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Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!
June 12, 2009 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer in Europe "Microsoft said it made it’s decision following an anti-trust investigation by the European Union."

"This means that computer manufacturers and users will be free to install Internet Explorer on Windows 7, or not, as they prefer" - Dave Heiner, deputy general counsel for Microsoft.

Related: Bing (6% market share launch) and the Browser Wars which are still being won by IE or pretty much a dead heat between IE and FF depending on who you sample.

Apple nod: Safari's come from behind upset?
posted by sloe (84 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
note: the difference between the usage statistics stems from Market Share sampling a broad spectrum of users while W3Schools, by it's nature, samples more invested users. From the W3Schools webiste: "W3Schools is a website for people with an interest for web technologies. These people are more interested in using alternative browsers than the average user. The average user tends to use Internet Explorer, since it comes preinstalled with Windows. Most do not seek out other browsers." A sentiment echoed by fleetmouse.
posted by sloe at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2009


I'm guessing the first run of Windows Update's gonna fix that little oversight, eh?
posted by mikelieman at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


Dr Dracator's links to allegations of Microsoft astroturfing are interesting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 AM on June 12, 2009


Oddly enough, Wikipedia has a history of how to remove IE from Windows. And if you're looking to do clean installs of Windows without a lot of the extra baggage, nLite is one of the better "Remastering" packages for modifying Windows prior to installation.

And Bing is being hyped on the TV like Yahoo used to, though I think their ads are a bit more interesting (maybe because the only part of Yahoo ads I remember are the Ya-hooOOoo! yodel at the end). Did Google ever advertise on TV?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


IE tied or even winning?

*boggle*
posted by DU at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's outrageous that shipping an operating system with a browser is, per se, a potential antitrust violation. A browser is a fundamental to a computer at this point as a text editor or media player and is a handicapped product without one.

There's a tremendous difference between shipping an operating system with a browser that's unremovable and aggressively forces you to use it and a loosely integrated browser that can easily be uninstalled. In the case of Windows 7 we're talking about the latter and that makes this a misapplication of antitrust laws.
posted by christonabike at 11:26 AM on June 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Fortunately, MeFi has a large population of users with a better understanding of the niceties of European antitrust laws than Europe itself, so I'm sure we'll have a completely fact-based, astroturf-free discussion.
posted by DU at 11:28 AM on June 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well sure, that's good for Europe, but what about the rest of us?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:29 AM on June 12, 2009


According to this graph, I've been ahead of the curve all along. Then again, I do work in the industry.

For a while I ran a small banner at the top of one of my sites, enclosed in conditional comments so it was only visible to IE users. It basically said "Hi! We see you're using a fucking crap browser. Please click here to install Firefox instead."

As the page itself notes, those browser stats inside the "dead heat" link are nowhere near representative of the general public—they're the usage stats for w3schools.com itself, which is naturally gonna skew strongly toward web-savvy readers. IE is still winning by a wide margin.
posted by ixohoxi at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2009


Or, not on preview, what sloe said.
posted by ixohoxi at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2009


"Microsoft said it made it's decision..."

its decision. ITS decision.

its its itS iTS ITS ITS!!!!

GodDAMN it!
posted by Mike D at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2009 [43 favorites]


Please note that it's quite unlikely that the EU will accept this as sufficient remedy, as all the draft orders have featured the inclusion of a multiple choice window. The EU antitrust remedies are also required to attempt to restore competition, and I'd imagine that given the original complaints focussed on unlawful pressure on OEMs to install IE the prospect of a remedy where MS does not themselves install the browser but allows/pressures the OEMs to do so without providing a choice is at best dubiously effective.

This isn't the Bush DoJ here.
posted by jaduncan at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2009


But how do you go to GetFirefox.com without a browser? Do you ask a friend to burn you a CD? Set up Outlook Express (ugh) and get someone to email you the installer?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Probably a stupid question, but what does Microsoft gain from having lot of people use IE? I mean, I understand the general desire to succeed, but the effort they put into it seems disproportionate to the rewards to me.
posted by lucidium at 11:39 AM on June 12, 2009


But how do you go to GetFirefox.com without a browser?

