Microsoft to Offer Choice of Browsers–In Europe

By  |  Friday, July 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Today, the European Commission (EC) announced that Microsoft will permit Windows 7 users in European countries to select their default browser from a ballot screen when they configure their machines.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise, because, last month, the company said it was going to strip Internet Explorer from European versions of the operating system, and was originally strongly opposed to idea of providing a ballot screen.

Microsoft was compelled to make the change as a remedy for the EC’s Microsoft vs. Opera antitrust case that began in 2007. The company had a contingency plan to ship Windows 7 in January if it was unable to reach an agreement with the EC.

The settlement will no doubt keep Windows 7 on schedule for its fall debut. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on Wednesday.

The EC has clearly learned from the failure of previous mandates. There was no demand for the Windows Media Center free edition of the OS that the EC mandated Microsoft sell in Europe. I’m glad that the ballot option was chosen over no browser at all.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Eyhk Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find an EU mandate requiring all dairy products to include a ballot for goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk.

  2. Eyhk Says:

    *Edit: EC Not EU

  3. JDoors Says:

    I was rooting for “no browser” editions but to be honest, it was mostly a “stick it to them” attitude toward the EU’s fascism that led me to root for it. However, I can understand that “No Browser Included” wouldn’t be the best way to promote a new OS.

    Choosing (or being forced) to promote your competitor’s products is stupid beyond belief, but that’s the EU for ya.

  4. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    […]the EU’s fascism[…]

    I’m taking serious offence here. When the EC, in the same line of thought, calls out for a standard in cell-phone chargers, you guys applaud it, but loosening IE’s tight grip on the internet would be fascism?
    I agree the ballot screen isn’t the best solution, but something had to be done about the artificial bond between Windows and IE (until 7 there was no way to get the darn browser of your system…)
    So even though I disagree with the solution the EC proposed, I thank them for their strong stance on this point: it is only because of this that MS enabled IE’s uninstallation in 7.

    The ballot screen doesn’t seem fair to me for MS, but it is fair towards other browsers AND consumers. At least now they get to make the choice, instead of just using what’s already on the PC, which regrettably is what 60% of all users do

  5. JDoors Says:

    @Timbermont: “When the EC, in the same line of thought, calls out for a standard in cell-phone chargers, you guys applaud it, but loosening IE’s tight grip on the internet would be fascism?”

    I get your point, but the comparison is tenuous. If every browser brand required a different OS or PC configuration, as every phone brand required a different charger (even different chargers within the SAME brand), it’d be more apt. I was unaware of the charger flap, I doubt I’d have supported the government legislating the standard, that’s best left to industry (as are so many other standards).

  6. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    But the industry DID choose the standard (even Apple supported it!): the major manufacturers sat together and choose MicroUSB as a standard, the only thing the EC did was forcing them to choose a standard, because let’s face it: it’s stupid the have a different charger for every different gadget. You save money and the environment by using a standard charger for everything.
    True, this ‘limits’ the ‘freedom’ of the manufacturers, but are you seriously claiming their right at overcharging you and producing waste is something that needs protection?

    And true, you can’t compare the browser and charger case, but I was just offended by the term fascism: you make it sound like the EC is an organisation that’s just out to oppress people and companies, which it isn’t at all: it’s trying to balance capitalistic freedom and consumer freedom and convenience.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

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  2. European Commission Market-Tests Microsoft Browser Remedy | Technologizer Says:

    […] be permitted to ship Internet Explorer 8 with Windows 7, the EC and Microsoft reached a compromise: letting customers pick which browser they want. Windows 7 users in European countries will select their default browser […]