During the latter part of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century, the United States was a protectionist country. It did not openly get involved in matters foreign to its soil. It scoffed at the League of Nations, an entity that it helped create. It took two world wars before the United States realized that it was sharing the planet. This lesson, apparently, has been lost on the EU.
Currently, the EU is engaged in a discriminatory lawsuit against Microsoft. The antitrust lawsuit-yes, another one-against Microsoft concerns the bundling of the Internet Explorer browser. They contend that by doing so, Microsoft limits consumer choice. Never mind that one can very easily download Firefox, Opera, Chrome or Safari. This, apparently, is not good enough for the wise ones in the EU. At one point, supposedly, they wanted to force Microsoft to remove IE completely. That would even out the playing field, right? Well…how do you download and install a browser if you do not have one? Yes, I know one could use the FTP client or put one on a thumb drive, but, for ordinary people, that is not an option. However, I am sure the wise ones in the EU would have thought of that. Right?
Well, maybe not. Now, word is they are leaning toward forcing Microsoft to include the competing browsers. Now, I don’t have a real issue with this…IF there were good reasons to do so. There aren’t. This whole thing was brought about by Opera, who now just look like a group of whining children who didn’t get their way before, so now they go running off to mommy. No one cares about Opera. More people use the crappy browsers that come with their cell phones.
Now, Firefox and Google have joined Opera in this petty little squabble. They see mommy about to spank the big, bad brother and decide to chime in like more jealous, whining siblings. I’m just waiting for Apple to chime in as well.
The whole thing is just stupid. Other companies do exactly the same thing: Apple bundles Safari, the various Linux distributions include browsers, you get a browser with your cell phone. Why is Windows any different? Don’t give me market share crap either. It might have been valid ten years ago, but not today. No, this is just the EU’s way to strike back at both Microsoft and, to a lesser extent, the United States. I have to wonder if Microsoft were a Canadian company or a European company, this would be a non-issue.
To me, this strikes as a more protectionist practice than anything else. Opera is, after all, the home grown browser in the EU.