bit-tech.net

Opera, Mozilla call Win 7 anti-competitive

Opera, Mozilla call Win 7 anti-competitive

The upgrade process to Windows 7 can reset your browser choice back to IE 8 - something Opera and Mozilla label as anti-competitive.

Windows 7 hasn't even enjoyed a full retail release but has already drawn the ire of rival browser developers.

According to an article over on Electronista, both the Mozilla Foundation and Opera have lodged complaints that the upgrade functionality in Windows 7 is anti-competitive.

The complaint stems from the default behaviour of a Windows Vista to Windows 7 upgrade: should a user choose the “Express” option, Internet Explorer is set to the default browser regardless of the setting within Windows Vista. If you're a Firefox, Opera, or Safari user upgrading to Windows 7 you could find yourself being forcibly moved to Internet Explorer 8 – at least until you change the setting back again. The problem doesn't occur if the “Custom” install option is chosen, instead asking users whether they wish to retain their current choice of browser.

Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation Mitchell Baker claims that the move represents “a blatant use of the Windows operating system [by Microsoft] to change the market dynamics of browser usage.” Hakon Wium Lie, chief technology officer at rival Opera agrees – and calls the behaviour of the express upgrade option within Windows 7 the perfect example of the problems facing the current browser environment.

The pair have reason to complain: with Internet Explorer enjoying a majority share of the browser market as a result of its bundling with the Windows operating system, it's a hard slog for a rival browser to make an impact. Likewise, Microsoft has reason to try to downplay the availability of alternatives: its grasp on the market is continuing to slip away, and it must be tempting to utilise its position as a de facto monopoly in order to shore up its share of the browser market.

While Mozilla's Mike Connor has said in the past that offering alternative browsers including Firefox as bundled packages within Windows isn't the way to go, it's clear that the Foundation isn't willing to let Microsoft get away with what it sees as the blatant theft of its hard-won userbase.

Is Microsoft in the wrong here? Should the Windows 7 Express Upgrade honour a user's choice of alternative browser? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

42 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Zurechial 8th May 2009, 14:05 Quote
Oh boohoo..

Because it's SO hard to switch default browser.

I'm getting tired of this bitching and whining about Microsoft's supposed anti-competitiveness in the browser 'market'.

A free program? How dare they!

http://graphjam.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/song-chart-memes-reasons-explorer.jpg
p3n 8th May 2009, 14:11 Quote
Anyone 'upgrading' deserves to be tricked into using IE...
Jozo 8th May 2009, 14:13 Quote
Lol I don't even use IE for downloading Firefox. I download the installer before reinstalling Win.

And also I have a portable version on my usb stick so I can use it wherever I go
cjoyce1980 8th May 2009, 14:19 Quote
i'm bored....... if the user believes firefox or opera are better, then i'm sure the user will switch back, just stop bitching
KayinBlack 8th May 2009, 14:33 Quote
It's not that, we are all understanding of the dynamics of browser switching.

Now do the same to your grandma. Will she know what's happened, or will she just meander along with IE?

Think on it for a second, these choices aren't about those of us who know what we're doing, it's about those that don't.
amacieli 8th May 2009, 14:54 Quote
i'm bored of this too. it's still not clear to me what the "so what" of having YOUR browser running rather than someone ELSE's. it's so easy to change default search engines, so building a frickin' browser to "guide" people to your own seems like a bit of a waste of time to me.
Bursar 8th May 2009, 15:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
It's not that, we are all understanding of the dynamics of browser switching.

Now do the same to your grandma. Will she know what's happened, or will she just meander along with IE?

Think on it for a second, these choices aren't about those of us who know what we're doing, it's about those that don't.

But if grandma starts using IE and she hardly notices the difference, what's the big deal? Just let her carry on.

Personally upgrading to Windows 7 will be what forces me away from IE. I like IE7, but IE8 is a PITA to use. If there was a 'make it work like IE7' button, I'd be happy.

