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Pick Your Browser: Microsoft Shows Off Ballot

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 28 comments
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Which browser would you choose?

For the last year or so, Microsoft has been fighting claims from Europe that bundling Internet Explorer with Windows is anti-competitive. The EU argued that, because Windows has the most common operating system, it was unfair that Microsoft force all those users to use IE without first informing them of their options.

MS and the EU recently came to an agreement that said the software giant had to offer users a choice via a ballot screen with the top five browsers listed along with a brief description. Unfortunately, Opera and Firefox still found reason to complain. The two said that with Internet Explorer appearing first on the list, Microsoft still had an advantage.

Today, Microsoft is showing off the final revision of its browser ballot screen. Each European user will be presented with this screen when they try to connect to the Web for the first time:

Do you think it's fair that Microsoft should have to give Windows users a choice when it comes to browsers but Apple does not? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • 0 Hide
    tomvertommen , 20 February 2010 00:58

    since I am under the impression those alternatives are much better...I would say: "Lett's vote !".
  • -2 Hide
    lucky015 , 20 February 2010 01:45
    Its good that Microsoft now have to give a choice, As I'd expect that I.E being the default contributed to 80%+ of its users.

    I don't particularly see apple objecting to using a similar method on their own Operating Systems.

    To "Rab1d-BDGR"

    While I don't see apple objecting to it I don't really think they should be forced to if they don't want to. Microsoft sell an Operating System, Apple sell a Package.

    Apple do give people a choice of software, Anyone willing to make it can, All you have to do is download or purchase it.

    OS also comes back to them selling a PACKAGE not just an OS.

    And the hardware is what makes it a Mac and goes deeply into their OS compatibility.

    A Mac with Non-Mac software running on another OS with Non-Mac hardware is simply not a Mac. Stop whining about Mac's, No one is making you buy one and they are certainly not going to to take away everything that makes them what they are just for you.
  • 0 Hide
    qwoz , 20 February 2010 01:56
    I think its absolute bullcrap that they have the give the option. If Firefox wants to compete maybe they should make an operating system.
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    chronicbint , 20 February 2010 02:04
    Hardware makes a Mac? I thought they were just expensive PC's.....
  • 5 Hide
    shakari , 20 February 2010 02:14
    lucky015While I don't see apple objecting to it I don't really think they should be forced to if they don't want to. Microsoft sell an Operating System, Apple sell a Package

    Does MS really just sell an OS? You could argue that they sell a package, just as Apple does. They have the majority of things you need from the get go, sure not all of the software that comes with their os is 1st class, but its definitely good enough for that majority of people who use computers. MS is just in the position its in because its the big dog, that's the only reason.
  • 3 Hide
    Lewis57 , 20 February 2010 02:19
    Personally, people who don't know theres other options generally don't care there is other options. Ok the first thing i do just after making a clean install is put on firefox, unless the person i done it for doesn't want it. And generally the person doesn't want it because its a little unfamiliar.

    I don't think its unfair that IE comes with windows at all. I don't expect to buy a car by Lexus and expect it to be running parts from a ferrari. Ok probably a bad example as this stuff goes on all the time in car manufacturing. But you get what i'm getting at right?

    Basically, i'd expect nothing less than to buy a windows OS kitted out with windows products only...
  • 6 Hide
    Ghaz , 20 February 2010 02:21
    I think this whole thing is pretty stupid. It is their product, they are entitled to bundle with it whatever they please.
  • 3 Hide
    Confused Stu , 20 February 2010 03:33
    Completely agree with Lewis57 - I wouldn't expect Sony to complain that my new Lexus comes with a free Lexus stereo rather than a blank space so I can "choose".

    Microsoft make a product, why does anyone have the right to tell them what they can and cannot put in it? They give you something for free and there's nothing in Windows that stops you using a different browser (hello Chrome OS - I'm talking about you here!). If another browser wants to compete with IE, they need to show the average person why they would be happier using it, not complaining to the EU that their browser should be forced on people!

    Anyone who wants to use a different browser will already know about it and will download and use it. Anyone who doesn't want to use a different one should be allowed to use IE without having to jump through hoops before using it for the first time. It's just creating a problem where one doesn't need to exist.
  • 0 Hide
    ik242 , 20 February 2010 03:45
    personally, my first thought is that this is retarded. if MS makes some software, they are entitled to make it whatever they like, to include or not whatever they like and charge whatever they like. in fact i couldn't care less if any Windows OS costed $800 or more.

    the thing that is/was bad that for years you could not buy computer without paying for Miscrosoft's software. they were forcing retailers to only sell software bundled with hardware. what if i choose to run some other OS? i don't want to pay for somethign i don't use.

    if the Windows comes with browser or calculator or notepad or whatever - so what? there is a problem if OS is designed to purposely sabotage competitive products and making them look bad compared to their own version of whatever (office, web browser, anything) but if there is no trace of malicious code impeding competing products, MS is clean in my book.

    the thing that drives me nuts with MS is their constant change of file formats. cavemen made some paintings that are still interpreted pretty much the same way. for some reason MS needs to manipulate/convert my addressbook contacts, resumes, source code or whatever else I use from MS every time there is newer release on the market which is about every to years. however one just need to choose alternative product such as open source version and suddenly you don't need to worry about things like this.

    things are generally much better nowdays thanks to such competition. we can have windows that does not need reboot every 1/2 hour, or for display resolution schange or to restart network driver. this requires big thanks to European antithrust commission who changed pedigree of MS.
  • 0 Hide
    Vampyrbyte , 20 February 2010 03:45
    Apple sell their Mac OS seperate to their Mac computers. Yet their licence agreement prohibits you from running the OS on computers not manufactured by Apple.
    Apple do not sell their computers WITOUT their OS.
    Also, Mac comes with Safari as the default browser without giving an alternative.

