1118: Microsoft

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Facebook, Apple, and Google all got away with their monopolist power grabs because they don't have any 'S's in their names for critics to snarkily replace with '$'s.
Title text: Facebook, Apple, and Google all got away with their monopolist power grabs because they don't have any 'S's in their names for critics to snarkily replace with '$'s.


In the late 1990s Microsoft started bundling its web browser, Internet Explorer, with its Windows operating system. This effectively destroyed the Netscape company, who up until then had the most market share with its browser, Netscape Navigator. Microsoft was involved in a legal case against the U.S. government, which required Microsoft to allow IE to be uninstalled among other remedies. Removal of Internet Explorer has no clear solution as libraries and utilities associated with Internet Explorer are used across other Windows applications.

The comic sarcastically states that this stopped companies from creating a monopoly on software practices. Unfortunately, platform developers such as Apple, Sony, and Microsoft have restricted third-party software distribution over the internet via their own curated online stores in recent years, and will come full circle with the introduction of Metro Applications on the Windows 8. The comic also mocks the triviality of browser debates compared to current antitrust cases concerning privacy and price fixing.

Apple bundled a browser in on both its desktop and mobile platforms. Apple also requires all iOS developers to sell their apps only through the Apple App Store, paying sizeable commissions to Apple, and Apple can refuse to sell any app. In some instances, Apple has developed its own versions of popular third-party apps. [1]

On Android, Google bundles in a mobile version of Chrome web browser (as of version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich), but you are allowed to change the default browser. The company has a majority market share in web search engines, being the most popular search engine available. On Facebook, users face difficulties in accessing or removing their profiles and personal information, among other issues. Recently, this has been mitigated by the ability to download a zip file of all content ever posted to Facebook, but it still remains difficult to delete data from Facebook.

Apple has been widely criticized for trying to force all users of Mac OS or iOS to run only content approved by Apple and distributed through the Apple App Store, each sale from which gives royalty payments to Apple.

The title text refers to mocking Microsoft as Micro$oft or M$ for attempting to take too much money from consumers, and jokingly suggests that the inability to easily do this with other companies' names (Fa¢ebook? Appl€? Goog£e?) is how they succeeded at amassing power where Micro$oft failed.


Megan: Remember when we prosecuted Microsoft for bundling a browser with an OS? Imagine the future we'd live in if we'd been willing to let one tech company amass that much power.
Ponytail: Thank God we nipped that in the bud.

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Let the discussion begin! (replace this stub with actual content?) Odysseus654 (talk) 04:29, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Well in the case of Microsoft they already dominated the market and so threatened to gain monopoly power. In the case of Apple (disclosure: I use a Mac) the market share is insignificant, really. As for Facebook and Google, the oversight is puzzling to say the least. 05:16, 8 October 2012 (UTC)ExternalMonologue

¬I Ummmmmmm... Why does my IP address show?? Other peoples' addresses don't show. How do I prevent this from happening? 05:19, 8 October 2012 (UTC)ExternalMonologue
Click the "log in / sign up" icon in the upper right and login or create an account for youself. Then you will no longer be known by your IP addressOdysseus654 (talk) 06:27, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
I think the reason Microsoft was noticed and Facebook/Google didn't was that Netscape complained. It didn't helped him, of course. Which may also be reason why nothing is happening with Facebook/Google: seriously, WHAT do you think can the court do? And about Apple: yes, they could forbid Apple to control the list of application, but ... RIAA/MPAA will then complain. They WANT to end the era of "you own the device, therefore you can install whatever you want on it", because THEY want that control. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:24, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

One could add that the European Union did the same thing (see Wikipedia:European Union Microsoft competition case), first because of Windows Media Player (imagine any operating system coming without media player), but later also because of Internet Explorer. (It was already laughable back then, even before Apple completely dominated the mobile and tablet market.) Thanks to that we now have Wikipedia:BrowserChoice.eu, and we are a free people. -- 08:49, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

In the tablet and smartphone markets, Apple's market share is not at all insignificant. Furthermore, legal solutions are supposed to be even-handed, not "it's okay if these other guys do the same thing because." If a situation arises with a particular party arises such that one of its practices is determined to be abusive, then that practice is restricted, not that party.

