Let me start by saying that I am just an average Joe that started my computer life in good old DOS and I have a passion for all things computer and Windows related, yes, I am a Windows PC, and love it!
The last week Microsoft has made some big headlines about the removal of Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7 in Europe.
Microsoft is firstly a monopoly. Been convicted as such multiple times, USA, Europe, Korea and even Russia I think. This is important to remember, because of all this has put them under huge scrutiny, more than most companies and some will argue, including me, with reason.
The second thing to remember is that Microsoft have not always been a good corporate citizen…They have done things in their long history that have let people to mistrust them and has made it easy to pick on them. No one likes a bully after all.
But here is the bottom line: bundling Internet Explorer is irrelevant today. This is what the EU has gotten wrong.
Microsoft beat Netscape by bundling IE, fact. They used their power and wide spread adoptability of IE thanks to Windows 95B and onwards to promote ActiveX which spawned a generation of web tech based on it. IE 5 and 6 was also very good and free, compared to that of Netscape. Was that anticompetitive? Hell yes!
So does that mean that because Microsoft kept on bundling IE that there is no market for any other browser? Hell no! But that is what Opera and the mad people at the EU would like us to believe.
Look, I am not justifying Microsoft at all, but come on. Microsoft biggest mistake it made was its own complacency. The time between IE 6 and IE7 was years, YEARS! In that time a little open source outfit stole the march on them. Firefox did all that, despite the bundling of the browser. Was that all the Linux users that has driven their market share, no, it was Windows users. People like me that liked the small, no thrills and faster browser. The world of the web has moved on and the big MS have been asleep at the wheel. ActiveX have become irrelevant for most sites, JAVA rules.
There is no second time around for Microsoft; they can’t get back what they had. If they could develop a killer proprietary tech to steel back the dominance from JAVA, they will be under such pressure to make it open it is not funny. It is the nature of the web today.
Their other problem is their own browser. The web is driven by JAVA and various other open web 2.0 standards. IE is optimised for ActiveX, not JAVA. Ultimately, that is there biggest Achilles heel. It is all about compliance to the standard today. The more they try, the more they break sites build for IE. It is the ultimate catch 22. IE 7 and 8 is steps in the right direction, but it is steps to keep up, not to steps to lead the pack!
Anyone that has looked at web share stats will tell you, IE is still bleeding market share. IE 7 and 8 has stopped some of the bleeding, but the rest is still gaining…and it is no longer only Firefox…there is Chrome, even Safari biting.
So please, EU, back off. The market is taken care of this, it don’t need regulation…