Microsoft, in a surprise move, have decided to ship Windows 7 in Europe without any web browser at all.
Yes, it’s true…
After making sure it still isn’t April 1st, I re-read the news. Apparently, this is Microsoft’s reaction to the antitrust allegations in the European Union, to just ship it blank so to speak (details can be found in Europe to get Windows 7 sans browser).
To begin with, while I’m very far from being an IE fan, I’m not really sure about this to begin with. Sure, Microsoft got a lot of the market this way, but now the web browser market is more balanced than in a long long time. Therefore, maybe this isn’t needed?
And, in terms of business practices and included software, Apple are doing the exact same thing, but no one talks about it. And sure, OS X isn’t close to having the same market share as Windows, but, in my opinion, it has a fairly substantial share as well. So, if we’re going down this path, fair has to be fair.
I think this leads to some interesting, and in some cases, saddening conclusions:
- It will be hell for a number of users to get a hold of any web browser to install at all. IE 8 will instead be distributed it via CDs, FTP and similar. What is this? 1995?
- There will be a free IE 8 pack for computer manufacturers to install. If that’s true, isn’t that about the same unbalanced competition as before?
- Instead of giving users more choice, they get even less than before.
- Apparently IE isn’t that tied to the operating system which Microsoft has claimed again and again for years. Great! Offer us multiple stand-alone versions side-by-side now then!
How it should be done
The only common sense here would to ship Windows 7, where the user can start a program to install any web browsers they want to. This program should not contain installers for any web browsers, but rather predefined download links to all the major web browser vendors, so each of them can ensure it’s the latest and most suitable version being installed.
And really, it’s not that hard, is it? Instead of messing with poor end users, do the sane thing and offer users options and freedom to choose. Like it should have been from day one.