Microsoft’s abrupt reversal comes shortly before the European Commission is due to rule on antitrust charges brought against Microsoft in January, claiming that Microsoft abuses its dominant position by bundling its Internet Explorer browser, shielding it from head-to-head competition with rival products.
Everytime I mention Opera, I’ll add in something like, “the poor thing,” because it’s constantly held at about 1%-2% or so. I’d never imagined they might be jealous of the other browsers, but now I’m not so sure.
It’s true that it’s a pretty good browser. It’s never appealed to me, for whatever reason, but I still like it.
On to Microsoft, though:
Forget dominance, and forget anti-trust. For now, imagine things in simple terms. A software company makes an operating system; business tools to make spreadsheets, databases, and documents; an internet suite to chat with people, check emails, and log in to their services; and a program with which one can surf the web. In short, they make a full complement of business and personal tools.
Now, said company announces that they won’t include the web browser with their OS. A user needs to know what it is and search for it. How does that make sense?
What I’m saying is that I have no problem with Microsoft and the backing of their browser, besides the trouble they were getting into back in the day when they were actively entering into agreements with companies and not allowing Netscape on the system. That’s bad. Giving their users what they want without shoving a wake-up call down their throats? It doesn’t strike the ‘pro-sumer’ mind as benevolent, but it’s not wrong. I think most people forget that the average Windows user doesn’t even know what a browser is, so it really is unfair to make them choose one. More subtlety is needed.
Really, the best thing one can do to help the situation is to educate people about the different browser offerings. In America, Opera is kind of powerless to do that, which is probably why they’re so disdainful. In truth, Mozilla has more responsibility in this regard. Apple, too, could be doing more to spread the word. I only stumbled upon Safari for Windows last year by accident, while I was doing research on different browsers.
Lately, I’ve put a lot of faith in Google to spread the browser news. I can’t imagine a single computer user who hasn’t used Google’s search engine, and they actually put an advertisement for Chrome on their main page. Once they’ve got extensions working, I’d imagine them getting the word out there the best they could.
And all of this? It’s showing. For the past few years, Internet Explorer share has slowly been eroding. Even as Microsoft bundled with their OS, people turned to Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. The odd browser out is Opera, which seems to attract enough people only to replace the ones who stop using it. The poor thing.