All this is just re-arguing the are they or aren’t they question about Microsoft and monopoly abuse 25 years ago. There are a few big differences between now and then. Back then Microsoft had a monopoly in the desktop market. A few also rans, and this silly company called Apple (not worth buying any stock in them), held a few percent of the market compared to Microsoft’s behemoth share.
A key factor for Microsoft was the lock they held over computer manufacturers. PCs would not sell without Windows, and don’t bother arguing a few niche cases, I’m talking Circuit City, CDW, and corporate contracts. In order to get favorable pricing from Microsoft the computer sellers had to do things like pay for a Windows license for all computers they sold, whether it contained Windows or not. They also were very limited in what they could add or remove from the base Windows install. Add a bunch of bloatware crap? Absolutely, go nuts, just don’t install anything that competes with a core Microsoft product. Remove something Microsoft thinks should be installed? Never.
So at this point Microsoft is already taking advantage of the monopoly status of Windows to try and keep Windows dominant in the market.
Then the Internet comes up and takes Microsoft by surprise. They buy a browser, and include it with Windows. Remember, OEMs are not allowed to remove the browser or install a competing one. All of the sudden Microsoft goes from barely acknowledging the Internet exists (trumpet winsock anyone?) to having a huge share of the browser market.
The next step is to attempt to leverage this share of the browser market into Windows lock-in for the Internet. This brought about lots of Internet Explorer specific html extensions and ActiveX (how did we get this far in the thread without mentioning ActiveX?).
Those of us who used alternative OSes back then can remember a time of pain when any given website might not work properly anywhere except Internet Explorer. Sometimes it was just bling and doodads that broke, but often it was core functionality. I changed banks just to get to one with a website that didn’t require Internet Explorer; back when online banking was rare and special.
The trial ended with a slap on the wrist for Microsoft, but it scared them enough that they backed off most of the worst of these plans. Other things happened, like standards became more important, java applets and ActiveX died out, while flash hung on for a decade or so, mostly because it was necessary to watch youtube and Homestarrunner.
Since that time, and even back then, Microsoft integrated many other things into the default install of Windows, such as the mentioned media playback and compression. Some of that isn’t a big deal, because the danger to open computing is not nearly as severe as a closed web would have been. For example, it might be bad if you make WinZip, but not a problem for everybody else. Also, monopoly enforcement has gotten even more relaxed since then, so a behavior that might have triggered an investigation in 1995 is good for investors today.