Lack Of Microsoft Browser Choice May Mean Billion Dollar Fine
It's been a week full of ups and downs for Microsoft. On the same day a judge dismissed the Novell antitrust lawsuit against the computer giant, the European Union (EU) has threatened billion-dollar fines over the lack of Microsoft browser choice. The company, which some believe favors Internet Explorer, was pushed by the EU back in 2009 to include a display screen in Windows that gives users the links to download browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, after a complaint was posed by browser maker Opera Software.
Infoworld reports that although the Windows maker agreed to the display screen, they didn't incorporate it in Windows 7 SP1, the first big upgrade to the Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft counters the exclusion was the result of a technical glitch and that other Windows operating systems like XP and Vista do have the agreed display screen. They then issued an update to rectify the glitch, which they sent out to EU SP1 users as of July 3, 2012.
Too Little, Too Late
Regardless of the update, Microsoft's non-compliance could cost the computer giant fines totalling up to 10 percent of their annual revenue. That's no pocket change when you consider their global revenue hits just under $100 billion.
While this European brouhaha over the lack of Microsoft browser choice may seem petty to some, the fierce consequences could be a turning point in what has been dubbed the "browser wars." Up until now, Internet Explorer has enjoyed a hold on the market, in part because of its ties to the Windows OS, which is used by countless numbers of midsize businesses around the world. But according to Fortune, Google Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox have shown a rise in popularity. Chrome even took the top browser spot for the month of May.
Fining Microsoft billions of dollars may seem extreme, but it stands to possibly loosen the grip IE has on being the operating system's browser of choice. That said, we all know no one using Windows is forced to choose IE as their browser. But let's face it, it's much easier to click on the browser conveniently located on the desktop than downloading another option.
Microsoft's faux pas throws a spotlight on the issue of browser choice. Just because IE is the Windows OS go-to browser doesn't mean it's the perfect fit for IT admins at every midsize business. Companies like Google and Yahoo are ramping up their search engines to give customers a quicker, easier, and safer search experience, especially when it comes to mobile devices. It's worth it for IT--especially those who have integrated Bring Your Own Device into the work place--to take a few minutes and figure out which browser works seamlessly with your enterprise's needs, offers the easiest updates and protects your network against phishing and malware. For those looking for a breakdown of top browser choices, check out Arts Technica's in-depth comparison.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.