But unless there are significant changes to IE8 by the time Windows 7 is released, I think I'll move over to something else.
_DTM2000_ 8th May 2009, 15:14 Quote
I can understand both sides of the argument on this to a degree but at the end of the day what do you expect MS to do? We're only talking about the express upgrade option here, if MS let users choose all of there custom settings in the express option it would hardly be "express" any more more would it! It would be "custom" and I guess that's what the custom option is for! And lets be honest, if a user is so computer illiterate that they can't figure out how to change the default browser, it's fairly unlikely they are going to try and upgrade Windows by them self. They would get a knowledgeable friend to help them. Most people don't bother "upgrading" at all, they just wait until they next buy a new PC, then it's set to IE by default anyway. Which is the way it should be because it's Microsoft Windows, not Mozilla/Opera Windows!

I really don't understand a lot of this "anti-competitive" rubbish. People complain that Windows lacks features, so third party companies release software to fill in the gaps. Fair enough. But then when MS listens to it's customers and includes new features, people complain that it's anti-competitive! There is no pleasing some people. Just because it comes with the software in the box doesn't mean you have to use it. If it didn't come with a browser or a media player etc, all these computer illiterates you're trying to save wouldn't be able to do half the stuff they want to because they wouldn't be able to figure out how to get the internets or their Lionel Richie CD's to work would they. Stop whining and have a beer! Then find something important to complain about like the state of the economy, or the situation in the middle east or something.
Krazeh 8th May 2009, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
Personally upgrading to Windows 7 will be what forces me away from IE. I like IE7, but IE8 is a PITA to use. If there was a 'make it work like IE7' button, I'd be happy.

But unless there are significant changes to IE8 by the time Windows 7 is released, I think I'll move over to something else.

What is it that you're finding tricky about IE8 that you didn't with IE7? Having used both i'm far happier with IE8 than I was with IE7.
aggies11 8th May 2009, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Oh boohoo..

Because it's SO hard to switch default browser.

Have you met an average/typical computer user before?? "Where did my Orange internet icon go? Oh well, I guess I will just use the blue one" ...

This hasn't and never will be about power/advanced users.
SchizoFrog 8th May 2009, 15:31 Quote
I never have got this arguement. Windows is a Microsoft software program IE is a Microsoft program why shouldn't they bundle it together? The users have a choice about which OS to use and they choose Microsoft's software with everything else that is incorporated in to the package. Any other browser is an ALTERNATIVE. That means it is your choice to use IE or any other browser. You are not stopped from switching. As for the Grandma issue, if Grandma doesn't understand then it is most likely that Grandma did not install FF. With all this continued hype and anti MS publicity it is starting to feel like I am being forced to use a different browser just for the sake of it.

Maybe search engine companies should complain about Mozilla's Firefox program automatically starting with Google as its home page. Is that not the same issue?
liratheal 8th May 2009, 15:35 Quote
QQ :/

If someone's switched their default browser in Vista, they know enough to switch it in 7.
quack 8th May 2009, 15:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
But unless there are significant changes to IE8 by the time Windows 7 is released, I think I'll move over to something else.
Quite unlikely since IE8 RTMed for XP and 2003. Only thing that'll change between RC1 and RTM for IE8 on Windows 7 are bug fixes.
Buzzons 8th May 2009, 16:26 Quote
surely no non tech people will upgrade their PCs anyway .. they'll just get a new PC with an OEM install on.

Also - boo hoo that it changes defaults back to.. SHOCK THEIR ORIGINAL DEFAULT.. i bet it changes some filetypes to reopen into original settings as well. It's like.. wait for it.. the new os using its default settings *shock* *sigh* Mozilla should stfu clearly. :p
C-Sniper 8th May 2009, 16:32 Quote
I think Mozilla and Opera are going a little OTT here.
So what if they have IE installed already? Its like linux only having FF pre-installed. Maybe we should sue mozilla for that?
Faulk_Wulf 8th May 2009, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Sniper
I think Mozilla and Opera are going a little OTT here.
So what if they have IE installed already? Its like linux only having FF pre-installed. Maybe we should sue mozilla for that?

