Skip to main content

EU to Test MSFT's Browser Ballot Screen Solution

In July of this year, Microsoft proposed shipping a modified version of Windows to European customers. This version would include a ballot screen that would appear when the user tried to connect to the web, allowing them to choose a browser other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The European Commission this morning released a statement detailing the satisfactory changes made to the proposal since it was first announced. The Commission went on to say that it would begin market testing the screen and on October 9, would formally invite comments from consumers, software companies, computer manufacturers and other interested parties.

Among the changes made by Microsoft is a brief explanation of what a browser is, as well as a "Tell me more" button for each browser.

EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes expressed positive opinions about the ballot screen proposal at a press conference today.

"We believe this is an answer," said Kroes. "I think this is a trustful deal we are making. There can't be a misunderstanding because it is the final result of a long discussion between Steve Ballmer and me."

Read the full statement from the European Commission here.

  • viometrix
    so they finally got their head out of their A$$ES and accepted something, which i believe was rediculous to start with. we here dont complain that we get internet explorer, we know we can still download another browser if we choose. and to think europeans call americans stupid.
    Reply
  • Jerky_san
    still don't understand why a company must offer its competitions products in its own..
    Reply
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Jerky_sanstill don't understand why a company must offer its competitions products in its own..You might try reading the summary of their decisions:
    EU - What MS did wrong and why it was bad.
    MS - Ballot, IE uninstallation, and API disclosures proposal.
    EU - Why they went with the ballot screen suggested by Microsoft instead of letting MS just drop IE entirely.
    And the latest press release by the EU is at the bottom of the article we're commenting on.
    Reply
  • tektek
    so.. you need to remove IE to make it fair for all .. so people can go out there and buy a car by searching the net.. but they cant go online via IE to search for other browsers?
    This brings up the saying
    "You need a drivers license to buy a car but any idiot can be a dad"

    Dunno how the hell that fits in..but i think we need to ban idiots from using the net till they know what its all about... get internet certified!
    Reply
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    Damn Google .doc->HTML + Tom's emotes broke the link.
    Here's the MS proposal that the EU accepted: link (.doc)

    Understand now?
    Reply
  • trinix
    Internet explorer, unlike wordpad and paint, is a full version of a browser. The browser isn't considered an essential part of the OS and there are other companies who offer alternatives and want to be able to get a fair chance too.

    With IE pre-installed it offers an unfair advantage for IE. It's irrelevant that MS has done everything in it's power to put IE as the backbone of their entire OS, they choose to do so, it's not a requirement to build an OS.

    Now these companies are getting a fair chance to compete. And everyone can get the car examples out there and say but I get a BMW chair with my BMW, but it's a different product. The OS and the browser are (or should be) independent.

    The EU's way to deal with these problems with fees and things isn't the greatest way either and luckily for once it resulted in something good. But they are right and the other browsers asked the EU to try to find a way to solve the problem for them. It's not just the EU who wanted this change.
    Reply
  • Kelavarus
    I think this whole anti-trust case is bull. Rather than forcing a company to actually advertise competitors, the EU should take it upon itself to educate the people who they think are suffering.

    Yes, IE should not form the backbone of Windows. That's all they should have to reconfigure, and make IE easy to uninstall.

    It's a shame for Microsoft that Europe forms a large part of their market. Otherwise I'd be all for the idea of yanking Microsoft products out of Europe. The EU right now is showing how money oriented it is in these cases, and at the very least if they're forcing this through, they should not be imposing fees at all.
    Reply
  • trinix
    KelavarusI think this whole anti-trust case is bull. Rather than forcing a company to actually advertise competitors, the EU should take it upon itself to educate the people who they think are suffering. Yes, IE should not form the backbone of Windows. That's all they should have to reconfigure, and make IE easy to uninstall. It's a shame for Microsoft that Europe forms a large part of their market. Otherwise I'd be all for the idea of yanking Microsoft products out of Europe. The EU right now is showing how money oriented it is in these cases, and at the very least if they're forcing this through, they should not be imposing fees at all.
    It's not about money, it's about rules. The rules dictate how the game is played. The person who makes the rules has to have a way to enforce the rules. They use money.

    Other option would be to exclude a product from the market, but that won't benefit the people who they represent. They don't have a good alternative.

    So while money isn't the most ideal system (it will force prices up as the company never pays for it), there has to be some form of punishment for breaking the rules.

    And these aren't European rules, the European Government just want to show that they have a reason to exist and they want to have fair trade within the borders of Europe. Why other countries are ignoring this and letting big companies prevent smaller companies from having a chance is a mystery, but in stead of pointing a finger at Europe and saying they are doing bad, maybe these changes will in the end help everyone.
    Reply
  • noob2222
    If these companies want to compete with thier browsers so badly, .... where are they making thier money off of us using them? They are all free, so how is it a free product can be considered for competetive commerce? Much more, how can they impose a fine on a free product.

    Man, I never want to offer anything for free simply because some idiot will sue you for it.
    Reply
  • "EU to see EU's own stpidity in action"
    Reply