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Browser Selection

I’ve said it before, the devil is in the details. Last week the European Commission, by way of its Commissioner for Competition Policy Neelie Kroes, decided to accept a test proposal from Microsoft regarding the browser selection on its Windows operating system. Incidentally, the Register has a more readable form of the same thing.

Now, Karsten Gerloff, president of the FSFE, has written a good overview of what is wrong with the proposal. Basically, all the details are wrong. You can also find some comments by Carlo Piana on the subject.

Let me summarize: the browsers are not all shipped in the same state — there is one special pre-installed one — and the mechanism for choosing browsers is not flexible enough. It’s still not clear what the presentation order will be, which may skew the selection as well. I’ll say one good thing, and that is that there’s space for 12 browsers in the browser selection screen (umm .. no technical reason to limit it like that if the selector is a webpage, or anything else really). The big five plus space for specialized or less popular ones. It’s not clear what the criteria are there. Still, one might imagine a whole family of WebKit-based browsers being included.

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5 Responses to “Browser Selection”

  1. Diederik van der Boor Says:

    Interesting details here, and rightfully noticed. The other browsers don’t seam to be treated equally.

    I just wonder, to people claiming that “Microsoft is getting punished enough” or “also earned their market share”. how would you explain why this action is being put through – in simple words?

  2. Rasi Says:

    sorry, but the whole idea of the dialog is wrong… Its Microsofts product, its up to them if they ship their own browser or not… The EU should’ve used their power to force MS to use open standards in Word/Excel. But instead they waste money and time on such a useless thing.

  3. zak89 Says:

    Ugh… as a Linux OSS user, I find the “browser ballot” nothing short of disgusting. Forcing Microsoft to advertise for its competitors? Give me a break.

    I’ll never use Opera again…

  4. adridg Says:

    You should update to ALSA then.

    No, seriously, MS is being punished for its anti-competitive behavior. Punishments may be unpleasant for the one being punished. My blog entry points out that the punishment is not as harsh as it could – or should – have been. Although I would have been ok as well with having Windows shipped with *no* browser — that would satisfy the requirements of not behaving anti-competitively as well.

  5. adridg Says:

    The issue is called “bundled sales” and it is illegal. When you sell product X and bundle product Y that belongs in a *different market* with it, then you are — or might be — disturbing the market in products of type Y. Like selling ham with eggs “included for free.” The EU combats that kind of anti-competitive bundling all the time; it is just unusual for it to hit software.