Love Linux. Love Firefox.
But this quote is still win.
Abhorsen 8th May 2009, 16:52 Quote
Sorry but MS is entitled to do that. As for poor old Grandma, IE8 is a good browser, yes i believe Firefox is better but i'm not worried about others who may not know of alternatives using IE.
Woodspoon 8th May 2009, 17:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
QQ :/

If someone's switched their default browser in Vista, they know enough to switch it in 7.

Ha ha ha thats a very good point!
And if they can work out how to upgrade from Vista to W7 then they must have enough intelligence to work out how to change default browser.
Bursar 8th May 2009, 17:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazeh
What is it that you're finding tricky about IE8 that you didn't with IE7? Having used both i'm far happier with IE8 than I was with IE7.

Mostly it's down to the tabs. They don't open in the same way that they do under IE7 (or at least I haven't found to make them do so). The ordering of them is just messed up. In IE7, if I open links from Google, they just open one after another. If I then open a link from one of those sites, it sits next to the parent site it was opened from. IE8 just seemed to put tabs one after the other with no logical order.

The colour coding is also confusing initially. Whoever thought that colour coding tabs red was a good idea should be fired. I just looked at them and thought there was some kind of security/phishing thing going on that IE was trying to warn me about!

The new auto complete features are also rather excessive. I don't want it listing absolutely every address/search term that I've used as soon as I click in a search box.
zimbloggy 8th May 2009, 17:45 Quote
shutup.
knutjb 8th May 2009, 17:50 Quote
I like Firefox but come on what more do they want Microsoft to add competitors software on the Win7 installation too? This is not only ludicrous it's arrogant and whinny to boot. MS provides the option to not use IE, anyone using express is very likely going to use IE anyway. My sister tried to convert my dad but he likes IE because he is familiar with it because he used it at work and doesn't want to learn another browser because he has better things to do than surf the web all day and if I had his garage I would be the same way. All those who cry about MS and this browser issue need to get over the fact that people DO like MS and it's products. What about Apple and all the crap they sneak into their downloads, do I hear a peep, nope...
Krazeh 8th May 2009, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
Mostly it's down to the tabs. They don't open in the same way that they do under IE7 (or at least I haven't found to make them do so). The ordering of them is just messed up. In IE7, if I open links from Google, they just open one after another. If I then open a link from one of those sites, it sits next to the parent site it was opened from. IE8 just seemed to put tabs one after the other with no logical order.

Are you sure you've got tab groups turned on? My tabs works exactly the same as they did in IE7, i.e. if I open a link in a new tab it's placed next to the tab for the parent site.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
The colour coding is also confusing initially. Whoever thought that colour coding tabs red was a good idea should be fired. I just looked at them and thought there was some kind of security/phishing thing going on that IE was trying to warn me about!

Yeah, red was possibly not the best idea but as far as i recall they used it in IE7 as well as 8.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
The new auto complete features are also rather excessive. I don't want it listing absolutely every address/search term that I've used as soon as I click in a search box.

Hmm, not experienced this. Can't say auto-complete seems any more excessive on my copy of IE8 than it did on IE7, and it never seemed particulary excessive on IE7.
DarkLord7854 8th May 2009, 18:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
If someone's switched their default browser in Vista, they know enough to switch it in 7.

Common sense, he has it, they don't.


It's just retarded how many companies are jumping on the "likomg MS is anticompetitive about free software waaaaahhhhh" bandwagon.

The worst part is they've been getting away with it in Europe.

If they can't deal with Microsoft having their own software preinstalled on their OS, and if clicking "Express" which means "Default" settings when installing/upgrading then why don't they make their own damn OS and put w/e software they want on it instead of being whiny little b*tches like they currently are.

