European Windows 7 users may get browser ballot screen

In North America, Windows 7 will come pre-loaded with Internet Explorer 8, no questions asked. In Europe, things are still up in the air. Microsoft initially planned to sell a browser-free version of Win7 exclusively in the EU, but it’s come up with a new scheme that would involve a browser selection ballot screen.

The Associated Press says the European Commission has welcomed the idea, although it’s still examining Microsoft’s offer and talking it over with "other browser makers and computer companies." Here’s what Microsoft is proposing, in the AP’s words:

On the browser case, Microsoft is suggesting that users of Windows XP, Vista or its latest release Windows 7 who have Internet Explorer set as the default browser would see a Web page prompting them to pick from five of the most popular browsers in Europe. Existing Windows users would get the ballot screen from a software update.
Microsoft said the list of browsers would be reviewed twice a year based on usage data for the previous six months.

As part of the scheme, Windows would remain bundled with IE in Europe, but users and PC vendors would be free to disable the browser. Until the Commission renders a verdict, however, Microsoft plans to go ahead with the browser-less Windows 7 E.

In case you overlooked all the commotion, Microsoft came under fire from the Commission recently because of a complaint from Opera Software—the folks behind the Opera browser—about browser bundling in Windows. According to an older ComputerWorld report, the Commission said a few months back it was "considering ordering Microsoft and [PC vendors] to obligate users to choose a particular browser when setting up a new PC."

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 10 years ago

    /[

      • mattthemuppet
      • 10 years ago

      you should write a novel mate, you already have most of it done by the looks of it.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    ‘Does any EU user who doesn’t work for Opera or the Gov’t actually care?’ is my question.
    Edit: it’s like #22 said.

    • herothezero
    • 10 years ago

    q[<#19, Well you see, unlike MS, Apple doesn't (yet) have a monopoly on downloadable music which they've been abusing. <]q Oh? iTunes has nearly 90% of the market for downloadable music content; that's a monopoly. And the EU doesn't like it when uppity American companies dominate markets.

      • poulpy
      • 10 years ago

      q[

        • Grigory
        • 10 years ago

        I haven’t seen any of those supposed headlines here in the EU either.

      • mattthemuppet
      • 10 years ago

      The EU doesn’t like it when uppity EU companies dominate markets either, so don’t get so wound up about it.

    • vikramsbox
    • 10 years ago

    Its much ado over nothing in my opinion. When a user has the info to opt for a particular browser at the ballot screen, then he’ll use that browser even if IE is installed by default! Use of browsers implies an online user, and an online user will download his favorite browser and use it, whether or not IE is packed into Windows.
    Second- some update sofware (like Windows own and also some AV software like BitDefender, whose scanner I used) work only with IE enabled.
    IE packaged or not Opera and FF will have their user bases unaffected.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 10 years ago

    Please do NOT remove IE from the box. Seriously, its the fastest way to obtain Firefox from a stock install.

      • rohith10
      • 10 years ago

      ^^Seconded. 😉

    • herothezero
    • 10 years ago

    Does this mean Apple will have to start opening iTunes to the Zune and Zen?

    : crickets chirping :

    Market-rigging by European Union fiat.

    q[

      • morphine
      • 10 years ago

      Well you see, unlike MS, Apple doesn’t (yet) have a monopoly on downloadable music which they’ve been abusing.

        • WaltC
        • 10 years ago

        Sigh…I wish people would first of all understand that in order for anybody to “have a monopoly” they must have eliminated all competition to their products as a prerequisite. Only in that position does a company have the ability to then “abuse its monopoly.” As long as viable choice exists in the marketplace for products and services of a similar stripe then a “monopoly” by definition cannot exist and cannot be “abused.”

        Why? Because those customers feeling themselves abused by company A can then move to company B, or company C, D, or E, etc., to avoid such “abuse” in the future–and this fact alone effectively eliminates the prospect of a “monopoly” existing inside a given market where alternatives not only exist but abound.

        Windows is not an island that sits alone on a calm sea unchallenged and impregnable. Were that the actual state of things then there’d be no Apple, no SUN, no IBM & Red Hat Linux, etc., ad infinitum. There’d only be Windows and nothing else, and of course the version of Windows we’d all still be using would be a lot closer to Windows 3.1 than it would be to the upcoming Win7.

        Why? Because when you are indeed a monopolist in truth you have no competition and absolutely no reason to improve your products with the sort of massive R&D Microsoft is famous for–because your product would be the only game in town and the matter of “pleasing your customers” would be a moot point, since pleased or not, those customers could go nowhere else for an OS to run their computer hardware because there’d be no one else making an OS to move to.

