Tag: monopoly

Get off your high horse Ed!

There was a big bruhaha on the intertubes over the weekend when Apple ran its software update on Windows and offered the Safari 3.1 browser download as the default selected option.

Now I am not for a second condoning this kind of behaviour. I believe opt-in is the only way to do optional updates, especially when you are adding applications to a users machine.

However, I had to laugh when I saw Ed Bott get all up on his high horse about this. Ed is a Microsoft guy so it was all the more hilarious that he try to grab the moral highground here. In his post he said:

I think Apple is dead wrong in the way it’s gone about using its iPod monopoly to expand its share in another market. Ironically, an excellent model for how this update program should work already exists. It’s called Windows Update, and it embodies all the principles that Apple should follow… The right way to do it involves these four principles

* Opt-in is the only way. The update process should be completely opt-in. The option to deliver software should never be preselected for the user.
* Offer full disclosure. The software company has a responsibility to fully disclose what its software does, and the customer should make the opt-in decision only after being given complete details about how the update process works.
* Offer updates only. Updates should be just that. They should apply only to software that the customer has already chosen to install.
* Don’t mix updates. Updates that are not critical should be delivered through a separate mechanism.

They are good principles, I have no argument with them however Ed offers these principles up as if Microsoft lived by them! Ed, you are dreaming. Microsoft are just as guilty of breaching these principles as Apple. I don’t use Microsoft software much but the last time I tried to update Windows Live Writer my default search engine was changed to Live Search, and I had to opt out or I would have had Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live OneCare installed on my laptop.

Pot kettle black Ed.

Microsoft! Open Source Internet Explorer

I mentioned previously John C. Dvorak’s PC Magazine article where he calls on Microsoft to abandon development of Internet Explorer because:

All of Microsoft’s Internet-era public-relations and legal problems (in some way or another) stem from Internet Explorer.

He advised them to:

pull the browser out of the OS and discontinue all IE development immediately…. Then, Microsoft can worry about security issues that are OS-only in nature, rather than problems compounded by Internet Explorer.

I was thinking about that article again recently and John is absolutely correct to say that most of Microsoft’s negative image is due to internet Explorer (and how they abused their monopoly to gain it market share).

However, while I think it is extremely unlikely that Microsoft will abandon Internet Explorer, an even better idea might be for them to Open Source Internet Explorer. Think about it. It isn’t like they’d lose any revenue – they already give Internet Explorer away.

If Internet Explorer were Open Source, security holes would be found and patched far quicker. A developer community would quickly emerge and Add-ins/extensions would suddenly abound.

Of course, this would all be very beneficial to Microsoft’s image as well.

In order to do this, they’d also have to de-couple it from the Operating System, but they should have done that years ago anyway.