EU approves new browser ballot for Windows 7

EU approves new browser ballot for Windows 7

Summary: New ballot satisfies EU that users will be offered a fair choice among competing browsers.


Microsoft has finally come up with a browser ballot screen the European Union likes, according to news reports. The EU was not going to approve Windows 7 without a way for users to choose a browser other than Internet Explorer. Microsoft had taken a first pass at a browser ballot, but the EU didn't like that one. Now, in the second go-round, Redmond has come up with something that passes muster.

"The Commissions' concern has been that PC users should have an effective and unbiased choice between Internet Explorer and competing Web browsers to ensure competition on the merits and to allow consumers to benefit from technical developments and innovation both on the Web browser market an on related markets, such a Web-based applications," EU officials said in a statement.

My colleague Mary Jo Foley has a screen shot of the new ballot and some good info on what has changed.

The new ballot allows browsers to be easily downloaded from the ballot screen; doesn't favor any one browser -- not even IE -- over another; includes a little introduction to each browser; and presents browser choices alphabetically.

If this is really the end of Microsoft's long browser battle in Europe, the company can breathe a sigh of relief. General Counsel Brad Smith certainly seemed to be doing so with his statement:

We welcome today's announcement by the European Commission to move forward with formal market testing of Microsoft's proposal relating to Web browser choice in Europe. Today's decision is a significant step toward closing a decade-long chapter of competition law concerns in Europe.

Topics: Windows, Browser, Government, Government UK, Microsoft

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  • Cheeky...

    Bit cheeky that you choose which browser you want via a ballot screen displayed from inside internet explorer... subliminal message?
    • Maybe...

      They should have done a DOS prompt where you type a number to choose your browser, can't be much fairer than that?

      All of this is pointless. People already know how to install a different browser, this is even more obvious as IE loses market share greatly.
      • For me the issue was never so much installing a new browser

        as it was uninstalling the old one. And since the non-EU versions of Win 7 apparently fix this I'm a happy clam.
        Michael Kelly
  • Not enough!

    This ballot stiffles competition from smaller shops that would try to make their own browser.
    All available browsers shold be included, not justthe 'big guys'.
    The original ideea with no browser at all was actually better!
    Linux Geek
    • Unfortunately that won't work in the real world

      I first thought the way you did because in a perfect world that would be the best way to insure fairness across the board. However in real world situations competitive fairness has to be balanced by real world realities. And the real world reality is that most people would be at a loss when it came to trying to find a browser to download and install when they have no working browser to begin with. To non-technical people, the browser IS the internet, so an OS without a browser is like an OS with no networking capabilities.

      It would be nice if the ballot were programmable, so that OEMs or other software vendors could add additional browsers to the list. I think that would be as good a compromise between promoting competition and meeting customer expectations as one could expect.
      Michael Kelly
      • wouldn't help the little guy

        Unless the little guy could afford to pay the OEM for placement. In which case would they really be a little guy?
    • Bi tch, bi tch, bi tch!

      Why not just admit that your bias is so strong, that you can't even say the word Microsoft without spewing blood because your mash mouth is moving so fast, that you bite the inside of your own cheek?
      • Maybe you should really ask...

        why M$ inspires so much hatred among some...

        After all, they weren't born with it. ;)
        Wintel BSOD
  • There is a button missing

    Alan Smithie
    • Uh huh

      Right - hear hear !!
    • It's not missing

      I believe it uninstalls IE if you install another
    • It's probably hidden somewhere...

      in some obscure menu under an obscure folder in some hidden directory that M$ really doesn't want you to find.
      Wintel BSOD
  • Now, we need this implemented world-wide.

    • Let's do better than that...make it universal.

      So that OS X and Linux have to have it too!
      • Will M$ give up a big chunk of that 90% ?

        If they do then maybe they will.

        [i]So that OS X and Linux have to have it too![/i]

        AND will M$ create a version of IE for Apple or Linux?

        Answer those two questions and you got it made.
        Wintel BSOD
        • IE is possible on both macs and Linux,

          It is possible to run IE on Mac.. there's a version made for mac users. For linux users

          It's a bit more complicated then just running installing a package, that's because it was not created for linux, wine is a windows emulator.
  • I agree w/ mgp3....

    There will always be that one person who is always complaining no matter what the cause.
  • alphabetical listing?????

    "and presents browser choices alphabetically"
    I see no a alphabetical listing in this ballot maybe in German English or they changed ABCD...XYZ Order.