Call me brainwashed, but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Microsoft. The big, bad monopoly is universally trashed on the internet, but at least they make no attempt to hide their shareholder-centric mentality, unlike some other companies…
What especially pains me is the treatment they’ve received from the European Commission. Microsoft has been hit by numerous legal actions, which have resulted in hefty fines and product changes. You can reference the Windows Media Player proceedings, which resulted in ‘N’ versions of Windows XP, which do not include Windows Media Player. Very recently, the EC announced a preliminary ruling thatÂ bundling Internet Explorer with Windows is considered unlawful. The ruling comes as a direct result of a complaint filed bythe makers of the Opera browser, which is based in Norway. If the Windows Media Player case is anything to go by, Microsoft will be forced to strip Internet Explorer from Windows and pay a large fine.
I believe this is in stark contrast to what consumers actually want. Early previews of Windows 7 have noted its polish and improvements over Vista; however, one of the predominant negatives has been the removal of several previously integrated applications, such as an email client, calendar and photo gallery software. I would spectulate that, in addition to being able to reduce the size of the Windows code base and be selective with partners, it foreshadowed the inevitable lawsuits that would have come from the EU, targeting email, instant messaging, and photo gallery anti-competitiveness.
So, while the EC is busy getting Microsoft to release a kernel-only version of Windows, reviewers, who are supposed to have the user in mind, are fidgeting about the removal of more and more services from the operating system. Instead of protecting the customer as the EC proclaims it is doing, it is becoming but a sounding board for European companies. Note that Apple was not targeted for the inclusion of Safari in its OS X operating system. So much for actual justice.
I await the EC’s future findings into the unlawfulness of including tires, a windshield, and seats with the purchase of a passenger vehicle.