Last Friday saw the election of representatives to the European Parliament (MEPs) and the results were out today. Whilst this might not have the global impact of President Obama’s election in the United States, for the 375 million of us that live in the 27 EU member states (sorry, sovereign nations), it is pretty significant because, according to the eurosceptics, 75% of our national laws are passed down from Europe.
Here in the UK, minority parties faired well – partly as a protest against our own incumbent (or should that be incompetent?) Government and partly as a result of the proportional representation system that is used for the European elections. Whilst the UK Green party narrowly missed out on a third seat in South East England (but the far right British National Party gained significant support in the North of England…), it’s the result in Sweden that has perplexed me the most – 7.1% of Swedish voters said “yes” to the Pirate Party – formed in response to copyright laws and the impact of the Pirate Bay filesharing network!
Now, I’ve been very careful not to express any political views in this post but, with a new Parliament in place, it seems to me that now is the time to sort out the idiots in Europe who are pushing ahead with yet more action against Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer in Windows (hey guys – you’re too late – the damage was done 10 years ago, the American Courts did very little about it, and Internet Explorer has credible competition in the shape of Firefox today). It seems that Microsoft’s componentisation of Windows and provision for the removal of Internet Explorer 8 is not enough for the European Commission – they want users to vote for their browser of choice when installing Windows!
Personally, I would like to install Windows quickly with the least possible user interaction. Then, once the base operating system is installed, I’d like to select roles/features (as I do for Windows Server 2008) and install any third party software that I choose – independently of the Windows setup routine. If we have to have something to please the minority browsers (Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc.) then Windows already lets me choose search providers, media players, mail clients, etc. – why not use the same mechanism for browsers? There’s more about this madness over on Mary Jo Foley’s All About Microsoft blog but I really do wish that my taxes (which pay for Neelie Kroes and her organisation to bring about action like this) were being used more effectively…