Microsoft To Give EU Win7 Buyers 'Choice' Of Web Browser

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 will 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?