Catch 22?

Recently, Opera browser makers sued Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer along with their OS. They say…

“We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them, In addition to promoting the free choice of individual consumers, we are a champion of open Web standards and cross-platform innovation. We cannot rest until we’ve brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide.”

Their argument seems logical, but I seem to find it completely retarded. They are thinking about themselves and not the customers, I can say that for sure. Let me explain.

Let us assume, Microsoft (MS) is banned from bundling Internet Explorer (IE) with Windows (all Linux geeks (LG) and MS bashers (MSB) rejoice). Now a lame man, like say a middle aged man having his midlife crisis, installs Windows (At this point, all the Linux fanboys and MS bashers might go on to ramble that Windows sucks and say they’d rather install Linux. Imbeciles, no one wants to calculate 2xRAM = SWAP nor does anyone want to operate from the console.). All done, Windows installed well, he watches a couple of movies (Assuming he is not European, EU version of Windows doesn’t have WMP), listens to his favourite songs. All is well. The next step would obviously to browse the Internet, for Pr0n. He is all excited, but then he realizes his computer doesn’t have a browser! OH NO! DAMN IT TO HELL!

The only option available to him is to download a browser from the Internet and then start using it. LGs and MSBs might yell firefox, hardcore Internet freaks might say Opera and people like me would say IE7. He just has to download the browser he prefers and start browsing the Internet. It all seems very simple, but there is a catch. How in the world will that man download a browser of his choice if he cant browse the Internet? There is no way for him to view a web page on his system as there is no browser. So he can neither visit www.getfirefox.com nor www.opera.com nor download.microsoft.com. Then how can he install a browser (Op | FF | IE)? There are some options.

    1. He visits a friend who has a browser. Ask him to download the browser he prefers and then bring that file to his place on storage device. Pen drive etc. Install it and then enjoy the pr0n.
    2. If windows has something similar to wget, he can use that. But we are talking about about a 40year old man here. First of all I doubt windows to have something like that. Secondly, lets face it, he would rather hang himself than do a command line download.
    3. Bundle all available browsers with the windows installation.
    4. Magic.

All seemingly feasible but, unnecessary burden on the poor old man. He just wants to enjoy the pr0n but he is faced with a multitude of problems. Consequently he goes on to kill his loved ones and then finally commit suicide. Tragic.

One thing I don’t understand is, haven’t they thought of this? or am I missing something?

Operating systems are installed on brand new systems (reinstalling, formatting etc. are different). People buy computers for either entertainment, Internet or professional work, the first two being the most common uses. After installing, the first thing they want to probably do is to either watch a movie, listen to songs or browse the Internet. Thus a browser and a media player are bare essentials. If you strip them off, what is left is a car without the wheels, purpose lost.

I might faintly agree with..

“Microsoft abusing its dominant position in the browser market by tying Internet Explorer to Windows and by not complying with W3C web standards when it comes to how IE renders pages.”

.. but who doesn’t want to? They have the best OS out there and they want to make money out of it. If IE is removed from windows, then Firefox should be removed from Linux, that would only be the fair thing to do.

They say IE is not 100% compliant, but then neither is Firefox nor Opera. If a company wants people to use their product, they should make it stand out from the rest. Take Firefox, it has been my faithful companion since years. I being a huge Windows fan, still like Firefox for its features. The extensions make Firefox a browser with unlimited features and infinitely customisable/extendable. That is what made Firefox click among the Internet communities. Opera being third in race isn’t an unpopular browser. It has its own feature set, but the users who prefer that feature set are few. Opera in the early days was a nightmare, both with JS and standards. Even though it is the most compliant browser currently available, it still needs to be improved in usability, extensibility and other aspects.

Opera’s future is hanging by the thread. IE7 has been improved immensely from IE6, with tabs and add-ons like IEPro, it can also become a geek’s browser. Firefox on the other hand already is a geek’s browser and Firefox 3 aims to eliminate the 2 major problems plaguing it, memory leaks and speed. These two will share the whole market, IE used by casual browsers and Firefox by the rest.

One more thing, “Standards compliance” is not a feature looked for in a browser by the end user, at least not the important feature. Standards compliance is only for web developers, they are the ones who face the most problems than the end users because of incompatibility. With compatibility in the order Op>IE7>FF2>IE6, Opera might have a chance, but who knows?

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