Why Internet Explorer rules…

This article about the growth of Chrome has a little gem in it that shows just how anti-competitive installing IE by default as the only browser on Windows is. It says:

NetApplications reported, Microsoft’s [Internet Explorer’s] 61 percent is a record low for the company as its market share continues to decline.

A key reason for that is the European Union’s recent enforcement of a rule that requires Microsoft to give European Windows owners the opportunity to choose between several browsers upon boot-up, rather than require them to use Internet Explorer out of the box. Although the program just started, that ruling could have a profound effect on which browser will lead the way going forward.

So the European Union requires browser alternatives to be offered and surprise, surprise, IE drops in usage. If IE really were the better mousetrap, the one everyone would want regardless, then you wouldn’t expect to see a drop. Also, if it’s so easy to download say Firefox or Chrome, as is your only choice in the States, then one wouldn’t expect the numbers to change either.

No, as Microsoft well knows, if you put it on as a default, it’s likely that no one will change it because it’s easier not to – that’s why their numbers got so high. This is also why it’s also concerning that the default search provided for IE is now Bing. They know damn well they can take the market from Google through this technique.

Frankly IE isn’t a bad browser and for some Bing is probably a passable search engine (personally I can’t stand it, but we all have our preferences), however my concern is more about the anti-competitiveness these efforts represent. It really is playing hard ball with the market. If you doubt that, remember the Netscape had a viable for-pay browser that Microsoft effectively killed through bundling the extremely buggy IE at the time.

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