        /[

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    Here’s my prediction. IE market will go down, Firefox will go up, Safari, Chrome and Opera will stay the same, and the guys who originally lodged the complaint (Opera) will log a new complaint saying that they were hurt by Microsoft not putting them first in the list!

    • End User
    • 10 years ago

    According to the Windows Update site “you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later”. What is the point of an IE less Windows if the core OS update mechanism forces you to install IE? I would have thought the EU would have also forced MS to make the updater a self contained app.

      • Imperor
      • 10 years ago

      Good point!
      But there should be something about that in this… Can’t think that they’d be so thoughtless! Should be easy enough to permit WU to work on several platforms, if not all. Though opening it up entirely would permit more ways of faking a license… Getting a “secure” procedure to work on more browser shouldn’t be a problem though. But it would probably require more cooperation from them…

        • Norphy
        • 10 years ago

        The Vista and W7 versions of WU are stand-alone apps, you don’t update newer versions Windows through Internet Explorer any more.

          • End User
          • 10 years ago

          And so it is! 🙂

      • BenBasson
      • 10 years ago

      Who uses Windows update since they built in seamless updating in XP, Vista and presumably Windows 7?

    • crose
    • 10 years ago

    Thank you EU. For once you made sense.. now, let’s talk agriculture subsidies…

      • Imperor
      • 10 years ago

      You mean getting rid of all of them all over the world? I hope we do!

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        A bigger problem here in Europe is the phobia of genetically modified crops.

          • poulpy
          • 10 years ago

          Sure it’s a phobia all right, what could go wrong with outdoor trials of genetically modified plants after all?
          Given the greediness level of those companies with plain normal seeds (don’t plant next year what you’ve bought last, don’t use any of the seeds that might be created by the current crop, i.e. buy buy buy) I wouldn’t trust them with much myself..

          Edit: playing with mother nature reminds me of that great Simpson episode where they have a pigeon problem that gets solved with pigeon eating lizards 🙂 :
          Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.
          Lisa: But isn’t that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we’re overrun by lizards?
          Skinner: No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They’ll wipe out the lizards.
          Lisa: But aren’t the snakes even worse?
          Skinner: Yes, but we’re prepared for that. We’ve lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.
          Lisa: But then we’re stuck with gorillas!
          Skinner: No, that’s the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            All crops undergo serious testing before they’re approved for public consumption, and genetically modified ones have even more stringent criteria. There’s simply no reason why a well tested, bigger-than-it-used-to-be potato or maize or whatever would be bad. In fact, it would be _[

            • poulpy
            • 10 years ago

            q[

            • ludi
            • 10 years ago

            /[

            • Madman
            • 10 years ago

            There is a risk that the genetically modified crops might start to spread naturally, invade the natural pollination cycle of regular crops, ruin them and stop growing after 5 generations completely.

            It’s like a problem with Dingoes in Australia… Or the new flu, we all see how well we can isolate that…

            There are risks, especially with greedy companies standing behind everything.

            But the research is very valuable.

          • Grigory
          • 10 years ago

          ^ This!

    • SpikeMeister
    • 10 years ago

    As I understand it they simply remove the Internet Exlorer executable, not the ability of Windows and Windows programs to render websites using the Internet Explorer renderer.

    EDIT: reply to #1

    • Imperor
    • 10 years ago

    IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and ?
    These are pretty much given but there are a few others and which one is #5?

      • Norphy
      • 10 years ago

      Safari probably…

        • Imperor
        • 10 years ago

        Hmm, yeah probably, wasn’t fully aware that they’d adapted to Win… Usually just overlook all that mac-crap!

    • sigher
    • 10 years ago

    So how much of the w7 GUI is tied at the hip to IE I wonder, and if you disable IE will then stupid oldfashioned software that uses IE to show in-program webpages, like help pages, finally stop working (and finally stop being made)? Because the ‘default browser’ thing in XP only does so much.

    I ask since vista is 85% XP, and w7 is re-wrapped vista right? And with XP they seem to have added a lot of core (GUI/net) stuff patched in through IE, it’s almost funny what a quilt windows is, with bits of code all the way back yo win3.1 even.

      • Imperor
      • 10 years ago

      These pages are simply http and can be displayed by any browser… No problem!

      • Vaughn
      • 10 years ago

      I ask since vista is 85% XP, and w7 is re-wrapped vista right?

      Say what?

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