I was just using IE earlier, and I remembered how aggravating it is. Surely Microsoft are not stupid, they must know people who know better do not like their browser.
Are they even making money on it? I know they have a cushy relationship with the advertising industry (to not allow ad blocking in IE, for one) but are there direct profits from people using Internet Explorer over Firefox or other alternatives?
What would stop Microsoft from taking Firefox, putting in a couple extensions they like, disabling it from getting any other extensions, and calling it Internet Explorer? They don't sell IE, they give it away, with Windows and separately. How would this be different from what Orca, Iceweasel, and Blackbird do?
I know there's pride. The pie in the face of putting out a rebranded, stripped down Firefox called Internet Explorer might look bad.
But would it? Internet Explorer is a piece of junk and the number of people who don't know it is dwindling. If they put out a retooled version of Firefox as the official Windows web browser, would that not be win/win across the board?
I'm still proud of my previous Microsoft/Mozilla idea, but it's too liberal. In short, Microsoft stops producing IE, pours money into Mozilla, brands Firefox as IE, keeps it open source, and nurtures an open community of developers to make it the best. Combining Mozilla's minds with Microsoft's resources would really be the best solution. But would not happen.