Pro-choice advocates and IE haters alike have been pushing to get
Microsoft's own Internet browser
exempted from instances of Windows for
years now. Many argue that it's a violation of anti-trust principles,
suggesting that there's really no choice of browser when you buy a copy
of Windows. Never mind that Apple does the same thing with its OS X
systems by including its own Safari
, but we digress. Particularly
across the pond, Microsoft has caught an extraordinary amount of
flack--so much, in fact, that it seems Microsoft is caving and changing
its stance on the matter.
European Union regulators have informed the world that Microsoft
give Windows 7 buyers a choice of Web browser when it goes on sale in
that region, a move that's being made in order to sidestep possible
anti-trust fines. As we mentioned, the European Commission had charged
the software giant with "monopoly abuse for tying the Internet Explorer
browser to the Windows
operating system installed on most of the world's desktop computers."
Of course, this argument seems silly in a way. After all, how is one to
download Firefox or Chrome if IE isn't on the system to begin with.
At any rate, the European versions of Windows 7 will reportedly let
users select a browser from several offered on a so-call 'ballot
screen.' IE will still be included on the install disc, but users would
be able to easily disable it when they installed the OS. Officials
steaming over in the EU didn't say if this announcement would be enough
to settle ongoing anti-trust action against Microsoft, but they have
stated that they appreciate the gesture and do believe that it helps
bring about true consumer choice. Interestingly, we kind of doubt
Microsoft will give its North American users this same "choice," even
though it'd be a nice gesture here on this side of the world too. Any
lawyers feel like putting a little pressure on the 800 pound gorilla?