System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager
posted by DU at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2009 [18 favorites]


The Commission said it would have preferred to see computers supplied with a choice of browsers, “not that Windows should be supplied with no browser at all”.

Yeah... make Microsoft ship everyone's software. Really? "I want to buy a copy of Windows with Safari and Open Office pre-installed. And can you replace Notepad with Notepad++?"

The EU is just using MSFT as a cash machine. OEMs wouldn't even sell computers with the copy of Windows that excluded WMP that EU forced MSFT to make available in Europe.

Are they going to make Apple offer IE as a choice for Snow Kitty? This isn't about protecting consumers. This is about money.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:43 AM on June 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


yeah, W3Schools is not to be trusted there. That said, the whole browser wars situation is in a very interesting place right now - not only is it the case that you can't just get away with supporting IE these days, but you can't just get away with just supporting IE and Firefox now - It's a three horse race at the minimum.

And of course the amount of legacy crap that needs testing goes ever, ever up, with previous versions of IE that are hanging around being a particular pain in the butt.

Maybe we can all just start coding to standards rather than having to code to the quirks of whatever browsers we support.

Ha ha, just kidding.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The EU and Microsoft has been bothering me for years. As long as Microsoft isn't engaging in anti-competitive behavior (like it was in the Netscape days) with breaking comptability or fiddling with defaults in the OS to give its applications preference, the EU needs to stay out of its way and stop milking Microsoft like a prized cow. A software maker, in this case, an operating system developer should be allowed to include whatever software they want to provide the best customer experience (subjective). By introducing editions that forgo Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are just degrading the end user experience — as if OEMs weren't already doing that enough with bloatware and craplets.

This argument has nothing to do with standards compliance. You can elect to install whichever browser you want and make it the default, but not including a browser makes switching more difficult. The article was vague as to how this will be implemented, so I can't pass judgment on that, but I still can't see this as being a good thing. Linux distributions bundle Firefox, OS X bundles Safari, Solaris bundles -- wait, nobody uses Solaris.

Leave Microsoft alone. Christ.
posted by cgomez at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


lucidium: "Probably a stupid question, but what does Microsoft gain from having lot of people use IE? I mean, I understand the general desire to succeed, but the effort they put into it seems disproportionate to the rewards to me."

They did it to tie the browser to the operating system. Left unhindered, the browser could eventually make the underlying OS completely unimportant. This would open the OS market to competition, which Microsoft has traditionally done everything in its power to destroy by any means necessary.
posted by mullingitover at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2009


.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:47 AM on June 12, 2009


Leave Microsoft alone.

Wow. This is not a sentiment I would ever in a million years have suspected to find among the technoscenti. I mean, seriously? We feel sorry for Microsoft now?
posted by DU at 11:48 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


They are not going to ship PCs without a browser, rather, the browser will be installed by the OEM, who will be able to install IE/Firefox/Chrome/etc.
posted by delmoi at 11:49 AM on June 12, 2009


Probably a stupid question, but what does Microsoft gain from having lot of people use IE? I mean, I understand the general desire to succeed, but the effort they put into it seems disproportionate to the rewards to me.

The more people using Internet Explorer, the more likely they are to use Windows Live Search or whatever it's called these days which secures more ad revenue for them. Also, it makes it easier for them to present Silverlight to you and keep you within the Microsoft ecosystem. And once again, there isn't a darn thing wrong with that. Mozilla gets the bulk of its income from Google as a result of being the default search provider, so Microsoft wants to get eyeballs on Windows Live Search.
posted by cgomez at 11:49 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are they going to make Apple offer IE as a choice for Snow Kitty?

A bit hard, since IE for the mac hasn't been updated in years, is discontinued, no longer supported by Microsoft, and was built for a way different OS that the current/upcoming Mac OS.

