back to article Microsoft's browser ballot bodge gets the nod

Microsoft is a step nearer to settling a large part of its ongoing disagreements with the European Commission - the regulators have agreed to market-test Microsoft's suggested solution to browser bundling. The software giant offered to include a ballot screen which would show users a choice of possible browsers when a machine …


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  1. jeffrey 1

    Answers on a postcard

    who can name the 6th -> 12th most popular bowsers on windows platforms? (versions of the same thing like ie6,ie7,ie8 don't count). Seriously I got stuck after 5

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Make sure

    IE isn't needed for updates, I am sick of clicking windows update and firefox is redirected to a "sorry you can't use your safe and secure browser, please dredge the programs directory and find that annoying shortcut you deleted years ago."


  3. Iggle Piggle

    Why stop at the browser?

    I know this argument has been put forward before but I'll say it again. I really do not see why this has to be done. Sure Microsoft has an advantage when it comes to the browser installed on new systems that run it's operating system, but they also have an advantage when it comes to which calculator is used, which text editor is used, etc.

    And why does this pettiness only seem to apply to Microsoft? I was not asked which browser I'd like when I installed Ubuntu. Nor do I seem to have any choice on my Wii. I'm not sure what is available for an iPhone but I'd bet that Apple has a lot to say about it.

  4. Tom 15

    I'm not even convinced...

    I'm not even sure that there are 12 browsers used across Europe?

  5. Steve 48
    Thumb Down

    Waste of time...

    Clearly the clueless morons that run the EU don't understand that supplying IE pre-installed doesn't prevent users from choosing to install a different browser, which is more than can be said for buying cars. If I buy a Ford, I can't ask them to fit a Mercedes odometer display - why should Windows be any different - especially as you are not paying for IE.

  6. Test Man

    @Doc Dish

    You are incredibly out of date because Microsoft has already stopped using IE for updates back in 2007 when Vista was released. Windows 7 also doesn't use IE for updates. No need to do it for XP, as it's already in Extended Support so no changes or additions to existing functions and it's out of support in roughly 3-5 years anyway.

  7. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge


    "It would empower all current and future users of Windows in Europe to choose which browser they wished to use".

    Microsoft haven't stopped anyone installing or using their choice of browser - MS's dodgy shenanigans of crippling competing apps years ago don't currently apply AFAIK.

  8. Gordon is not a Moron


    anyone want to bet that Opera's next bitch-fest will be order the possible choices are displayed?

    I'm guessing they want to go with lowest market share first to "give the little guys a chance", or maybe on name length of browser, with the shortest being first putting 'Opera' way above 'Internet Explorer'.

    cynic? moi?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @Iggle Piggle

    "why does this pettiness only seem to apply to Microsoft?"

    Er, because they're the only company who has been [convicted of] abusing a monopoly position to stifle competition?

  10. Ben Ryves

    @Doc Dish

    Just enable automatic updates? That doesn't require IE at all.

    Hunting through my server logs I can only find a handful of browsers other than the obvious six or seven (IE, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, Mozilla, Chrome) and most of them are not running on Windows (the usual Linux suspects plus iBrowse on the Amiga, Nokia Browser on mobiles etc). I'd be hard pressed to find 12.

  11. andy gibson

    @ doc dish

    Are you honestly saying there is no need to bother updating XP because its out of support in 3-5 years? You need to get out of your bedroom and into the real world where XP is dominant and will be for some years to come.

    My enterprise isn't alone in sticking with XP because the machines and the applications we use don't requite Vista, 7 and the more powerful PC it will require.

  12. Lee 13

    and our survey says

    that most people will chose the first one on the list.

    Now where does this leave the consumer? The serious noobs and grandmas who have no clue? They are neither worse or better off. They will never know this happened.

    But everyone's still doing bionic backflips whilst they're not looking.

    And all this for "free" software. All these browsers are free. As in beer.

    Why not spend this effort in formalising the standards and making each browser behave identically? Or is the EU really giving the user the chance for them to chose their own document object model?

  13. caerphoto

    Re: Waste of time...

    "supplying IE pre-installed doesn't prevent users from choosing to install a different browser"

    You don't get it. The vast majority of Windows users don't even know they can change the browser. Most of them don't even know what a browser is. To them, that blue 'e' icon on their desktop IS the internet, thus they will never change their browser for something more secure/advanced/whatever because they don't know they can.

