

I have yet to find a better product for serious business use then either MS Office or Corel WordPerfect suit.

if you hate ms office so much, you may want to test corel’s products, I have found keeping both around to be quite helpful with some random files that i get sent(like some idiot saving to a random format with office 98 for mac and it not reading in any version of ms office properly….other then the old mac version of office….lol)

and be thankful its not clarisworks if you hate ms office….i would love to see you deal with an office that uses clarisworks(appleworks) still…i know of 1, and they only use it because 1/3 of the company systems are still OLD ASS powerpc based mac’s…..

think we talked them into replacing them all with windows 7 systems based on amd A series APU’s tho…..will make tossing them help for basic problems alot easier….(even the mac fanatic friend of mine who also helps them out time to time HATES that software, almost as much as he hates groupwise….)

oh thats another one, if you hate outlook…..you really need to try groupwise….you will love outlook after trying to manage a groupwise server/client environment……

Yawn says:

Stop Reposting This Garbage

I’ve seen these same crazy anti-Microsoft fear-mongering headlines and articles over half of the popular technology blogs, and it makes me facepalm more and more each time.

I get it, it’s apparently still fun and hip to hate on Microsoft, because the average person needs something bigger than them to hate to feel good about themselves. But people should get their facts straight before they go posting this kind of drivel and passing it off as news.

What’s really happening here is that Mozilla is whining because they can’t port their bloated browser directly over to the Windows ARM platform without doing some work. This is the exact same company which has struggled immensely to port Firefox to any mobile platform already. Meanwhile, their desktop numbers are in the decline, with Internet Explorer actually retaking some of their lead, and so Mozilla needs something to get attention with. So they’re using this as their way to rile up the angry pitchfork mob against their competitor.

Windows RT is *not* going to be the same as traditional Windows. So let’s clear that up right away. RT is an attempt to migrate the existing operating system technology to other platforms, in order to improve compatibility and development of software across those and the PC world. These ARM devices have limited resources. These devices need improved security. These devices need an API to interact with devices not normally found on a desktop PC. These devices need a GUI framework to make the most effective use of a smaller screen. This all means changing fundamental ways that applications are developed. While yes, RT will still be Windows underneath, application developers need to be developing for the outer layers which an ARM device are primarily going to be based around (touch screen, phone, camera, etc). And it also means battery and CPU usage are important. Windows RT will take more of an Android approach and be able to kill applications as necessary to launch others, to make best use of the limited memory.

All of this means that you give developers a specific framework to develop in so that companies like Mozilla can’t come along and port a fat pile of code over and then blame the OS or the device when it runs terribly. And let’s face it here, Firefox is a terrible resource hog. This is simply a fact. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s why Mozilla tried hard and failed to make an effective mobile version thus far.

I have absolutely no doubt that Opera will swoop in and develop a Windows RT edition of their browser which runs excellently, just as they did with every other mobile platform. They even did it with iOS before Apple even allowed competing applications in the app store.

The problem here isn’t Microsoft. It’s a company like Mozilla who is starting to become irrelevant in its death throws stirring up B.S. And it’s the media which instinctively assumes Microsoft is up to no good who makes a story out of nothing to get views.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Ultimately, Though, It Doesn?t Matter

Microsoft?s problem is that it is too fixated on Apple, and on its existing desktop PC business. Apple totally controls its own ecosystem, while Google doesn?t control Android, so Microsoft figures it wants to copy Apple?s model, not Google?s, notwithstanding the latter is running rings around the former.

And of course Microsoft doesn?t want to threaten its existing desktop Windows business. This is why it introduces artificial limits into its Mobile OSes, preventing Windows Phone from running on tablets (when Android vendors were happily putting it on tablets even before Google had come out with a tablet-capable version of Android). And this whole Windows RT business is more of the same: it doesn?t want ARM machines to be seen as anything resembling full-featured desktop PCs, for fear of threatening desktop Windows, regardless of what customers might actually want. And again, Android vendors are not so restricted?they are free to step on Microsoft?s and Intel?s toes, Google can?t stop them, even if it wanted to.

And this item was another laugh. As an Android fan, I admit it?Android is a whore that will get into bed with anybody, while Microsoft is keeping itself pure, saving itself for just the right partner. And guess who?s winning…

JarHead says:

tempest in a teapot?

If so, then why the heck doesn’t M$ just remove the “desktop” portion in RT, which saves a lot of troubles? Code complexity and PR hell/confusion to name 2.

Backward compatibility? M$ already said long time ago that 8-on-ARM won’t be able to run legacy apps. So going all Metro doesn’t break any previous promises.

Marketing? Removing desktop sends a nicer “F@*k You” message to all the tinkerer out there rather than just limiting API. The current approach will only create headaches to both M$ and it’s users as dedicated tinkerers found a way to circumvent the limitation and hence compromised security.

ottermaton says:

This is a sad move indeed

Im not linux hater, but, I also dont see why people try and say its better then windows for desktop use…

Yea, that’s obvious, especially when you start your comment with:

shhhh you will upset the lintard….

Regardless …

but using linux for the average desktop user who does more then brows and word process from time to time……isnt worth the pain of trying to teach them to do stuff that in windows only takes a few clicks.

See, this is just a matter of conditioning. I got off the MS train way back in ’98 (the browser/antitrust thing being the primary reason (but there are many more – why should I support such an unethical company?), and these days on the very rare occasions when I’m forced to use Windows I’m always left thinking, “Wtf!?!? Why is everything so hard to do in Windows?”

I use Linux and am proficient with it. You (apparently) use Windows and are (apparently) proficient there. See what I’m saying?

Anonymoose Custard (profile) says:

It's more of a technical reason for them to disallow other browsers

According to Mike Pall, they’re disabling the executable virtual memory APIs on Win32/ARM, and restricting all new apps to a trusted sandbox.

As a technical restriction, that does unfortunately mean that none of the modern JavaScript interpreters (or any JIT component) will be able to function. Therefore, no Mozilla Firefox.

I can understand their motivations here (ARM is quite a different beast from x86, and the APIs do need to evolve for these other platforms), but it’s far less nefarious than anyone is suggesting.

As much as I hate to admit that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Regarding the antitrust alarm bells thing, there’s a critical difference to point out wrt the Netscape / Win98 issue: Microsoft had monopoly-level market share in the desktop operating system market specifically, and that was what they were leveraging to try to shut Netscape out of the browser market.

In this case, it’s absurd to suggest Microsoft has any relevant monopoly in the mobile market per se (not even Apple has that unless you try to define the iPhone itself as a ‘market’). What they do have is their monopoly-level dominance of the desktop and office productivity tools market; were it to be shown that those specifically were being leveraged here anti-competitively, you’d have something to start building an antitrust case from. (There was some mention of the non-Metro environment being intended as an exclusive province of MS Office somewhere; THAT might raise some antitrust issue, though it might need to be coupled with MS Office not being available on any other mobile platform, since that would demonstrate the office monopoly being leveraged to create mobile market advantage.

Trails says:

Who are you trying to kid?

wow, really?

My 50+ year old Aunt purchased an Apple 2 in the mid-80s, somewhere around the same time I got my first computer, a 286 with MS-DOS 3.1. I was a kid, got taught DOS and picked it up pretty quick(an early adopter). Trying to teach DOS to my Aunt would have been about as effective as trying to teach DOS to my wall, she was decidedly mainstream, on the other side of the chasm.

The Apple2 had substantial penetration into non-geek, non-tech savvy markets. This is what’s called mainstream. Perhaps you should read up on product adoption lifecycle.

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