Note that Microsoft has been in the news recently because they (accidentally?) broke the agreements they made (or were forced into) when the last browser rulings came down Odysseus654 (talk) 22:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

What about Fa€ebook, App£e, and Goog£e?

In retrospect, the whole Internet Explorer thing seems pretty dumb. I guess at the time web browsers still weren't considered to be an essential, fundamental piece of computer functionality. But they certainly are now. It would be weird for an operating system, ANY operating system, to not have a built-in web browser at this point. 20:42, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't Fac€book be more exact?
Yes, the browsers ARE essential and BECAUSE of that it's important WHICH browser you have. Personally I can't understand why the OS (any of them) can't came with multiple browsers preinstalled. I find hard to believe it's because of size. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:36, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
How many web browsers? What standards are used to select them? Which one is the default? How are naive users to decide? As a semi-power user, I would be irritated to know that a bunch of redundant bloatware came pre-installed, especially when it's an application that often intertwines with the operating system. Frankly, it's NOT that important which browser you use for most users, just that you have one. The ones for whom it is important are going to change theirs regardless of what came preinstalled. - jerodast (talk) 17:51, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Apple bundled their OS with two browsers at least twice. First, after Microsoft told Apple they would no longer commit to maintaining IE for Mac, Apple began installing both IE and Mozilla. I don't remember anyone complaining about that. Much later, they started preinstalling Safari (and installing it with updates) alongside Firefox. People did complain about that, but only the people who thought Safari was not ready for prime time, who would have been even unhappier if it were the only preinstalled browser... (OS X also comes with Emacs preinstalled with, IIRC, two different text-mode web browser packages in it, as do many linux and *BSD distros, but I doubt anyone complains that they want emacs but don't want www-mode because they already have a browser...)
Meanwhile, the way to solve the problem of the browser intertwining with the OS is to not intertwine it with the OS. You can have WebKit or KHTML3 or gecko or whatever as a shared lib if you want to share between programs without making Safari or Konqueror or Firefox the default browser. There really is no reason to organize things the way Microsoft did unless you're deliberately trying to make it hard for people to switch to Netscape.
Anyway, this is no longer the same issue it was at the time. The first-gen browser wars were about trying to lock people into other technologies; the current ones are about making products (phones and tablets) better. Android comes with Chrome instead of WebKit or Gecko because it means Android devices do better on benchmarks and feature checklists so more people want to buy them, not because Google wants to lock people in to Chrome. Google has plenty of evil ways to make money, but this isn't one of them; it's a sincere competitive loss-leader. 11:15, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
It's not weird. It might be weird to not have one bundled with it (Firefox in my case, on Mint GNU/Linux), but to me Firefox is just another app that happened to come with the OS installation. Wilh3lm (talk) 15:49, 1 December 2023 (UTC)

Would it also be relevant that, a week before this comic, Google surpassed Microsoft in market value? — 13:30, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't really understand the advantage of browser market share. Browsers are free and have no ads. If the advantage is in using browser features to promote other services (like search), then THAT's the bundling that should be scrutinized. In contrast, forcing users to funnel all purchases for your system through your own store is much more abusive. - jerodast (talk) 17:51, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Let's start again shall we?

IE hurt Netscape but Windows is Windows, Netscape should have got its own OS while it was still warm.

Today we have a multitude of OSs and can control what we do either by not doing it or by doing it everywhere even places we aren't really. This would make people following us work bloody hard.

Next we take all their toys away by speaking to "friends" in codes that are unbreakable, using a made up language and converting a mutually shared book into that language and just picking out one word from it occasionally to tell the friend the one particular thing he needs to know. Or substance of this.

After that the internet is pretty much secure again except for ordinary people not in the business of foiling secret services. Everyone who needs to know this knows this. It is about as obvious as the supply of a choice of web browsers to an operating system.

The business of your IP address showing up pretty much foils the secret service's desire to know the things about you that you don't even know about you is marred if you go to hell and back and stop off at ever shop on every street corner along the way. Also if you pop into every supermarket and chase every dog and do all the stupid things that stupid people do, such as sending quasi-secrets on the name tags on kittens in pictures of kittens.

That will fuck with GCHQ and the NSA, it would even get on the nerves of the FBI and the CIA eventually. Not that they would notice.

Begone foul pest I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 17:55, 20 January 2015 (UTC)