Just ticks me off.
docodine 9th May 2009, 01:47 Quote
Baww, use our free software instead of theirs.
LordPyrinc 9th May 2009, 07:06 Quote
Maybe Opera and Firefox need to step up their game and create their own OS's pre-packaged with their own browsers as the default. Shouldn't be too hard, huh? I mean, clearly MS doesn't know what the hell they are doing considering how large of a market share they have. Who needs an OS like Windows that can actually function after install with all these extra applications that can make life a little easier?

Now that we are on that rant, shouldn't all the hardware companies (i.e. sound card, video card, monitor manufacturers, etc etc) sue Microsoft for the whole plug in play idea? Defaulting drivers that aren't provided by the manufacturers of said devices is clearly a cause for alarm. OMG, I didn't know I should install this driver since my monitor/sound card/whatever device actually worked after I installed Windows. How dare Microsoft assume that I need functional devices and software. I want a useless OS that installs nothing other than the GUI of the OS so that I can spend days trying to figure out why my monitor shows nothing but a blank screen. Oh, wait... I can't even get that far... need device drivers for CD/DVD drive so that it even recognizes that I put the Windows OS disk in the drive.

:(
Deadpunkdave 9th May 2009, 09:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
Maybe Opera and Firefox need to step up their game and create their own OS's pre-packaged with their own browsers as the default. Shouldn't be too hard, huh? I mean, clearly MS doesn't know what the hell they are doing considering how large of a market share they have. Who needs an OS like Windows that can actually function after install with all these extra applications that can make life a little easier?

Now that we are on that rant, shouldn't all the hardware companies (i.e. sound card, video card, monitor manufacturers, etc etc) sue Microsoft for the whole plug in play idea? Defaulting drivers that aren't provided by the manufacturers of said devices is clearly a cause for alarm. OMG, I didn't know I should install this driver since my monitor/sound card/whatever device actually worked after I installed Windows. How dare Microsoft assume that I need functional devices and software. I want a useless OS that installs nothing other than the GUI of the OS so that I can spend days trying to figure out why my monitor shows nothing but a blank screen. Oh, wait... I can't even get that far... need device drivers for CD/DVD drive so that it even recognizes that I put the Windows OS disk in the drive.

:(


I don't think I've ever previously encountered someone so angry at their own inability to use linux.
bilbothebaggins 9th May 2009, 14:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
I never have got this arguement. Windows is a Microsoft software program IE is a Microsoft program why shouldn't they bundle it together? The users have a choice about which OS to use and they choose Microsoft's ...
Choice? I wouldn't what we see on the OS market today exactly call choice. When I acquire a car or a fridge or a TV /then/ I have choice. When I need an OS I have 3 options * Apple OS being mostly bundled with overpriced HW, * Linux OS lacking HW device support and no games, and * MS OS (aka Windows) having a market share of 90%+ (I looked it up) that is the only one where you can be sure that your favorite tech gadget or SW-tool is sure to work. (And that's not because of any work on MSs part, it's because they have the 90%+ market share and any manufacturer makes sure it runs on Windows)
If you like that kind of choice, well there you go.
quack 9th May 2009, 14:40 Quote
You all seem to be ranting at Microsoft for (still) including IE in Windows 7, this is not what Opera and Mozilla are annoyed about.

They are angry because Microsoft are switching the browser from a 3rd party to IE8 on UPGRADE from Vista when there is absolutely no need to. Windows 7 should be respecting the user's choice, pure and simple.
Matticus 9th May 2009, 18:43 Quote
Quack seems to be the only one that has got it (moz and operas argument that is, everyone else has very valid points about a different argument), unless I missed some other comments.

This isn't an argument about how well the average user can switch their browser defaults, or if MS should include their own software. Its about the fact that they change the users choice without asking them and without any need to do so.

