Microsoft to Roll-out Browser Choice Screen Soon Page: 1

Microsoft will soon start offering the browser ballot screen to users for choosing the internet browser they wish to install on their computer as default. The move comes after Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 7 operating systems in Europe will only carry Internet Explorer ran into antitrust allegations.

Microsoft has had many brushes with the European Union and other regulatory authorities over its dominant position and allegations that it has abused this position to undermine the position of competitors. Just last year, the European Union filed antitrust charges against the company for its attempt to bundle IE with Windows in Europe.

The furor raised by this decision led to Microsoft stepping back and offering a ballot box to allow Windows users to choose the browser they wish to install on their computer. This offer led to the charges being dropped. Now Microsoft is ready to roll out the browser ballot screen and new buyers of the OS will be getting the choice instead of only IE.

Writing on Microsoft’s official blog about the browser issues, VP and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner had this to say, “Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will begin offering a “Web browser choice screen” to Internet Explorer users in Europe, as required by the European Commission. Internal testing of the choice screen is underway now. We’ll begin a limited roll-out externally next week, and expect that a full scale roll-out will begin around March 1, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. If you are an Internet Explorer user in Europe, here is what to expect.”

The first phase of the rollout begins with a test choice screen for users in UK, Belgium, and France. Users who wish to test the screen can download it for free via Windows Update. Once this first phase of testing is successfully completed, the next phase to roll out the choice screen across all of Europe will begin on March 1.

As of now, Microsoft plans to make the choice screen an automatic download option through Windows Update for XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Those users who do not receive the software via automatic download might be prompted to do so and install it. Rather than limiting it to new users, Microsoft will be offering the choice screen to all computer users that have Internet Explorer as their default browser.

For new Windows 7 users, IE comes pinned to the taskbar by default. Once they install the browser choice screen, IE will be automatically unpinned and they will have a choice of different browsers with links to download them.

Discuss in our forums