Will Windows 7 decide browser wars?

Expert opinion on the Internet Explorer arguments

The question remains, should Microsoft even be allowed to set IE as a default in its popular Windows OS?

"The damage caused by Microsoft's activities is ongoing," insists Baker. "…hundreds of millions of people use old versions of IE, often without knowing what a browser is or that they have any choice in the quality of their experience.

"This makes it very difficult to bring innovation, choice or improved user experience to vast parts of the Internet."

History repeating?

However, long-term Microsoft observer and regular TechRadar contributor Mary Branscombe has another view:

"In the last anti-trust battle, Netscape claimed it failed to take the browser market away from Internet Explorer because Microsoft stifled their access to customers by giving away a browser with the OS," she comments.

"But when the figures came out at the trial, it turned out that Netscape had shipped more copies of the Navigator browser than there were users on the Internet and many of their problems came down to a business model that charged ISPs to distribute Navigator, as well as failed attempts to persuade Microsoft to include Navigator in Windows instead of Internet Explorer. "

It seems likely that the argument over bundling browsers with operating systems will carry on long after the EC has its say. The fact of the matter is that the arrival of Windows 7 puts a huge wildcard into the browser war – and just how it ends up affecting the industry very much remains to be seen.