But let me ask a question, having never upgraded I have no idea how this works, but what happens to your desktop and your icons? If they are left alone then surely ff or opera would still be on the desktop for the user to click, and as soon as they do it will ask them to set it as default.

If it removes the icons by default then IE is always going to be on the desktop or task bar and any user that does not know what they are doing is always going to click that.

So really which ever way the upgrade does it, it does make the argument rather moot.
DarkLord7854 9th May 2009, 23:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matticus
Quack seems to be the only one that has got it (moz and operas argument that is, everyone else has very valid points about a different argument), unless I missed some other comments.

This isn't an argument about how well the average user can switch their browser defaults, or if MS should include their own software. Its about the fact that they change the users choice without asking them and without any need to do so.

But let me ask a question, having never upgraded I have no idea how this works, but what happens to your desktop and your icons? If they are left alone then surely ff or opera would still be on the desktop for the user to click, and as soon as they do it will ask them to set it as default.

If it removes the icons by default then IE is always going to be on the desktop or task bar and any user that does not know what they are doing is always going to click that.

So really which ever way the upgrade does it, it does make the argument rather moot.

No that's incorrect.

When you install software and you pick "Express" option it install all the default settings, this is exactly what the Windows upgrade/install does, if on the other hand, you pick "Custom" it lets you choose.

Windows's install method is no different than the millions of other software programs install methods, including Firefox and Opera.
Zurechial 10th May 2009, 00:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
You all seem to be ranting at Microsoft for (still) including IE in Windows 7, this is not what Opera and Mozilla are annoyed about.

They are angry because Microsoft are switching the browser from a 3rd party to IE8 on UPGRADE from Vista when there is absolutely no need to. Windows 7 should be respecting the user's choice, pure and simple.

I can't say that I've upgraded Vista to 7, but I very much doubt that the process hangs onto all of your registry entries.
In fact I'd surmise that for the sake of stability it scraps many of them when doing the upgrade, so the default-browser switch is probably just part of that, intentional though it may be.

Can anyone who has done an upgrade confirm that?

Either way it's still not the end of the world and the other companies need to cop the **** on and work on being competitive instead of wasting their money whining.

The 'finisher move' points have been made in this thread already - Anyone who has changed their default browser once can surely do it again.
Anyone who can perform an OS upgrade can certainly do so, and will undoubtedly have the wherewithal to make the choice for themselves.

Talk about a storm in a teacup.
quack 10th May 2009, 01:24 Quote
Upgrades are not supposed to break your existing programs so it doesn't just go around resetting/removing registry entries willy-nilly. Sure some of them need changing, but the default browser one really doesn't.
RichCreedy 10th May 2009, 11:43 Quote
if they don't bundle ie within the operating system, how will most users download firefox/opera/safari. will they have to go out and find a disk with the browser on, will you be forced into using a browser supplied by the isp? which will install all manner of crap, causing for some users more problems than using bog standard windows supplied software.

the reason ie8 has problems, is because it had to be standardised, most of the websites that don't work properly on ie8 were written with previous versions of ie in mind (as the dominant browser).

you do have a compatabilty option on ie8, but it can be a pain as you have to set it page by page.
Tulatin 10th May 2009, 12:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
QQ :/

If someone's switched their default browser in Vista, they know enough to switch it in 7.

What, you mean how when they go to click on FF after their 7 install and it asks to be default and they click okay? Yeah that's a huge problem for them. *sigh*
liratheal 10th May 2009, 13:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
Upgrades are not supposed to break your existing programs so it doesn't just go around resetting/removing registry entries willy-nilly. Sure some of them need changing, but the default browser one really doesn't.

Lets see. This happens with the 'Default' upgrade path. If you're too lazy to go through a few option pages, then sorry, but you deserve the inconvenience of changing the defaults to what you wanted.

Is it anti-competetive for Apple to ship Safari with OS X? Or for Ubuntu to ship Firefox? No.

