Windows Vista, sans the browser, ActiveX
EARLIER TODAY WE wrote about anti-competitive aspects of Microsoft's Vista 7. Microsoft deliberately used Internet Explorer to make (parts of) the World Wide Web Windows-only. Korea and ActiveX are an excellent example and Silverlight is another. Because of this, Google has just decided to turn its back on Web standards (yes, again) and support ActiveX in Chrome, at least in Korea.
ActiveX control is widely used by Internet Explorer to load applications or components in Windows. It’s a useful piece of control, but is not without issues. In fact, ActiveX is known for security problems.
Despite security short-comings, ActiveX had been welcomed into the community and flourished. Surprisingly, more so in banks where security is a top priority. Believe it or not, ActiveX is so widely used that the South Korean government decides to make it compulsory for all banks to have it.
Other major browsers have resisted supporting ActiveX. Until now. Google Chrome has now decided to support ActiveX, but only in South Korea.
For those in Google who argue that it’s all Microsoft’s fault, well… some of Google’s own sites, including Google Mail (chat) and Google Maps/Earth require ActiveX and are therefore Windows-only. In order words, Google is helping Microsoft’s fight against commodity (Web standard) and it’s doing it selfishly for self gain. Opera, on the other hand, insists very strongly on Web standards and Mozilla goes as far as supporting Ogg out of the box.
In summary, shame on Google.
This is not the major news though. The following press release reveals that the European Commission objects to Internet Explorer in Windows. Well, what took them so long?
“Yesterday Microsoft received a Statement of Objections from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission. The Statement of Objections expresses the Commission’s preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law. According to the Statement of Objections, other browsers are foreclosed from competing because Windows includes Internet Explorer. The Statement of Objections states that the remedies put in place by the U.S. courts in 2002 following antitrust proceedings in Washington, D.C. do not make the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows lawful under European Union law.
This is already covered — albeit rather superficially — in:
- EU hits Microsoft with fresh anti-trust charges over web browser
- EU accuses Microsoft of curbing Web browser rivalry
- EU objects to browser in Windows
This could get interesting, but it’s far too late to address this. Microsoft deliberately made a mockery of Web standards and harmed the Web, which it viewed as a non-differentiator that enabled Freedom. It needed some ‘proprietarising’. █
“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this. [...] Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”