Microsoft Changes Browser Ballot to Appease EU

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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  • Abrahm
    This is really one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. Every single version of Windows I have owned has come with IE, that hasn't once stopped me from getting and using FireFox. Why is it that it's no issue for Apple to bundle Safari with OSX, or Ubuntu to bundle FireFox, but it's not fair for Microsoft to bundle IE? Something isn't right here.

    It's a shame that Microsoft is forced to put up with this crap.
    31
  • Anonymous
    I have an idea. If you don't like IE being coupled with Windows, maybe you could stop using Windows...
    20
  • Abrahm
    jimanjr@AbrahamEven though every version of windows had IE bundled and didn't stop YOU, it did stop a huge share of users that are unaware of what a browser even means. They want "internet" and seeing "Internet Explorer" is the closest thing to that and they click it. That's how things go for them.Now, (and answering to your second question here as well) IE has been a pain for web developers since the beginnings of time since unlike the other major browsers, it's not compliant to the web standards. This means web developers need a version of a website for "standard browsers" and one for "IE". That translates in double the work needed.Safari on the other hand (as far as I know) fully compliant to the web standards, just like Chrome. Firefox is 96% or so compliant.

    None of that is really relevant to my point though. So what if users think IE is the internet and don't know what a browser is. People like that probably don't care about alternative browsers anyways. Being standards compliant is, again, completely irrelevant to this issue as that isn't why the EU is doing this.

    This is a slippery slope. What's next? Windows Firewall must be removed or other companies firewalls must be included? We should remove Notepad and Paint also, that isn't fair to other companies.

    Again, how is it unfair to other companies that MS bundles IE with Windows, but it's completely fair for OS X to come with Safari and Ubuntu with FireFox? The difference? Windows is much more popular than OS X ro Ubuntu, and the EU can squeeze more money out of MS.
    16
  • Other Comments
  • Abrahm
    This is really one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. Every single version of Windows I have owned has come with IE, that hasn't once stopped me from getting and using FireFox. Why is it that it's no issue for Apple to bundle Safari with OSX, or Ubuntu to bundle FireFox, but it's not fair for Microsoft to bundle IE? Something isn't right here.

    It's a shame that Microsoft is forced to put up with this crap.
    31
  • cknobman
    Too bad microsoft just didnt pull the browser completely off the os and let the users have nothing with no way of downloading one either.

    Greedy union just wants money and once Microsoft complies here they will find another reason to fine so they can get more money. Then every competitor will take advantage of situation and jump on bandwagon calling for totally stupid bullsh!t things to take place(much like the one in this article).
    11
  • mitch074
    @Abrahm: when I first used Windows 95, there was no web browser: I installed Netscape. Then, IE 4 appeared: it installed itself on my nice Win95 install, screwed up Netscape, and it wouldn't remove itself - even after I put Netscape back in. Suddenly, I had popups, unrequired messages, adverts on my desktop, 5-20 mb of wasted RAM, and a desktop that would show error messages constantly (when an advert failed to run, or caused a Trident crash).

    I wanted to remove IE. I couldn't; it was 'fused with the OS'. Yay.

    Then, in 2003, I found out that the Mozilla project had made a 'light' browser, based on the Mozilla Suite's engine. It worked well, it was rather light, it did everything I needed it to... But even when I installed it, I still had to babysit IE, which WOULD NOT COME OFF and that WOULD NOT SHUT UP (it had no popup blocker). And versions 5.0,5.5,6.0,7.0 and 8.0 didn't make things any better. Still I tried: hunting for unused DLLs, removing registry settings, deleting directories... Even authoring special WinXP install CDs with as much IE components removed as possible.

    It's a shame that as a Windows user I'm forced by MS to deal with IE's crap. Luckily, I don't suffer Windows too much any more.
    -18