Google, Symantec and McAfee have all been to the European Union of late...now what would these corporations want with the political body ? Perhaps they were summoned, you say ? Not really...they went of their own accord...anti-trust hearings, perhaps ? Well, that's kind of right. "What ?", you say...these three corporations are being charged with anti-trust suits by the EU ? How come I haven't heard of it ? Well, they aren't and you haven't as a result...they are not being charged, and hence the reason for it not being in the news. The reason for these companies voluntarily going up to the EU is Microsoft's impending release of Vista!
Google recently joined the list of companies, Symantec and McAfee included, who have "expressed concerns" about Windows Vista, even before it has been released ! Some excerpts...
The company recently sent a top executive to Brussels to let the EC know that Google is concerned about "choice" in future Microsoft products.
David Drummond, a Google VP in charge of corporate development, told reporters, "It's been our view that any new version of Microsoft products that include search, that that be done in a way that preserves user choice for search and other applications,"
And here it where it gets better - Adobe has also joined the bandwagon...
Adobe has also gone public with its objections to Microsoft's new XML Paper Specification, which will provide built-in PDF-style functionality.
Now I find the entire taking-Microsoft-to-task-for-monopoly thing stupid in a capitalistic economy! First of all, if they give away free stuff, how is that harmful to the customers ? so, they gave away IE for free...isn't that a good thing for the customers ? So, if Ford gives away free leather seating with its cars to get better business, I don't see them being taken to task...
About the search issue - almost every other browser around (including Firefox, the fast-growing browser) has Google as its default search engine! No one seems to be making a fuss about that ! And I have test-driven IE a little bit to know that changing the default search engine is as easy as doing the same for Firefox...now, don't get me wrong...I like Firefox, and its variants, especially, Flock. And its not that I am a die-hard Microsoft fan (well, except in the case of Visual Studio and MSDN - they're the best products ever by Microsoft and the best in their categories...of course, now there is Live Writer), but I believe in individual choice - if Microsoft and their products work for you, then use them...if on the other hand, there are other products (perhaps open source) that work for you, then feel free to use them...no one should be pressurized into using something or not using something, especially due to ideology!
I find it especially odd that companies like Google and Adobe, which are market leaders in their own respective areas, to be running like frightened children due to an impending operating system release by Microsoft! I mean, wasn't Google the one prophetizing about the death of the desktop, and that everything will be online ? Now they are worried about the epitome of a desktop - an operating system, being a threat to their business...is their business (and related products) based on such weak foundations ?
As for Adobe's worries about the XML Paper Specification (XPS) - surely they're not worried about a bit of a competition ? So, they don't mind competition as long as its from a smaller entity and not someone who can stand up to them and take them on, like Microsoft ? They can ride roughshod over the entire portable document format, but they don't like it when someone provides them with real competition. Isn't it good for consumers when multiple formats compete with each other, especially when they are backed by companies that can put in resources to make the products better ?
I took a look at the XPS and related software and found the idea interesting...ok, it has various bugs that need to be ironed out, but Microsoft has some interesting ideas for its developement...they have based it on XML, an open idea, and they welcome developers to make better products that make use of the idea!
I think the hypocrisy has to stop...either these folks put up with it or shut up...if they are so insecure about something that hasn't been released yet (Windows Vista), then imagine what will happen when someone comes along and snatches away their prized products with better quality ideas/products ?
This is the rare case though where I have to give credit to the EU for being sensible...their response to the entire deal...
The Commission has been willing to listen to all complainants, but has publicly made clear that it will not comment upon or attempt to regulate products which have not yet appeared.
But here is where the hypocrisy really comes in - to quote from the ArsTechnica article...
Google is doing quite well when it comes to making its search engine easy to find and use from within Microsoft products. With Windows, for instance, Google has had success in signing deals with OEMs like Dell that will prominently feature links to Google properties on new desktops
So if a customer purchases a Dell computer, then Google products come integrated with it, and its not easy to get rid off! Now, that is what I call an intrusion of privacy and taking away customer choice...so what they claim Microsoft did/will do, is what they are precisely doing, except that they are doing so in conjunction with the hardware manufacturer, Dell!