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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Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Socnom
    **Breaking News**

    This just in. The EU is going after Microsoft again stating, "Because Windows is the dominant OS, we will force Microsoft to incorporate a ballot of other OSs. It is only fair to the consumer if we make them do that." Umm.. bro, since when is one company responsible for the advertising/marketing of their competitor? Not to mention the amount of support tickets/calls Microsoft will get when one of those other Browsers crash.
    It seems Microsoft will not be killed by one single blow, but dismantled with one small punch after the other.

    This comment brought to you through Firefox.
  • rean24
    Next Target will be
    1) Windows Firewall .
    2) Windows Free Anti-Virus

    Anymore to be added to this list...
  • @Abraham

    Even 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 is (as far as I know) fully compliant to the web standards, just like Chrome. Firefox is 96% or so compliant.
  • matt87_50
    yeah, thats pretty stupid that it appears inside an IE8 window.
  • I have an idea. If you don't like IE being coupled with Windows, maybe you could stop using Windows...
  • rtfm
    Wish the EU would just F**k off. So much wasted litigation (I'm in the UK). Are they going after Apple for not giving a browser choice? Nooo? The EU stinks, this is not free trade.

    People of the various countries are being forced into this big (unelected) EU shit pile super state when all (most) people want is free trade and travel. Vote UKIP .

    /end of political rant
  • icepick314
    i would have pulled MS out of entire EU...loss profit be DAMMED!!!

    see how EU would survive without anything MS.....

    they probably can get away using Linux or Apple but it'll be one hell of change no one would want to go through.....