Microsoft Previews European Browser Choice Screen in Windows 7

Posted on February 22, 2010 11:13 AM by Rob Williams

Last summer, it became known that the European Union was forcing its way into altering Windows 7 in order to make sure Microsoft was being “fair” to all of its users. Of course, I am of the opinion that the EU simply likes to waste tax-payer money by targeting non-existent issues, but regardless of what I think, the fruits of its labor is soon to be seen in an upcoming Windows update which will be available to European Windows 7 users only.

This debacle began last June, when the EU wanted no browser at all to be installed by default in Windows 7. The solution was for Microsoft to adhere to that decision, and instead include Internet Explorer 8 on a separate disc inside the retail Windows 7 packaging. A month later, a compromise was made, and as a result, Microsoft was forced to show a selection screen that will offer a choice between the market’s primary browsers, which the user can then choose from.

I said it before, but I’ll say it again. This forceful action by the EU is absolutely absurd, and truly incomprehensible. Microsoft holds the dominant position browser-wise, sure, but why should it have to not bundle its own browser in its own operating system? People don’t purchase an operating system with features missing. They buy it to have a complete package. To actually refuse Microsoft the ability to include Internet Explorer as default in its own OS sets a major precedent as far as software is concerned. Is Apple next? It sure should be, given that it’s doing the exact same thing as Microsoft by bundling its own browser with Mac OS X.

You wouldn’t go and purchase a brand-new car from a dealership and then question the brand of tires the company chose to use, and you certainly wouldn’t see a company like Ford forced to offer purchasers a choice between all of the different parts of a car (brand-wise) just to be fair, so how is software any different? I’m the furthest thing from a Microsoft fanboy, so my backing the company up has nothing to do with that. I do find it obscenely unfair how the EU decided to handle this, however, and while I’m not one to toss insults out there, I’ll sum it up in a single word: “idiots”.

Oh, I forgot… this news post had a point. If you want to see what the browser-choice screen looks like, you can check out Microsoft’s official “On the Issues” site for a preview. On the main screen, you’ll see a randomized choice between IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and some other browser, and on the second screen, you’ll see five more (although it’s not mentioned what ones those are). Click to install, and be done with it. I’m guessing that most people will still go with Internet Explorer, just because it’s what they recognize, so I’d be hugely interested to see just how successful this proves to be.

The browser choice screen, shown below, will present you with a list of leading browsers. In keeping with our agreement with the European Commission, this list is presented in random order. You can also scroll to the right to see additional browsers, which are also presented in random order. The browsers that are listed and the content relating to them will be updated from time to time.

Source: Microsoft on the Issues

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