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Microsoft Changes Browser Ballot to Appease EU

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments
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Who's on first?

Microsoft's been through an Olympic-sized pool of hot water for its bundling of Internet Explorer in with Windows.

In its efforts to appease the powers that be in the European Commission, Microsoft agreed to a browser ballot that would have users select which browser he or she would like to install in his or her system. But competitors such as Mozilla didn't like that Microsoft could place Internet Explorer as the first choice (reading from left to right) as well as display the ballot screen inside an Internet Explorer window.

Now, according to Computerworld, Microsoft is being pressured to change the ballot  screen in order to give more even footing to all other browser choices. The major change includes a randomization of the order in which the browsers line up and that the ballot won't be appearing inside an IE8 window.

Such measures may be approved by European Union antitrust regulators as early as December 15.

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  • 0 Hide
    Hammeh , 9 December 2009 21:49
    Oh come on get a life!!! If you are going to choose a different browser just pick it instead of complaining about IE being first. NO ONE REALLY CARES
  • 1 Hide
    mi1ez , 9 December 2009 21:57
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but haven't we had it for nigh on 2 months already?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , 9 December 2009 22:17
    This is totally ridiculous, if you want a bigger share of the browser market put some effort into advertising your browser instead of whining about how dominant IE is.
  • 0 Hide
    Fox Montage , 9 December 2009 22:19
    I rarely feel the rage enough to flame-post, but this particular topic really pisses me off.
    When WILL they be happy?
  • 0 Hide
    Clintonio , 9 December 2009 22:34
    I'm glad they're doing this, it'll at least mean we get more jumble up browser usage and hopefully more acknowledgement of the existence of alternates.

    I don't see why everyone is getting so worked up about this. It's good for promoting competition. Due to the nature of inbuilt browsers and the ignorance of the masses, IE dominated for too long, no matter how good quality they make browsers, some people won't even realise they're shooting themselves, and the rest of the web community, in the foot. Hence the EU feels the need to step in. Makes sense to me.
  • -1 Hide
    Fox Montage , 9 December 2009 22:53
    ClintonioI'm glad they're doing this, it'll at least mean we get more jumble up browser usage and hopefully more acknowledgement of the existence of alternates.I don't see why everyone is getting so worked up about this. It's good for promoting competition. Due to the nature of inbuilt browsers and the ignorance of the masses, IE dominated for too long, no matter how good quality they make browsers, some people won't even realise they're shooting themselves, and the rest of the web community, in the foot. Hence the EU feels the need to step in. Makes sense to me.


    And would you like the EU hold your hand while you cross the street, and make sure you're feeding yourself properly, and take care of you until you are no longer able to take care of yourself?

    This kills competiton, wastes time, and all with the view of opening up a completely private-sector market. I'm angry due to the fact that this is what our Euro-leaders do with their time, their power, and our money.

    Ok great, other browsers wont have to compete anymore, because the EU will do all the competing for them!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 9 December 2009 23:03
    Heres my tuppence...again.

    If someone is so desperate not to use IE then they can spend the extra 30 seconds downloading the browser of their choosing. For everyone else IE will suffice until they decide to change.
  • 0 Hide
    will_chellam , 10 December 2009 01:15
    Well, my european (uk version) of windows 7 professional installed nice and quick with no browser ballot, which makes me happy...

    like they said above - if it bothers you that much sort it out yourself.

    If I was microsoft I'd just market windows as an all-in-one product and make it impossible to install *any* software at all on it, include office, internet explorer and media player and instantly destroy all the other businesses....

    Who are the EU to say what should be included, where do you stop - Is microsoft forcing their GUI ontop of the kernel anti-competititive?

    Imagine the furore if your brand new windows pc came with a C:\ prompt and required you to use command-lines to install your 3rd party wifi, connect to your 3rd party router (after buying your 3rd party text editor to modify the autoexec.bat) before being able to download your gui and browser of choice....