As horrible as the reviews of Vista are I don't see anyone adopting Windows 7 either.

I have to support both Mac and PC and I know we won't be going to Windows 7 any time soon.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:52 AM on June 12, 2009


I think at the moment there's a large number of folks at MS who see IE as the platform for Sharepoint and little else.

But I think the answer is that in general OS manufacturers just like taking up the screen estate... what does Apple gain from having lots of people use Safari?
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on June 12, 2009


Probably a stupid question, but what does Microsoft gain from having lot of people use IE? I mean, I understand the general desire to succeed, but the effort they put into it seems disproportionate to the rewards to me.

Primarily moving the net from universal to propriatory standards where possible, and thus making use of the net without an MS OS eventually impossible or clearly suboptimal. In fact, I wouldn't limit that to the net. MS likes MS controlled standards that are difficult to reimplement and/or that are effectively patent blocked.

From the Halloween Microsoft strategy memo:

"De-commoditize protocols & applications

OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.

David Stutz makes a very good point: in competing with Microsoft's level of desktop integration, "commodity protocols actually become the means of integration" for OSS projects. There is a large amount of IQ being expended in various IETF working groups which are quickly creating the architectural model for integration for these OSS projects."
posted by jaduncan at 11:54 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


But how do you go to GetFirefox.com without a browser?

Anonymous ftp:

C:\ftp releases.mozilla.org

still works, though it's a bit of a pain to navigate the directory structure.

But seriously, Microsoft's plan is to let OEMs put whatever browser or browsers they want on their computers. No OEM is going to ship a computer without a browser on it, and I doubt anyone will actually buy a copy of Windows sans IE out of principle.
posted by jedicus at 11:57 AM on June 12, 2009


Their confirmation of authenticity is here, and also contains the following gem:

"Q: The first document talked about extending standard protocols as a way to "deny OSS projects entry into the market." What does this mean?

A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver advanced functionality to users. An example of this is adding transactional support for DTC over HTTP. This would be a value-add and would in no way break the standard or undermine the concept of standards, of which Microsoft is a significant supporter. Yet it would allow us to solve a class of problems in value chain integration for our Web-based customers that are not solved by any public standard today. Microsoft recognizes that customers are not served by implementations that are different without adding value; we therefore support standards as the foundation on which further innovation can be based."
posted by jaduncan at 11:58 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Primarily moving the net from universal to propriatory standards where possible

Heh. Look up who invemnted the BLINK tag. The answer may suprise you. pre-Mozilla netscape was all about throwing weird proprietary shit and ignoring standards.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on June 12, 2009


lucidium: "Probably a stupid question, but what does Microsoft gain from having lot of people use IE? I mean, I understand the general desire to succeed, but the effort they put into it seems disproportionate to the rewards to me."

Microsoft was also late the whole internet services game, and have been trying to play catchup ever since. Because IE is the default browser, and msn.com is the default homepage of that browser, Microsoft gets a lot of free eyeballs.

Personally, I think this decision is a loss for consumers. It basically means an extra step when setting up a new computer, which is really not what people need.
posted by !Jim at 12:00 PM on June 12, 2009


> This is not a sentiment I would ever in a million years have suspected to find among the technoscenti. I mean, seriously? We feel sorry for Microsoft now?

I feel sorry for Microsoft, just like I feel sorry for cigarette companies or Barry Bonds. To the public, once an entity has been labeled evil or wrong, there seem to exist no bounds to the punishments exacted.

Is Microsoft run by greedy, abusive douches that has aggressively stifled competition and generally behaved like raging assholes? Yes.

Are they doing anything wrong in this particular instance? No.

So I feel sorry for them.
posted by christonabike at 12:01 PM on June 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Leave Microsoft alone.

Is the reference to "Leave Britney alone" intentional?

pre-Mozilla netscape was all about throwing weird proprietary shit and ignoring standards.

