About 15 years ago (some time between 2008 and 2010), back when I was still using Internet Explorer on Windows XP, I was browsing a very lightweight website which was working super smoothly, and everything was working well.

But sometimes, as I was navigating and switching from pages to pages, the browser happened to be freezing for 5 seconds, which it never did before. After a thorough investigation, I realised the freezing happened whenever a very specific advertisement appeared at the top of the webpage, which showed a bunch of loading icons before saying something in the line of:

Too slow? Switch over to Google Chrome, the world's fastest browser!

Which means they were deliberately creating the situation that favoured switching over to their product (notwithstanding the fact Internet Explorer is what it is).

But this is a mundane situation which made me wonder: if a company purposely caused a competitor's product to work badly in order to increase their own sales, would it be legal? Is the notion of "fair competition" even a thing in regards to the laws in some countries?

  • 1
    In the US I suspect this would violate laws against computer abuse.
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 11 at 22:08
  • Were you logged into Google at the time? They may have been affecting your use of IE on your computer, which is a different thing (not affecting IE itself, but only how you see it). Sounds shifty either way, but different legal implications and a lot easier to do. Commented Apr 12 at 11:59
  • 1
    @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Nah, that was before I had created my first Gmail account.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 12 at 12:03


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