  14. The Indomitable Gall

    @Iggle Piggle

    "why does this pettiness only seem to apply to Microsoft?"

    Because Microsoft's own browser has long been non-compliant with relevant standards. Their server software has long been non-compliant with relevant standards. Their web-design software has long been non-compliant with relevant standards.

    Some have suggested that this is an active policy of "the web is Windows". Meanwhile, Opera is one of the best standards-compliant browsers around, so putting that as the only choice on your Wii doesn't encourage developers to work for a closed system. Safari's not bad either, so your iPhone's OK too.

    "The web is Windows" damages us all, because we all want to be freed from our PCs (hence the rise of iPhone, Wii etc browsing).

  15. Test Man

    @andy gibson

    I think you're the one who needs to get out of your bedroom into the real world as businesses aren't actually hobbled by XP using IE to update, seeing as they have lots of other solutions to update PCs, some require IE and some don't and they all work fine. Therefore, XP doesn't need updating (and potentially breaking a ton of things), especially as it's on the way out and later OSes are the ones grabbing more market share as time goes on.

  16. RobL

    For god's sake EU wasters....

    You're ELEVEN years too late. Microsoft using unfair practices to anihilate Netscape was *last century*.

    It is of no consequence any more - you are just far far too late.

    Oh - and - cock-a-doodle-do - don't Apple bundle Safari with the Mac? Don't phone vendors bundle their choice of OS with the phone?

  17. Anonymous Hero

    @The Indomitable Gall

    " Their server software has long been non-compliant with relevant standards."

    Citation need I think before we listen to this rubbish. Exactly where does IIS6/7 fail to comply with "relevant standards"?

    Sounds like Linux/Apple Fanboi FUD to me.

  18. MrPatrick

    Butt surely...

    ....when I buy a Mac I'm limited to my choice of OS. What about when I buy a Nokia, I'm stuck with their crappy T9 system, how about my Playstation, they don't allow me to play Xbox games?

    Its not like browser is even a thing that you pay for. If MS were blocking the use of 3rd party-paid-for products then I could understand this anti competition stuff but there is no barrier to anyone who'd want a third party system.

    I just don't understand why MS are getting done for this but Apple are allowed to limit access to their iphones via the app store and don't get done for it?

  19. whiteafrican
    Thumb Down

    @The Indomitable Gall

    No. This has nothing to do with web standards or your preference for Opera over IE. This is solely to do with EC competition law and the argument over whether Microsoft has used its monopoly in the OS market to unfairly gain market share in the browser market. The fact that MS products may not comply with whatever standard you would like them to comply with is irrelevant.

  20. Lewis Mettler 1

    totally ineffective

    If there is one certain thought it is that if Brad Smith thinks it is a good idea, it will be ineffective.

    The truth remains that all consumers are forced to buy IE. That does not change. Microsoft's revenue model is totally and completely unaffected.

    The market remains ruined for everyone else leaving them with the only option of giving away their alternatives or not distribute at all.

    Only idiots think that solves the antitrust violations of Microsoft. Fools and idiots always point themselves out.

    What the EU is doing will do nothing to essure a fair and open marketplace for browsers. Absolutely nothing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too complicated

    The EC is making things a lot harder than necessary here. What they aim for is increased competition. If so, why not simply deny products (hardware and software) which enjoy a market share higher than X% the privilege of being bundled with other products. That way they'd have one rule that address the problem of market dominance by MS/Intel products with no need for detailed interference such as this. Many people might give a second thought to their choice of software once the real cost is known, and not hidden from the market through obscure OEM deals.

  22. SilverWave

    OK Shoot Me - But this a pretty good deal.

    The top 5 installed as is IE would be fairer.

    5 years isn't long enough.

    But other than those 2 points - its about 90%.

    Take it and move on :)

  23. TeeCee Gold badge


    "......unfairly gain market share in the browser market."

    You see, there's the bit I have a real problem with.

    Exactly what f***ing "market" is this? They're all bloody free! Now, I have absolutely no objection whatsoever to people giving me free stuff. I have no objection to lots of people touting their free thing as the best. But when the willy-waving of "more people are using our free thing than your free thing" gets so serious that it results in a legal shitfight I reckon that somebody somewhere's lost the plot.

    The result here is that there is one browser that I will not and will never give houseroom to, Opera. Not because it's crap, but purely because their continuous shrill wingeing about their terribly short willy pisses me off and I'd like to see 'em FOAD.

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