Hell, it dates back to the Mosaic days. I lay the blame for the web standards morass firmly on the head of Marc Andreesen. When Microsoft started crapping up the web there was no moral high ground because all the other popular browsers had been doing it as well.
posted by grouse at 12:02 PM on June 12, 2009


I'm very glad the emerging generation of browsers will finally offer solid, across-the-board support for web standards—I'm sure there will be bugs, but at least we're treating deviations from the specs as bugs now, and not charming little personality quirks that deserve accommodation and respect—and the advanced JavaScript engine stuff is going to create some amazing new possibilities.

But with the release of Safari 4, IE8, and Chrome, the list of browsers for which I need to test is getting a little out of hand. I'd love to drop support for IE6—that was two major versions and eight years ago, for God's sake—but there are still a lot of people using it, and my client's aren't buying it. The clients have a point, of course—but man, I hate IE6. (IE7 isn't a whole lot better, but at least its neuroses are more amenable to treatment.)

I think at the moment there's a large number of folks at MS who see IE as the platform for Sharepoint and little else.

I've never understood why Microsoft insists on building their web applications for IE only. The webmail interface for Exchange 2003 (I think it was 2003) actually went out of its way to serve one version to IE, and another version to other clients. It seems like they're just making things more difficult for themselves and their customers.
posted by ixohoxi at 12:04 PM on June 12, 2009


Netscape 4 remains the worst browser of all time though. All fifteen million sub-versions of it that wherer broken in their own unique and crappy ways.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on June 12, 2009


Are they doing anything wrong in this particular instance? No.

So I feel sorry for them.
posted by christonabike


EponystericaliciousTM (We at Microsoft have extended the standard joke to bring you a richer experience that more completely meets the needs we have identified through extensive market research.)
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on June 12, 2009


ixohoxi - the web interface for TFS is another one - it *mostly* works in firefox, but every so often craps out, like the DHTML dropdowns will be non responsive or something. I suspect commonalities with Sharepoint.

Most of this stuff *will* work in Forefox, just about, but the experience will be just slightly shoddier and less stable.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on June 12, 2009


As horrible as the reviews of Vista are I don't see anyone adopting Windows 7 either.

I have to support both Mac and PC and I know we won't be going to Windows 7 any time soon.
Well, FWIW, Windows 7 is getting far more positive reviews than Vista, and is in my experience, a much better OS.
posted by !Jim at 12:08 PM on June 12, 2009


Heh. Of course Vista gets much better reviews than Vista if you don't call it Vista.
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2009


But with the release of Safari 4, IE8, and Chrome, the list of browsers for which I need to test is getting a little out of hand. I'd love to drop support for IE6—that was two major versions and eight years ago, for God's sake—but there are still a lot of people using it, and my client's aren't buying it. The clients have a point, of course—but man, I hate IE6. (IE7 isn't a whole lot better, but at least its neuroses are more amenable to treatment.)
I couldn't find it, but my friend showed me a chart a while back that showed IE8's marketshare going up, while IE7's went down in equal proportion. IE6 was holding steady.
posted by !Jim at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2009


Heh. Look up who invemnted the BLINK tag. The answer may suprise you. pre-Mozilla netscape was all about throwing weird proprietary shit and ignoring standards.

No, it wouldn't. You present somewhat of a false dichotomy when you imply that the fact that MS tries to own net standards would preclude Netscape doing so. It doesn't surprise me at all; I was there and indeed used Mozilla from well before 1.0. The net was improved hugely (and indeed possibly saved as a truly multi-OS environment) by Mozilla reinvigorating the idea of coding for standards and respecting them.