    The other thing that really pisses me off is why hasnt the same thing happened to apple?
  • -1 Hide
    silver565 , 10 December 2009 02:33
    What a load of rubbish. The EU needs to eat a brick
  • 1 Hide
    gregor , 10 December 2009 02:48
    ClintonioI'm glad they're doing this, it'll at least mean we get more jumble up browser usage and hopefully more acknowledgement of the existence of alternates.I don't see why everyone is getting so worked up about this. It's good for promoting competition. Due to the nature of inbuilt browsers and the ignorance of the masses, IE dominated for too long, no matter how good quality they make browsers, some people won't even realise they're shooting themselves, and the rest of the web community, in the foot. Hence the EU feels the need to step in. Makes sense to me.

    QFT

    To the others who are complaining about this, would you prefer there to be only IE and no other browsers? Bet that would make for a fantastic web experience, just like having Intel as the only chip manufacturer would be great for PC's.
    Use a monopoly to gain a monopoly with another of your products (and squash opposition) and you get this, well deserved imo, treatment.
  • 0 Hide
    silver565 , 10 December 2009 02:57
    IE shipping with windows... what is wrong with that?

    Toyota put their own stereos in their cars what is wrong with that?

    How about we just ship a disc with all new pc's giving the user a choice to install windows or ubuntu huh?

    IF YOU make a product why should you be told how to make it and what goes in it? The EU are the only people kicking up a fuss about this.
  • 1 Hide
    gregor , 10 December 2009 05:16
    here we go again.
    Toyota probably dont even make their own stereos for one thing.
    Anti competitive behaviour is illegal, MS were convicted in both the US and EU simple as that. Simply by being on 90%+ of computers means they cant do what they want, and if you think they should be able to then you are, to put it bluntly, ignorant. Competition drives innovation, if you think its ok for ms to kill off the competition with illegal business practices then you're just plain wrong.
  • -1 Hide
    silver565 , 10 December 2009 06:24
    I just would like you to explain to me how selling windows with a microsoft product is killing competition. There is nothing stopping mozilla advertising etc. Microsoft ship their product with their browser so THEIR users can use the internet. I use windows with firefox... Guess how i got it?

    Next we'll be seeing windows without paint because gimp got upset, or perhaps apple without something because someone else had a cry.

    Ignorant? I'm a 90% linux user who has no problem with IE at all, Quite a bold statement for a fourm don't you think?


    If you make a brilliant product then it will make it's way into the industry on it's own, not by some court case.

    I love it how most of europe and america sue each other just because they can(take apple havibg a go at woolworths for example). Thank god for the south pacific and being relaxed.
  • 0 Hide
    gregor , 10 December 2009 17:31
    Silver, because they bundled it they pretty much automatically got a monopoly with IE. The majority of users will just use whatever was with the OS, no need to have a brilliant product (IE is far from brilliant IMO). Also once they have a monopoly they go for the lockin, IE only sites for instance, what happened the web standards??

    Why shouldnt BT be able to give their ISP an advantage because they own the infrastructure? (BTW not sure if BT still own the infrastructure or not in the UK, I dont live there) Maybe make it so competing ISP's customers got slower speed, or dropouts?
  • 0 Hide
    Shining_Lizard , 11 December 2009 15:26
    Once again, the EU is interfering with what really shouldn't concern them.

    Sure, Windows own a substantial amount of the market share. Sure, competition breeds innovation, and hence leads to positive improvements to the market as a whole. But really, this is something I feel that the EU do not have a right to meddle with. They're basically holding our hands in something as benign as choosing a web browser, and I feel there is no need. Moreover, they are telling a business how to do business. I don't see how bundling *your* browser with *your* operating system is a problem, not to mention 'illegal'.

    Besides, this can only confuse the informed user, who thinks that Internet Explorer is an ubiquitous part of the World Wide Web. They will either become confused at what Firefox, Safari etc. are supposed to be, or they will simply select IE anyway because it is, as I said, seen as ubiquitous, or simply do not care about alternatives. This is particularly true for an older, less-tech savvy generation who do not care about what browser they use so long as they can get online.

    There must also be an element of fair play here- if the EU force this upon Microsoft, they must also force it upon Apple in order to appear fair, surely?
  • 0 Hide
    Shining_Lizard , 11 December 2009 15:37
    *By "informed" I meant "uninformed".