« May 31, 2009 - June 6, 2009 | Main | June 14, 2009 - June 20, 2009 »

June 12, 2009

No IE? Europe Reacts

The European Union is none too happy with Microsoft's announcement to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 7.  That's not what it wanted, they essentially said.  No, no, (as best said in 27 languages), we want Microsoft to offer a range of competing browsers.  Or, as quoted in the statement, "Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less."  Ahem. 

Microsoft's plan leaves it up to OEMs to put whatever browsers it wants on their computers.  It happily provides copies of IE for that purpose.  The move, by default, requires other browser suppliers to do the same.  Opera is as miffed as can be about the development.  This article in CNET says Opera wanted Microsoft to act like a browser common carrier.  The problem is Microsoft is not a utility.  Will Apple have to do the same?  Will Linux or Unix?  Microsoft's action makes the Commission look stupid, and will reflect on its inevitable decision in the case.  Can it actually force Microsoft to supply competing browsers when it does not supply one itself?  Windows will sell either way, with or without IE.  Microsoft's move just makes it all the more inconvenient for its browser competitors in Europe.  To quote Ricardo Montalbon (from Freakazoid), "Laugh with me."

June 12, 2009 in Browsers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Day Analog TV Went Dark

Finally, it's happened.  Today is the day that televison stations nationwide are broadcasting in digital form, shutting down their analog transmitters forever.  Instead of the old rabbit ears, consumers must get their broadcasts using a digital television with a digital receiver, or an analog TV with a converter box.  Both, however, need digital rabbit ears or an outdoor antenna that does the same thing.  Way back in the 60s there were photographs of cityscapes with hundreds of antennas littering the roofscapes.  How ironic that we move forward to better broadcast television by going back to those days.  Maybe not, though.  Cable and DSL access negates the need, and antennas compete with satellite dishes for rooftop spaces in the enlighted age of television.  Reports estimate that two million citizens will have problems with the transition.  Out of a country of 300 million plus, that's not that bad.

The Washington Post has a special DTV transition page with more information than anyone will ever need about this.

June 12, 2009 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2009

WIndows 7 Will Not Have IE in European Editions

Microsoft has announced that it will ship European copies of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer.  This is an attempt to calm down European regulators who are investigating the company for abusing the browser market with pre-installed copies of Explorer.  Computer manufacturers are free to add IE back or install other browsers.  Consumers not so lucky to have a browser installed on their machines will find the Internet a little hard to reach without some extra effort.  They will have to get copies via CD, FTP, or from another source.  I think here is still command line FTP in the Windows DOS emulator.  I would imagine that the likelihood of a European-sold machine without some type of browser is small.  Manufacturers know that the Internet is ubiquitous so they will likely install something for customers to get to the web on their machines.  

Microsoft still has a basis to compete for browser share on the web.  I use Chrome most of the time, but there are still features it lacks such as the integration IE has with other Microsoft programs.  I can't print only a selection, or right click and automatically email a picture through Outlook in Chrome.  I usually open Explorer when I want that convenience.  It will be interesting to see what market share the other browsers get in Europe in light of this decision, or if it will even matter.

June 11, 2009 in Browsers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 10, 2009

French 3 Strikes Law Struck Down

The French law Création et Internet, also known as the three strikes law, is struck down by the French Constitutional Council.  Ironically, it only took two strikes, it's parliamentary defeat on initial consideration, and this decision, to be disconnected from French law.  As the law would operate, content owners would investigate and send complaints to to an authority set up under the law.  The authority would then contact ISPs who would send letters to customers warning them of their illegal activities.  The customer would be disconnected from the Internet on the third notice.  Simple, clean, and endorsed by Paul McGuiness, manager for U2, who thinks the world of graduated response laws as the model for protecting content, or is it really an analog business model?

The Constitutional Council took issue with the law's apparent disregard for the principle of innocent until proven guilty.  This is so even though the law is extrajudicial.  The Council also took into account the importance of the Internet as a means of participating in a democracy.  The French government is naturally disappointed in the outcome.  The New York Times reported that Christine Albanel, the French culture minister would suggest remaking the law to account for the Council's decision, bringing it into a court's purview.  If so, that means a mechanism such as the one in the United States where the RIAA pursues file sharers in court.  With or without ISP cooperation, that is a painful and expensive process for the content owners.  

Albanel added that warning letters would go out in fall in any event.  This story in Ars Technica suggests that the number of people who would be intimidated by those letters would be small.  The story reports on a study conducted in the U.K. suggested that without sanctions, the number of people who would take heed of warning letters would drop from 70% to 33%.  The British government is still considering the issue of a legal response to file sharing.

Here is the reports from the New York Times and Ars Technica about the Court's decision.  The Ars story has links to the text of the Constitutional Council's decision, which, of course, is in French.

June 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 8, 2009

Free Upgrades to Windows 7 if Purchased at the Right Time

Consumers who purchase computer with the Vista operating system can get an upgrade to Windows 7 if purchased between June 26th and October 22nd of this year.  This comes from a leaked Best Buy memo giving the retailer's understanding of the Microsoft upgrade program.  Yep, just like XP, and Vista after that.  More in Information Week.

June 8, 2009 in Microsoft | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack