Feeds

Microsoft offers EU choice on Windows browsers

IE not the only fruit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
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.