Have some Mozilla with that Windows

Mozilla is complaining of massive losses due to a Microsoft technical error. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

The only way I can describe this to you is that it's the most idiotic ruling ever handed down by any group or judge anywhere. I'm shocked that it's really come to this. OK, the story is this: The European Commission (EC), whoever they are and whose real purpose and power is questionable, handed down a ruling that stated that Microsoft has to give Windows users in Europe a browser choice. And, the fact that they didn't in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, means that Mozilla lost millions of downloads of its Firefox browser. Mozilla estimates that loss in the range of six to nine million downloads during the non-compliance timeframe.

My answer to this consists of the following:

  • A clinched fist to the heads of the European Commission board members.
  • A big, fat "So the hell what?" to Mozilla.
  • A "Tell them to use another operating system," if I were Microsoft.
  • An open message to the EC: "You don't need an invitation to use another browser, just go get one."
  • Another message to the EC: "Does Volkswagen have to offer Fiat engines as an option?"

Seriously. How dumb do you have to be to a) Not know how to download another browser if you want one, and b) Realize that this is really that stupid?

I'm thinking dumb. Box of rocks dumb. Blue-green algae dumb. European Commission dumb.

I remember Bill Gates answering this question in the late 1990s with the same logic as mine: May 22, 1998 – Bill Gates contends that asking him to include Navigator with Windows is like asking Coca-Cola to include three cans of Pepsi in every six-pack.

Does Mercedes-Benz offer a voucher for other brands of tires since they come pre-installed with Michelins or Pirellis? 

I think you get my point here.

Who are these people that think this is a good idea?

To the European Commission:

Not only can I not understand your reasoning in your ruling about forcing Microsoft to provide the ability to download other browsers, I have to say that your efforts were wasted. Wasted because it isn't necessary to mandate this kind of thing. People are free to download any browser they want. Microsoft doesn't stop them.

If you open Google.com on whatever browser you use, you'll see a link there to download and install the Chrome browser.

You should be glad that I don't control Microsoft. If I did, I would tell you that I will stop selling Windows in Europe or that buying Windows is optional. There are alternatives. So, being that buying Windows is optional, you can't tell us what to package with our operating system. Go control someone else's business.

On your homepage, you discuss job creation and business but do you realize that what you're doing is actually anti-business? Well, it is.

You're essentially telling any entrepreneur that if he or she is successful and creates a great product that everyone wants, they also have to boost the competition by allowing competitive products to mix with theirs.

I don't know how things work in Europe but I'm convinced that maybe this is why your damn countries are all going bankrupt--one after the other.

I think that what we need in this world is fewer bureaucrats and self-appointed do-gooders and more people who want to work and make an honest living and not spend time placing limitations and sanctions on those who are successful. 

If Windows users want Firefox, great. If they want to use Internet Explorer, awesome. If  they want to use Chrome, that's cool too. Frankly, I use Lynx on Linux more often than I use anything else. Is there an option for that browser too? Well, there should be.

Yours truly,

Ken Hess

The point is that people do have a choice of browsers, of office suites, of accounting programs and of every other type of program. If Microsoft doesn't stand up and fight this or tell the EC to kiss off, then it's their own fault. Where does it end, otherwise?

You don't have to provide access to your competition's products. It's just silly to expect it.

What do you think of the ruling and the Mozilla complaint? Talk back and let me know.

Editorial standards