Both MS and Netscape actively fought that increased openness with all the commercial power they had, and I am sure Apple, Opera and Netscape would be doing the same if they had the power to do so...commercial companies arguably have a shareholder responsibility to dirty the standards pool. It's just not sensible to trust for-profit monopolies, or those attempting to become one. This is why the logical next step for MS was to mess up the OOXML ISO standards approval process, and why free to implement standards are crucially important.
posted by jaduncan at 12:17 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please note that it's quite unlikely that the EU will accept this as sufficient remedy, as all the draft orders have featured the inclusion of a multiple choice window. The EU antitrust remedies are also required to attempt to restore competition, and I'd imagine that given the original complaints focussed on unlawful pressure on OEMs to install IE the prospect of a remedy where MS does not themselves install the browser but allows/pressures the OEMs to do so without providing a choice is at best dubiously effective.

Microsoft's anti-competitive war seems to be waged on the Open Document Format front. I guess if no one pays much attention to the OOXML/ODF wars (in lieu of everyone fighting about a version of IE that's hopelessly behind web standards, anyway), that's probably best for MS's bottom-line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, looks like the IE6 userbase is going to dig in it's heals for fucking ever, mostly because for a lot of people whatever hellish corporate intranet they use just about runs properly in it and nothing else.

They probably all upgraded en masse from NS4, fuckers.
posted by Artw at 12:20 PM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love it. Microsoft is calling the EU's bluff on this one.

What this says is that Microsoft is sensing a public sea change -- that people have moved from being anti-MSFT to being indifferent. So, they think this is their opportunity to finally stand up to the EU. And now the EU is now wrong-footed because they didn't bother to think through the implications of their actions.

End result? Most computer makers will ship with IE8 as OEM; the rest will offer a choice of IE/Chrome/Safari/Firefox.

I think it's also a sign that MSFT is pretty much moving out of the browser business in the coming years. Between the IE team layoffs, Chris Wilson moving elsewhere within MSFT, and the (debunked) rumors of Trident being dumped for WebKit, you sense that IE may not be long for this world.
posted by dw at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone believed a rumor that IE would use webkit, even for a second? Weird. I wish top contact those people, I have many bridges to sell.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on June 12, 2009


I use Solaris 5.10 10/08 on my dual UltraSparcIII+ SunBlade 2000, thankyouverymuch!

NOT SVR4-ist!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 12:28 PM on June 12, 2009


Lynx will rise again!
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on June 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Open Source is a monopoly. How am I supposed to compete with free? I should be paid just to get out of bed every morning.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:35 PM on June 12, 2009


Yeah, looks like the IE6 userbase is going to dig in it's heals for fucking ever, mostly because for a lot of people whatever hellish corporate intranet they use just about runs properly in it and nothing else.

Yup, IE 6.0.9 on XP here at work. And there's so much internal crap that doesn't work on anything but IE 6 that I doubt we'll upgrade within five years. Fortunately our department got some super-duper dispensation to be allowed to install Firefox.
posted by octothorpe at 12:39 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Microsoft still requires IE to use Windows Update. (There are ways around it using a user-agent spoof, but Average Joe doesn't know that.)

If that's not tieing the browser to the OS, I don't know what is.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:41 PM on June 12, 2009


The Safari figures are pretty much bogus, as it was a pushed upgrade that followed the last big set of patches. Which, btw, still didn't fix the big gaping hole in Java.

While the antitrust actions really didn't do much in regards to the ubiquity of IE, I think it did make MS a bit less aggressive in their dream of owning the whole chain from front to back. (That, and getting hammered by the security issues that came with their attempt to build that chain.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:42 PM on June 12, 2009


Safari and Chrome should be identical, in terms of testing, no? Same rendering engine?
posted by empath at 12:44 PM on June 12, 2009


Yeah, looks like the IE6 userbase is going to dig in it's heals for fucking ever

No, not really. For sites where the IE6 userbase is small (<5%), there's probably no need to continue to support IE6. For sites where the userbase is sizable (5-25%), the switchover will come soon. For sites where it's bigger than that... I'm really sorry.

One big reason why the conversion hasn't happened is that IE7 doesn't have an "IE6 compatbility mode." As a result, a lot of big companies who had spent big money on in-house web work didn't want to spend it again in order to upgrade. It's why the X-UA-Compatible change was proposed and why it became so contentious so quickly. Another reason is that every netbook sold with XP SP3 comes with IE6 installed, not IE7.