People are just pissing over one of the smallest things ever to happen in an OS upgrade.

If it formatted everything when it claimed it was going to upgrade, then sure, be pissed then. Changing defaults because the installer didn't want to change the settings during the setup? Yeah. Really, over reaction from Opera/mozilla/etc.

Next people are going to whine that Nutscrape Netscape is missing or something :/
Jozo 10th May 2009, 13:41 Quote
I don't think this is about Microsoft putting their web browser into their OS, or is it?

This is more like Microsoft respecting users settings and everything.
Yes you could take the custom setup and everything but if I have Firefox as my deafault browser
probably there is a reason why I have it default rather than IE8/7.

It's ok if they want to promote their new web browser but I would like it more if it asked me if
I wan't to set it default to see all the new shiny functions no matter what way of instalation I take.
DarkLord7854 10th May 2009, 17:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jozo
I don't think this is about Microsoft putting their web browser into their OS, or is it?

This is more like Microsoft respecting users settings and everything.
Yes you could take the custom setup and everything but if I have Firefox as my deafault browser
probably there is a reason why I have it default rather than IE8/7.

It's ok if they want to promote their new web browser but I would like it more if it asked me if
I wan't to set it default to see all the new shiny functions no matter what way of instalation I take.

Then you click "Custom" instead of "Express" which means "Default"



Also.. taking it a bit offtopic but last night iTunes asked to update, and lo and behold, it sneakily installed Safari and set it as my default browser. I'm seriously amazed Apple haven't been hit with anticompetitive lawsuits for their OS, browser, iTunes, Quicktime, and iChat.
knuck 10th May 2009, 18:02 Quote
isn't this just a slight "bug" on microsoft's part ? Isn't this release of 7 meant to receive comments from users in order to make the OS better ? I bet microsoft will have this fix before the official release. Just report it and it'll be fixed. Quit bitching , jeez
Smilodon 10th May 2009, 19:29 Quote
Are you telling me that people actually USE the upgrade function?!

Switching OS is a good excuse to do a fresh install. And with W7 it's probably less hassle to reinstall than to upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
It's not that, we are all understanding of the dynamics of browser switching.

Now do the same to your grandma. Will she know what's happened, or will she just meander along with IE?

Think on it for a second, these choices aren't about those of us who know what we're doing, it's about those that don't.

Think is, most FF/Opera users use it because they want to. They'll switch back if they want to anyway. Besides, at least FF asks to be default browser when it starts. It's just a matter of clicking "OK", ans the icons will still be there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aggies11
Have you met an average/typical computer user before?? "Where did my Orange internet icon go? Oh well, I guess I will just use the blue one" ...

This hasn't and never will be about power/advanced users.

It's like portal, only different! :p
PureSilver 10th May 2009, 21:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by _DTM2000_
Stop whining and have a beer! Then find something important to complain about like the state of the economy, or the situation in the middle east or something.

Yah. These are totally underdiscussed issues, talking will definitely solve them. I am in agreement though, this is a pointless and annoying debate and if you choose to upgrade your Windows product with default settings you're an idiot to expect it not to try to show you the Microsoft way. You should instead be thankful YOU HAVE JUST BEEN GIVEN A FREE OPERATING SYSTEM!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadpunkdave
I don't think I've ever previously encountered someone so angry at their own inability to use linux.

For a first comment, that was fair, but undeniably risky...
knuck 10th May 2009, 23:58 Quote
lmfao I almost feel bad about trying the update instead of the fresh install hahaha

it did work fine though. I guess SOMEONE had to try it, right ? :D
frojoe 5th October 2009, 19:57 Quote
A company should always be able to offer free software if they want to. Adobe should sue windows because paint is included, its anti competitive.

For those saying the average user wouldn't know how to switch, that's true, but they never would have switched to begin with. Mozilla and opera want it to carry over your default browser from before. The average user would have been using ie before anyway.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums