Feeds

Microsoft spits out 'browser choice' update to appease EC antitrust probe

Surf's up as Google, Apple, Mozilla wash ashore in Windows

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft will begin asking European Union citizens which web browser they wish to use on Windows-based computers from today.

The software giant is giving its customers a choice of 12 surfing tools - including its own Internet Explorer browser - after agreeing a deal with the European Commission that has been probing Microsoft's business practices.

Redmond is pumping out a software update via its Windows security patches website. Users can expect to see a pop-up window prompting them to pick which browser they want to set as default on their PCs.

Norwegian browser maker Opera Software, which first brought the complaint against Microsoft tying Internet Explorer to Windows to the EC in December 2007, is included in the line-up. Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari are also offered in Microsoft's makeshift ballot.

Whether millions of Europeans will take up the offer remains to be seen, however.

According to a poll by Mozilla last week, very few web surfers are aware of the new EC-imposed option to Windows users. And many non-IT-savvy-types might altogether overlook the pop-up screen and simply carry on with Internet Explorer as their default browser.

The open source organisation conducted a survey among 6,000 Europeans in France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Poland and Spain last week in conjunction with Ipsos MORI and published its findings on Friday.

"The results... indicate that nearly three quarters (between 70 and 81 percent) of internet users in these countries are not aware of the browser choice screen coming their way," claimed Mozilla.

Microsoft readied the update for XP, Vista and Windows 7 users. The pop-up window will only appear on screens where users have IE set as their default browser. So the ballot box won't be made available to surfers using, say, Firefox or Safari on their Windows OS.

According to the latest internet browser market stats from NetApplications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer pulled in more than 61 per cent of surfers last month.

Firefox trailed with a respectable 24 per cent, followed by Chrome with over five per cent, Safari with more than four per cent, and Opera hoovering up two per cent of the market. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.