European Commission Market-Tests Microsoft Browser Remedy

By  |  Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Opera BoxWhen the European Commission (EC) mandated that Microsoft ship Windows XP sans Windows Media Player, the final product proved unpopular with consumers. For Windows 7, the issue is Internet Explorer, and a more diligent EC announced today that it is market-testing its remedy for effectiveness.

After repeatedly wrangling with Microsoft over whether the company would 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 from a ballot screen that will be pushed for customers to configure via Windows Update.

The ballot features a choice of 12 browsers; browsers are listed alphabetically by vendor, and are sorted into groups according to their popularity. Microsoft provides introductory information for each option. You can see a screen shot of the ballot screen here.

Further action could be taken against Microsoft pending the EC’s findings in the Opera antitrust case. Opera indicated today that more work was needed for the ballot remedy to become acceptable.

I’d be interested in knowing what the users ultimately do, and would like to see data about installations to see if it jives with what is being reported on the Web. Firefox 3 has surpassed IE 7’s market share in Europe, but who’s to say that the remedy isn’t effective if Internet Explorer 8 is the most popular choice. As long as people are happy with the process and it is fair, the results really don’t matter.

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