A ground-breaking event is about to occur in Europe, and it's probably
not something that most will expect. It's not some sort of UFO landing
or global climate pattern; instead, it's a move by Microsoft that could
very well change the browser world
forever. Awhile back, the European
Commission found it unlawful for Microsoft to sell their operating
systems with a single, pre-built-in Web browser. Basically, the EU
argued that Microsoft wasn't giving consumers a choice in their Web
browser, while no integrated document processors or A/V editing
software was bundled (as an example).
has just announced that "internal testing of the choice
screen is underway now," and that a limited roll-out will begin next
week. By March 1st, the much-hyped "Browser Ballot" will be rolled out
across Europe. What this will do is notify Windows users that they have a choice
in their Web browser, and they can also disable or enable
Internet Explorer much more easily than that has been in the past.
According to Microsoft, the " browser choice screen will present a list
of browsers, with links to learn more about them and install them."
The first external tests will begin in the UK, Belgium and France, and
anyone in those nations who wish to test out the new screen (which
shouldn't be many, considering that anyone reading this now is probably
adept enough to know that IE isn't the best browser option) can tap
into Windows Update for the new file. The Browser Ballot screen update
will be pushed out through Windows Update for Windows XP, Vista and
Windows 7 machines, so pretty much everyone in Europe should get this.
It will also be included on new copies of the operating systems.
It should be interesting to see if other nations take notice here;
Microsoft clearly caved in order to keep a good standing in the highly
profitable European sector, and you would think that it would do the
same if similar pressure were applied elsewhere. We've seen that Sony
has started to include Google's Chrome on their VAIO notebooks (seen above), and we
think this is fantastic for the consumer. Providing a choice of having
Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera or any other free browser means that these
companies have to continue to innovate in order to maintain market
share. Over the years, Microsoft took it easy with IE innovations since
it had such a huge market share, and now it's widely viewed in the tech
community as the browser not to get. For those wondering about how the
update will change their experience, have a look below.
If you are running Internet Explorer as your default browser, here is
what you will see after the software update is installed. An
introductory screen appears first. In the screen shot below we added a
few comment bubbles to point out certain features. The introductory
screen provides context for the next screen, which shows browser
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. The screen provides three
options: Click on “Install” to install one of the listed browsers.
Click on “Tell me more” to get more information about any of the
browsers. These links (and the browser logos and associated text) are
provided by each browser vendor. Click on “Select Later” to review the
choice screen the next time you log onto your computer. This software
update will also add a shortcut to your desktop, from which you can
launch the choice screen at any time.