Saturday, 11 July 2009

Windows 7 with no Internet Browser.


This post is not about IT tips, but about the world of IT in general. Just an interesting issue that came to my mind :-)

Most of you have already heard and those who have not, here is the news, in the European Union Windows 7 will be released without any internet browser. Do not panic, it just means that a browser will not be built into the system but people can easily download and install any browser they want. Most probably computer producing companies such as Dell or HP will be pre-installing a browser before shipping a computer. Even if they will not, it is not a big deal installing a browser so what is all fuss about?

Here comes the other side. As we know in the beginning of 2008, Microsoft was fined 899m euros by the European Commission for anti-competitive behavior, because Windows had media player and browser built in. Now, in order to comply with the anti-competitive legislation Microsoft decided not to ship Internet Explorer 8 together with Windows 7, but also mentioned that there will be a load of simple ways to install a browser (in my opinion, most probably it will be done through the Windows Updates system).

I am not sure how the European Commission will react to this Microsoft’s move, because this whole situation is a bit tricky. I will explain why, for instance you have purchased Windows 7 with no browser, now you want to install a browser so what you will try to do? Some of you are now thinking – “I will just download and install it”, yes this would be the easiest solution, but how are you going to download it if you have no Internet Browser? :-) So the user will have to get a browser somewhere, purchase a CD, download on another PC and transfer to the new one, but all these steps require additional action, i.e. spent time and energy. Eventually the users will be “forced” to use Microsoft’s easy way of downloading Internet Explorer 8, so all this thing about not shipping Internet Browser worth nothing. On the one hand European Commission will be “happy” because Microsoft met some anti-competitive requirements, on the other hand people still will have to install and use Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft will not lose a market share of the Internet Browsers, so in the end it is us, simple users, who will suffer from the whole this situation.

What I would do in this situation, of course it will not be heard, but at least I can suggest :-)
I would create an independent source or repository of internet browsers, supported by all companies who publish their Internet Browsers on this resource. Maybe an FTP server with loads of different browsers presented by the different companies. I would also build a feature into Windows 7 which would allow users to access this Internet Browsers repository and download the browser of their choice. In my opinion, this would be a fair and open solution. But this will never happen, because: 1) to create this repository somebody has to spend money, but I do not think that European Commission will pay for it. 2) Microsoft will never agree to build in such a tool into their operating system, and I can understand this because it is their product and they can do whatever they want.

So here is the tip of the day, download Internet Browser of your choice and keep it ready when you buy Windows 7 :-)

Good luck,


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