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Mozilla: EU's Win 7 Browser Ballot is Favoritism

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 74 comments

The Mozilla Corporation has said it is not happy with the ballot option that will allow Windows 7 users in the European Union to choose which browser they would like to use.

Mitchell Baker, the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, said last week in a blog post that the proposed settlement between the European Commission and Microsoft regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows OS could use some improvement. 

Baker argues that the agreement still offers "Internet Explorer a uniquely privileged position on Windows installations," in that even if a user does not choose IE as their default browser on the ballot screen, a shortcut is still placed on the user's desktop.

Baker continues on to say that the ballot is about downloading software and while it may help the less tech savvy to download and make an alternative browser their default, many would get lost half way through the process.

The Mozilla Chairman's third point is that IE is still included in the Windows updates system. While Baker does concede that for security reasons, it is better to include IE than have an out of date and dead piece of software on your computer, he argues that there should be a few safeguards in place to ensure IE does not use the automatic update process to ask for permission to become the default browser. For example, if IE presents itself to the user as part of an automatically triggered update process, it should close immediately after the update process completes.

Obviously, interested parties still feel there is a long way to go before the browser issues in the EU are resolved. Do you think the ballot proposal is a good idea or do you agree with the Mozilla Foundation in that it still offers Microsoft an advantage? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out Mitchell Baker's full post here.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2009 6:30 PM
    Give me a damn break. Boo f-ing hoo
  • 24 Hide
    doc70 , August 24, 2009 6:34 PM
    if IE is the default way to get updates, then it should be on your PC. I can.t recall of any other OS having to do the ballot thing to install a browser; also, what would be the next thing, have Firefox integrated in Windows? I am a heavy FF user, but they do not have a point in this case; if you build a successful OS and a web browser also, you are entitled to put it in there and give it a privileged status.
    As far as the average user getting lost in the process of installing another browser... REALLY? If one is capable of getting lost during this process, then forgive me, but they shouldn't be choosy about browsers to begin with, as they hardly know what that means.
    And, if that is a concern, then Mozilla should come up with a solution for their potential customers, like very streamlined installation and readily available tech support because it's their software...
    MS made a huge mistake by giving in to the request from the start; it's their OS and they are entitled to do whatever they want with it. I doubt the EU would have gone the MacOS way because of this issue ..
    Again , I am using FF all the time and I have had no issues installing it, so MS did not do anything to prevent me from using it ...
  • 22 Hide
    kezix_69 , August 24, 2009 6:35 PM
    I thought they decided they didn't need to make a special EU version? This is so stupid.
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2009 6:30 PM
    Give me a damn break. Boo f-ing hoo
  • 24 Hide
    doc70 , August 24, 2009 6:34 PM
    if IE is the default way to get updates, then it should be on your PC. I can.t recall of any other OS having to do the ballot thing to install a browser; also, what would be the next thing, have Firefox integrated in Windows? I am a heavy FF user, but they do not have a point in this case; if you build a successful OS and a web browser also, you are entitled to put it in there and give it a privileged status.
    As far as the average user getting lost in the process of installing another browser... REALLY? If one is capable of getting lost during this process, then forgive me, but they shouldn't be choosy about browsers to begin with, as they hardly know what that means.
    And, if that is a concern, then Mozilla should come up with a solution for their potential customers, like very streamlined installation and readily available tech support because it's their software...
    MS made a huge mistake by giving in to the request from the start; it's their OS and they are entitled to do whatever they want with it. I doubt the EU would have gone the MacOS way because of this issue ..
    Again , I am using FF all the time and I have had no issues installing it, so MS did not do anything to prevent me from using it ...
  • 22 Hide
    kezix_69 , August 24, 2009 6:35 PM
    I thought they decided they didn't need to make a special EU version? This is so stupid.
  • 21 Hide
    tayb , August 24, 2009 6:38 PM
    Wow Mozilla. Enough with the whining. Starting to sound like Opera.
  • 13 Hide
    frozenlead , August 24, 2009 6:39 PM
    Quote:
    Baker continues on to say that the ballot is about downloading software and while it may help the less tech savvy to download and make an alternative browser their default, many would get lost half way through the process.


    And this wouldn't happen during a normal install process with a common idiot at the helm?
  • 19 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2009 6:39 PM
    Personally I think the whole issue is ridiculous. Windows is a closed-source operating system, and I would only expect to find M$ applications included with it. If I want to use something other than what's included, I can then acquire and install it myself. To expect M$ to facilitate the process on any level is rather silly unless there is some kind of business partnership involved. As long as M$ doesn't try to prevent installation of 3rd-party replacements, then there shouldn't be a problem.
  • 12 Hide
    sot010174 , August 24, 2009 6:41 PM
    Isn't Windows a Microsoft product? Isn't the ballot screen enough? I mean, they sell the operating system, GIVE YOU THE OPTION of selecting your browser of choice... What next? Why market a rival product?! They should go the google way, make FirefoxOs or something...
  • 0 Hide
    doc70 , August 24, 2009 6:42 PM
    valcronThe ballot is a step in the right direction. The only real way to make this fair would be to have each browser available on the disc. Then the user can just choose which browser to install instead of having to follow directions to download it. Then have Windows update run on separate software unrelated to IE thus removing the need for IE to be on the system.