I really think IE6 is going to vanish soon. Eventually companies will have no choice but to upgrade. Windows 7 will displace XP. More and more people are defecting to the Gecko and WebKit based browsers. We may still have 12 months before we can call IE6 dead, but the day is coming. I'm down to 15% IE6 with the work site, which is roughly where Netscape 4 was in 2002 for the same site. When it dropped to 5% a year later, I rolled out a Netscape 4 incompatible site redesign and never looked back.
posted by dw at 12:48 PM on June 12, 2009


And Bing is being hyped on the TV like Yahoo used to

The comedy central crew did a survey this morning to see if people noticed that last night's daily show was bing-sponsored. Even watching the commericals at high speed on my Tivo, I knew they were bing ads.


Lynx will rise again!

I use it every day.
posted by nomisxid at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2009


As noted on Slashdot, IE 6x and 7x are huge in corporate settings, each getting 41%+. I'm not exactly sure how "corporate" entities are determined, but it seems there are a lot of old boxes that don't get much in the way of upgrades.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:12 PM on June 12, 2009


So basically anyone in the EU who builds their own Windows machine either has to import or look up an FTP address on another machine first. Pain in the ass, but exactly what the EU has been driving MSFT to for years. Competition in the browser market is fine, this sort of thing may have made sense a decade ago but it doesn't any longer. Even the OS market is more competitive than it has been in a decade thanks to the resurgence of Apple (a company that given its locked-down nature would have been far more anti-competitive had they managed to come out on top).

Safari and Chrome should be identical, in terms of testing, no? Same rendering engine?
But not the same Javascript engine, which makes a huge difference. Not to mention that there are platform-specific issues as well (I've seen Safari-on-Windows only bugs, not that anyone uses Safari on Windows). I primarily use Chrome these days and between the "chrome" itself (stuff outside the rendering engine) and the JS engine, it's definitely its own thing.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:15 PM on June 12, 2009


Fortunately, MeFi has a large population of users with a better understanding of the niceties of European antitrust laws than Europe itself, so I'm sure we'll have a completely fact-based, astroturf-free discussion.

I suppose the counter argument is that you don't have to know the niceties of the law to know when someone is being railroaded, even if that someone is historically less than a stirling citizen.

EU has a bunch of pretty strange laws, mandates, directives, regulations ostensibly dedicated to protecting the people. I'm considering a post on what they are doing to the perfume industry- and that's not even an Evil American Bohemoth.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:20 PM on June 12, 2009


Did Google ever advertise on TV?

They are actually running an ad for Chrome on Hulu. It's cute, although incomprehensible.
posted by smackfu at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2009


To Microsoft's credit, Exchange 2010 OWA is cross-browser compatible. There was no reason for Exchange 2007 to intentionally cripple non-IE browsers other than a brown nosing PM somewhere in the chain decided it would be in best interest of his budget and a way to earn kudos from above. It looks like the culture at MS is changing drastically, with each product competing on its own grounds.

Microsoft CRM 4 is really crippled and only works in IE, Sharepoint is a bit better. To their credit they do use some advanced functionality that would take some better engineers to make cross-browser compatible. More benignly they were probably trying to do something specific and knew how to do it "the Microsoft way" and weren't seeing outside that box. "Hey it'll only take us 2 weeks to do what we need if we make it IE only."

This is not just MS, Cisco's web interface for their CUCM line of products fail on any browser other than IE and that was really surprising to me. It was just the drop downs that broke and cross-browser drop downs aren't that hard. Again, this would lend credence to my theory of lazy programmers rather than intentional grief.
posted by geoff. at 1:24 PM on June 12, 2009


Apple's Safari 4 tops 11 million downloads in 3 days
"And more than 6 million of the downloads came from Windows users." via

Of course this mean little. I download browsers all the time just to check them out. I usually keep them around to see how my sites look in them, but I have found a long time ago that the best browser is the one with my current bookmarks in it.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2009


I'm not exactly sure how "corporate" entities are determined, but it seems there are a lot of old boxes that don't get much in the way of upgrades.

