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02.25.10

Microsoft Claimed to be Cheating in Web Browsers Ballot

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No lock on the door

Summary: Microsoft’s EU ballot claimed not to be rearranged at random and besides, it totally disregards the issue of Microsoft perverting the Web to make it MSIE-only

BOOSTERS of Microsoft have defended the company's discriminatory treatment of ODF in its new ‘ballot’ dialogue. Well, according to this report, Microsoft might also be cheating in the ballot that displays Web browsers:

How Random Is Microsoft’s Random Browser Choice Screen In Europe?

[...]

More than once out of every four hits, the page would show Google Chrome on the far left, and Internet Explorer would only make it to the first spot in 13,8% of page loads (scoring well below all four other browsers). In fact, in over 50% of all page hits, Internet Explorer would come out to the far right spot of the five browser choices shown on the screen.

It’s rather interesting, isn’t it?

Browser options are made worse for the illusion that they will make IE go away from Windows. They won’t. In some places, and especially in Korea [1, 2], Microsoft has used ActiveX to make a Web browser and operating system monoculture. Mozilla talked about this yesterday.

As has been in the news this week and mentioned on many Mozilla blogs, the European Commission is working with Microsoft and other browser manufacturers, including Mozilla of course, to launch the web browser ballot in the EC.

To those critics of the browser ballot who would rather the free market be left completely to Adam Smith’s invisible hand, I would present to you the example of South Korea. In short, South Korea is a sad example of a Microsoft monoculture where the course of history and the lack of anti-monopoly oversight have created a nation where every computer user is a Windows user and banking or ecommerce or any secure transaction on the Internet with South Korean entities must be done with Internet Explorer on a Windows OS.

[...]

So when people ask you, “why is the choice of a web browser important?” tell them that in South Korea, people don’t get a choice of what operating system to use or what web browser to use. After you explain to them that a place without choice is South Korea, ask them again if they’d like to not have a choice and why the choice of a web browser is important.

Microsoft is currently using Silver Lie in addition to ActiveX in order to remove choice through the Web. This is why the ballot misses an important point and a lot of users will blame their “non-IE” browser when visiting MSIE-only Web sites. Microsoft uses the same strategy to make ODF look bad.

“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.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Glyn Moody does not mind the ballot approach. He called it a “good design”, but he had something to say about Microsoft’s insulting treatment of ODF.

Who in their right mind would opt for that? Given that Microsoft has come up with a good design for the browser ballot, it should be pressed to do the same for ODF as well. Even if it does, ODF will be faced with the same recognition problem as Firefox does, but at least it will be doing so fighting on a level playing field.

Microsoft will never treat ODF fairly; it threatens its #1 cash cow whose existence it may depend on.

“They are not implementing all parts of the OOXML standard, so he [technical director of Microsoft Denmark] is lying.”

Mogens Kühn Pedersen, chair of the Danish Standards Committee

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