Feeds

Microsoft offers EU choice on Windows browsers

IE not the only fruit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.