    then maybe re-write a whole good part of the OS too.../sarcasm
    Really, I would like to see MacOS bending backwards to accommodate FF or IE in their core OS , and remind you that we're talking about people that are actively censoring their clients' opinions/complaints on forums...
    Bottom line is, MS had to use an internet client to do the updates and, guess what, they already had one built by themselves...go figure that one out.
  • -9 Hide
    valcron , August 24, 2009 6:45 PM
    I love how people vote me down for pointing out that the Ballot is a step in the right direction. I never said i agreed with it just that it was a step closer to being fair. Which is what Microsoft is trying to do.

    Personally I don't think they should have to even mention those other browsers. IE should be a choice to install not a requirement but Microsoft should not have to advertise their competitors browsers.
  • 4 Hide
    Sicundercover , August 24, 2009 6:48 PM
    Im pretty sure any one "savvy" enough to install their OS alone can delete a shortcut and pin another from their programs menu. People who arnt "Tech Savvy" will most likely buy from a OEM and already have whatever the OEM determines installed. If they are upgrading then it will also leave their previous browser as main and its shortcut in place.
  • 22 Hide
    tenor77 , August 24, 2009 6:50 PM
    valcronThe ballot is a step in the right direction. The only real way to make this fair would be to have each browser available on the disc. Then the user can just choose which browser to install instead of having to follow directions to download it. Then have Windows update run on separate software unrelated to IE thus removing the need for IE to be on the system.


    So it's not enough to give them the option and make them aware, but now you think they should have their competetors software on the disk? Maybe they should have Mac commercials run during the install?
  • 5 Hide
    sot010174 , August 24, 2009 6:50 PM
    and another thing: ppl who are able to download firefox are smart enough to just install it at the first opportunity. I really don't mind my copy of Win7 comming with IE as default browser. Ill just download FF and install all my addons and set it as default browser. No harm done from MSFT.

    Cheers.
  • 0 Hide
    rcmaniac25 , August 24, 2009 6:59 PM
    I have met people who would get lost trying to install something like a browser. How? I don't know but they have issues figuring out how to get music on their iPods if they can't just plug it in and have it load all the music they have on their iPods.

    This ballet screen, which I find stupid but can't do much about it, should download the software off the internet otherwise the software would be out of date quickly. I love how the EU didn't think "Wait, what if there is an update?" The next lawsuit is probably going to be because someone's computer crashed when the browser they installed was used to hack into their computer because it wasn't up to date.
  • 0 Hide
    TwoDigital , August 24, 2009 7:14 PM
    Mozilla... why do you CARE so much which free Internet browser the EU folks use? They whine with the ballot screen, they whine when NO browser at all is planned for inclusion. How about Microsoft just install Chrome and change the Windows API so your browser can't be installed at all? That's not fair I guess since Firefox is a good browser despite your crappy politics....
  • 6 Hide
    deerhound , August 24, 2009 7:16 PM
    Keep whining Mozilla, and I'll have to start using IE.
  • 1 Hide
    davisorle , August 24, 2009 7:18 PM
    lol they need to stop bitching. When the "Chairman" of Mozilla makes his own OS and he is forced to not even have his own firefox as standard browser then he would have somethign better to stuff his mouth with. Just for this mi officially removing Firefox from my pc after I post this even if i use it from times to times. F them.
  • -7 Hide
    valcron , August 24, 2009 7:26 PM
    tenor77So it's not enough to give them the option and make them aware, but now you think they should have their competetors software on the disk? Maybe they should have Mac commercials run during the install?


    Reading Comprehension FTW. Same with everyone else reading my comment. Although i can see it being a little ambiguous so I don't blame you. Except that you didn't read my post later on down the line.

    Anyhow that post was strictly on the topic of Microsoft's attempts to be fair and how they can go about it. It was in no way my opinion of the situation. I was't trying to let my emotions get in the way like almost every other poster does in the comments section. MY personally opinion is that IE should not be required (in other words, I shouldn't be forced to have it on my system if I don't want it, right now its required, and even if you uninstall all it does is remove the shortcut as its needed for other applications) but Microsoft should not have to advertise their competitors either. My last post here. Hopefully people can comprehend this one.
  • 2 Hide
    audioee , August 24, 2009 7:26 PM
    I think MS should be able to charge all the other browser companies for advertising their products on the ballot screen.

    What is next a ballot screen for all the media players?

    I do think that MS needs to make the OS install a bit more user friendly. I would like to see big named icons for all the add-ons that are installed, instead of having to drill down through the menus and click tiny check boxes.

    I will also start the Apple attacks, I just read today the next OSX will have Quicktime Pro included for free. Why isn't the EU going after Apple for this. Apple is acting like MS.

    It is item 5 in the following article.
  • 1 Hide
    audioee , August 24, 2009 7:27 PM
    Sorry like did not post.

    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090824/tc_infoworld/88573
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