No one wanted Vista. Guess we'll see if corporations want to buy each user a new machine to run 7.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2009


Netscape Navigator 4.0 Gold (with its hot built-in page authoring tools) and CyberDog is where the action is.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


The webmail interface for Exchange 2003 (I think it was 2003) actually went out of its way to serve one version to IE, and another version to other clients. It seems like they're just making things more difficult for themselves and their customers.

Or maybe it's just you forgetting how quickly thing change. Microsoft pretty much invented Ajax for Outlook Web Access 2000, and when they developed Exchange 2003, IE was still the only widely used browser that supported Ajax - Firefox wasn't even called Firefox back then, and wouldn't reach 1.0 until over one and a half years after Exchange 2003 was released.
posted by effbot at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2009


Of course this mean little. I download browsers all the time just to check them out.

It means even less than that, since it was pushed out as an automatic updated to all the existing Safari users.
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on June 12, 2009


Microsoft CRM 4 is really crippled and only works in IE, Sharepoint is a bit better. To their credit they do use some advanced functionality that would take some better engineers to make cross-browser compatible. More benignly they were probably trying to do something specific and knew how to do it "the Microsoft way" and weren't seeing outside that box. "Hey it'll only take us 2 weeks to do what we need if we make it IE only."

MS is very big on JQuery at the moment, which will hopefully help with that.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on June 12, 2009


It means even less than that, since it was pushed out as an automatic updated to all the existing Safari users.

...or iTunes, or Quicktime, and of course if you have Quicktime but not iTunes they'll be pushing that on you too.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on June 12, 2009


As an occasional (but consistent) MS basher, I don't really see how this helps anyone. Users who wanted a choice had it previously and users who didn't care are going to use whatever ships with the OS. I'll echo the previous comment that if the pre-installed OS doesn't include a browser, most users will be clueless as to how to get one. I realize the machiavellian MS of the late 90's deserved some form of punishment but doing it now seems kind of too late and poorly thought out.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2009


We feel sorry for Microsoft now?

Of course -- ever since Steve shaved off that beautiful full head of hair.

And he's just phoning in performances. It's embarrassing.
posted by dhartung at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"But how do you go to GetFirefox.com without a browser? Do you ask a friend to burn you a CD? Set up Outlook Express (ugh) and get someone to email you the installer?"

Can you install IE on any other platform? A lot of sites used to be made for IE, but not so much anymore. But any ActiveX-driven site (not smart outside of an intranet) will need IE and Windows. A lot of businesses use intranet Active-X sites. The only way they can use them is with MS' software and platform. It's a way to lock people in. It used to be a way to drag all the web development to it and shut down Netscape, but that's not an issue anymore either.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:15 PM on June 12, 2009


I suspect the main reason for all the proprietry shit was more that MS wanted to make web development as friendly as possible for the vast army of IT folks out there used to VB and unwilling to learn anything new.
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on June 12, 2009


I suspect the main reason for all the proprietry shit was more that MS wanted to make web development as friendly as possible for the vast army of IT folks out there used to VB and unwilling to learn anything new.

Or less cynically, the vast armies of underfunded IT departments who don't have the time to replicate functionality and find it much easier and cheaper to just deploy a Microsoft solution. Why reinvent the wheel when it won't really matter? If you're already using AD for authentication and need an intranet portal to throw up some documents, why go through all the work of a Ruby on Rails applications (not to mention having your users memorize another username/password unless you had some sort of single sign on, which would be a huge undertaking unto its own).

