I found it interesting to read that Google has repackaged IE7 to include Google’s services activated by default. This means the quick search bar defaults to Google instead of Live.com, and other things. The package can be found here
What will be interesting to observe is if Microsoft cries foul on Google repackaging their product. Will it be supported by Microsoft the same as their “official” version? Will Microsoft release a “security update” that reverts these customizations? They certainly have the power to do so, as well as the legal authority, and the motive.
The deeper issue on topics like this will always come back to the crucial concept of unfair business practices. Microsoft controls the operating system, the browser, and the search engine. With Windows One Care’s release with Vista, will Norton and McAffee go the same way as Netscape, years before? These Anti-Virus companies have been very vocal about this recent turn of events, so I think this is a fear they have.
What makes the difference between someone simply using software because they have to, and someone being an advocate for said software? The answer seems to be simple enough – choice. People who use Mozilla’s Firefox, or Apple’s OS X, or Google’s search swear by it, as opposed to someone using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The common characteristic between these three companies is choice. You can use their software just as easily as you can NOT use their software. Its a powerful concept, (and the reason America has fought as few wars). Each company aims to gain market share by providing a superior product – not though vendor lock-in.
An interesting note for people crying fowl over IE7’s exclusion of Google from its search engines: Try to change Mozilla Firefox’s default search engine. Type in some keywords in the address bar, and press enter to watch Google’s page come up before your eyes. I see no settings to change this default to something else. And don’t get me started on Apple’s iTunes music “store” – forfeit all freedoms ye’ who enter.