Feeds

Microsoft offers EU choice on Windows browsers

IE not the only fruit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft has offered to let European PC customers pick the browser they want running on Windows PCs, hoping to placate anti-trust regulators.

Users will be able to pick one of five most popular browsers via a proposed Ballot Screen, which will be available for download to Windows Vista and Windows XP via software update, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also plans to ship the screen with future releases of Windows. That means that if Microsoft's offer is accepted by the European Union regulators, Windows 7 will be Microsoft's first client operating system that lets users chose a browser at the start rather than work only with Internet Explorer. Windows 7 will still ship with Microsoft's own browser, IE.

The five browsers offered will be determined by averaging monthly use-share date for the past six months.

Once a browser is picked, an install link will connect the user to the browser manufacturer's site to begin download, Microsoft said.

The offer is part of package of proposals for EU regulators, who this year said Microsoft had violated anti-trust law by integrating Windows with IE.

Microsoft has also promised a mechanism for PC manufacturers and users in the EU to turn off its browser, IE, and to make IE unavailable from launch.

IE would not be turned on through anything other than user action, and there won't be any icons, links, or short cuts in Windows to download or install the browser.

A major hurdle to letting other browsers work with features in Windows has been the close degree of integration between IE and the operating system. Microsoft said it'll disclose all the Windows APIs that IE relies on in a "complete, accurate and timely manner" so rival browsers are not at a competitive disadvantage to Microsoft.

Furthermore, Microsoft said, OEMs are free to develop, install and distribute their own choice of browser, promising it wouldn't retaliate or terminate an OEM's Windows license without first giving written notice of the reasons of any cancellation

EU anti-trust regulators welcomed this latest settlement proposal from Microsoft and noted it was the result of "extensive" discussions. The Commission refrained from further comment.

The settlement follows an earlier offer from Microsoft to simply remove IE from Windows 7, in a move it said was designed to comply with EU antitrust law but that should have been seen more as an attempt to exert pressure on regulators from disgruntled consumers and OEMs. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.