Very few small or mid-sized organizations can afford to have dedicated programmers on staff to develop internal apps. With all its shortcomings Microsoft is usually the cost effective way to go about it. If you look at it through the lens of a business and less through whether or not proprietary is a good or bad thing, it is not hard to see why propietary software often dominates the marketplace.
posted by geoff. at 2:29 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


TBH I'm thinking more of the time when a lot of these intranets with odd IE only featuresd went in, so way before rails.
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2009


This is not just MS, Cisco's web interface for their CUCM line of products fail on any browser other than IE and that was really surprising to me. It was just the drop downs that broke and cross-browser drop downs aren't that hard. Again, this would lend credence to my theory of lazy programmers rather than intentional grief.

Portions of the Google Search Appliance admin console only work on IE! D'oh!
posted by me & my monkey at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2009


System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager

sudo aptitude install iceweasel
posted by oaf at 3:35 PM on June 12, 2009


Cisco's web interface for their CUCM line of products fail on any browser other than IE

Also Cisco's Aironet 1240AG. Half of the configuration screens are broken in Firefox (ver. 3.0.11 - yep, it's still broke)

My office is still on IE6, I didn't like IE7 (no particular reason). Will be upgrading to IE8 this weekend, though.
posted by Nauip at 3:39 PM on June 12, 2009


to clarify - when I set up a machine for you in my Office Firefox (current ver.) is set up as the default browser. But we require IE for inter office terminal serving.
posted by Nauip at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2009


To submit atimesheet i need to hit a site in IE. Oddly a Java app is the culprit.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on June 12, 2009


I heard this morning that the new version of Safari is downloading nicely. My buddy who is a web designer says he has trouble getting everything to render properly on Firefox. I don't know, I would think the human race had bigger things to do than string along browser wars into perpetua. But then again, I would have voted for Mondale...
posted by captainsohler at 4:06 PM on June 12, 2009


i too was wondering why having a particular browser bundled with the os could be of benefit to anyone, then i remembered the golden rule:

people are stupid.

remember when you first turned on your current browser? remember what you did first? yes, you made the homepage something other than 'intro.crApple.com' or 'MSNewbie' (probably google, right?). most people don't even realize that that's possible. it still amazes me that those AOL-style intro pages drag in millions for the companies that produce them...*shakes head*
posted by sexyrobot at 4:25 PM on June 12, 2009


IE together is winning a large margin, but IE6 is no longer the majority, which imho is all that is important, barring minor z-index and similar css2 troubles.
posted by rubah at 5:03 PM on June 12, 2009


Holy shit did you guys notice that awesome corporatespeak in the Microsoft memo jaduncan linked to?

This would be a value-add

¯\(º_o)/¯
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:12 PM on June 12, 2009


The Register thinks this is an attempt by MS to preempt the EU, and avoid being forced to do what they really don't want to: bundle alternative browsers with Windows.

As an added bonus, they can implement this in a half-arsed manner, make it a bother for everybody from OEMs to freebie tech support personel (i.e. you fixing your mom's computer) and then claim people actually want bundled IE, just like they did with Windows Media Player.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:11 AM on June 13, 2009


Good. I love it. We've always had a choice to install any browser anyway, and I've chosen not to install Opera, but IE or Microsoft has nothing to do with that. I currently use Firefox and Chrome and stay well away from IE, Safari, and Opera except for testing web pages (Opera excepted of course.)

A browser is a fundamental part of an OS, now, and then. It would be wonderful if IE was standards compliant (and I haven't had enough time to test IE8 extensively but thus far it seems improved) but that is another matter altogether.
posted by juiceCake at 8:03 AM on June 13, 2009


Speaking of Opera, they're up to something.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:46 AM on June 13, 2009


Safari wasn't a pushed auto update, they've never done that on Mac and have stopped doing it on PC. It's only ever offered. Though Windows users are doubtless pavloved into accepting all the update boxes that come their way so perhaps it counts as auto anyway?

Anyway, I think the result of this show that whatever happens, MS is proven right to always drag its heels. The case took so damn long that even before the verdict is handed down it appears ludicrous to have an OS without a browser.
posted by fightorflight at 5:03 PM on June 14, 2009


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