Windows Proposes to Cut Internet Explorer

The headline may sound like a joke, but it certainly is not. While the European Union stews over whether Microsoft should be forced to bundle competing browsers (like Chrome, Opera or Firefox), Microsoft is proposing the opposite. “Fine”, Microsoft has conceded. “If it’s not our browser, then users don’t get any browser. Happy now?”

Personally, I don’t think Windows will ever ship without a browser. But I’m pretty happy with the proposal, because distributors will pick up the slack by bundling a browser that makes sense (e.g. the browser vendor that paid the most).

And of course, we can’t ignore the irony. 10 years ago, when Microsoft was killing Netscape, Bill Gates himself testified that the browser could not technically be removed. It couldn’t be done. Here we are 10 years later, when it’s a little more convenient, and now, well, turns out it can be done!

4 thoughts on “Windows Proposes to Cut Internet Explorer

  • June 12, 2009 at 5:08 am

    So if Windows doesn’t ship with a web browser, how do you go about downloading Chrome? You can’t buy it in a shop. Will it come through my door on a free CD like AOL 10 years ago?

    P.S. Being British, I had to Google how many cents are in one nickel.

  • June 12, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Windows isn’t really the same operating system it used to be – separation could now be much simpler 😉
    I would love to see what happens if neither side backs down on this, although given the existing spread of computers & browsers it should be simple for users to get a browser off someone else who already has a connection even if computer stores don’t start stocking them for free/really cheap 😉
    – imma

  • June 12, 2009 at 9:34 am

    The browser is still in the OS, WinInet, Trident, TriEdit etc. Just the chrome is gone.

    For all intents and purposes the browser is an SDK that ships with Windows. That part is still there. Apps are written to expect those components to work.

  • June 12, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    The more I think about this, the more obvious it becomes that this move simply amounts to a price increase for Microsoft Windows. It’s quite clever, actually! Let’s play it out.

    1) Microsoft ships Windows 7 E, without IE.

    2) Distributors now solicit bids from all vendors (Google, Microsoft, Opera, Mozilla) for putting the vendor’s browser onto the distributor’s software bundle. Microsoft and Google have the most cash, but Microsoft simply out-bids everyone by a wide margin.

    Why does Microsoft out-bid the field? Because Microsoft is the only vendor already receiving revenues for every machine sold because they’re getting Windows royalties. If Microsoft gets $50 per copy of Windows, they can simply subsidize IE distribution with that revenue. Any other vendor (Mozilla, Google, etc) is paying incremental out-of-pocket, whereas Microsoft has an extra $50 per copy to throw in the mix.

    3) In the long run, Microsoft simply passes this cost back to the user by increasing the cost of Microsoft Windows.


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