    I think its a gross injustice that microsoft have to do this. its not like Msoft explcitly stopped you from using a diffrent browser.
  • 2 Hide
    ashumuto , 20 February 2010 04:14
    I think its a gross injustice that microsoft have to do this. its not like Msoft explcitly stopped you from using a diffrent browser.

    but they did. way back in the browser wars MS IE killed off competition by abusing it's market share in the OS market and kept itself on computers by being vital to the systems operation. It was major components of the windowing system in the older OS's.

    What we're seeing now is the fall out from those times and the backlash of every community involved in web development crying out for the circumstances that have lead us the this IE6 catatophy to never again be repeatable.

    We're seeing something similar start now with the codec fight for HTML5.
  • 0 Hide
    TheAngryKip , 20 February 2010 04:30
    If MS are being forced into giving it's customers a choice in browser, should computer OEM's also be forced to give us a choice in OS? Or the choice of no OS? Since most OEM's only offer a MS OS (at least instore, online choice tends to be better). And Apple, should they be forced to allow their off-the-shelf bought OS to run on "non-Apple" hardware?

    MS have every right to include as many of their own products with their OS as they wish, as a package. When you buy a PC off the shelf, you are not buying an OS, you are buying a package of both hardware and software. The OEM makes the decision of what to include in this package based on what the market appears to want most.

    Before we know it MS will be forced to remove Notepad, Paint, Calulator, Address Book, Minesweeper... All because they too could be anticompetetive.

    The EU argued that, because Windows has the most common operating system, it was unfair that Microsoft force all those users to use IE without first informing them of their options.

    MS does not force anyone to use IE, they simply provide it so the user has a browser right from the start, and can access the web without the hassle of having to find a CD/memory stick with a browser on. It does not make sense providing the user with someone elses browser when they have their own.

    In this day and age, a blank OS by itself wouldn't get you very far. Some Linux distro's however do provide an application that allows you to download whatever software you want and without the need of a browser. MS doesn't have a program like this so instead it provides you with all the essential tools you need right out the box (eg. browser). Neither way is wrong, and both ways have advantages and disadvantages to the user.
  • 3 Hide
    stonefisher , 20 February 2010 08:22
    TheAngryKipBefore we know it MS will be forced to remove Notepad, Paint, Calulator, Address Book, Minesweeper... All because they too could be anticompetetive.citation]

    I can hardly wait. I want a choice of minesweeper I can install :p 
  • 0 Hide
    Lord-Ilpolazzo , 20 February 2010 17:53
    This is outrageous. The people that care will change to their prefered browser, for everyone else IE is probably the easiest most suitable choice. All this will lead to is uninformed people picking some random browser and being bemused and annoyed as to why its not like every other browesr i.e. IE that they have ever used. In the end damaging the user experience. Giving people too much choice is not a good thing, all you end up with is some un-unified mess
  • 0 Hide
    Tunafish , 20 February 2010 23:19
    Most people know what a web browser is, and if they think IE is the only browser out there, let them download it :D .

    Great Move, Microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    Godiwa , 21 February 2010 01:41
    aah well I can install another browser on my windows just fine, takes what, 1 minute to find and download and install?

    back in the youth of the net there WERE no browser and you had to use a FTP program to go and download one before you could get a browser and view nice pages in 16/256 websafe colors :p 
  • 0 Hide
    reactive , 21 February 2010 13:43
    The only news worth hearing on this subject will be when Microsoft release the figures for how many people chose IE, and how many chose an alternative. And I bet the market share figures will be no different from when there was *no* choice!
  • 1 Hide
    Tunafish , 21 February 2010 15:26
    All the geeks would download a non IE web browser, and the geeks would convince their nongeeky friends to download a non IE web browser. and the schools and offices around the world won't be stuck on IE and can move on to something a bit...better.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 21 February 2010 19:38
    Why are people so daft on this subject? Microsoft cannot bundle whatever it want's, because it holds a monopoly in the OS market. Therefore, bundling whatever product with Windows is a case of antitrust law infringement in the EU. Your opinion on what the poor Microsoft can, and cannot bundle is irrelevant. It's a monopoly, so it's under different rules than Apple. Apple does not hold a monopoly in any market, and so they can bundle whatever they like, because apple bundling whatever shit they like will not change anything! Microsoft bundling IE changed the Internet and the browser market for a decade! The same goes for oft-repeated car analogy. We have so many car makers, that whether one is bundling anything does not matter for the market! We have only one OS maker that matters for the market, and that is Microsoft, and, whether you like it or not, Microsoft broke the law.

    Why is it different for other applications? It's not. Is there a competitive market for simple calculators? Is there a competitive market for notepads? There is not.
  • 0 Hide
    proletarian , 21 February 2010 22:08
    i reckon if microsoft stopped you installing other browsers or displayed intimidating security warnings about other browsers, that would be unfair.
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