Microsoft and the European Union (EU) have been having a go-around over Microsoft’s making Internet Explorer the default browser for Windows users. So far, the EU has come out on top, forcing Microsoft into an antitrust settlement which compels Microsoft to give Windows users a choice of which browser to install.
The method is simple: pop up a ‘ballot’ that lists browsers options and let the user choose. While simple browser makers didn’t see it as fair. (Except, perhaps, for Apple.) The list of browsers, complete with icons, was presented alphabetically. That meant “Apple Safari” always appeared at the top of the list. Since users can be lazy, the top browser on the list has a decided advantage, which didn’t set well with other browser makers: Google, Mozilla, Opera. The other browser makers also weren’t too happy with Microsoft using and IE-formatted web page to present the choice information.
Microsoft has decided it’s better to placate the whiners than to fight them. It has revamped the choice ballot so it is in a standard web page format, so no one has to see IE during the choice process, and will randomize the list of browsers for each installation.
The real victims, naturally, are the users. EU adopters of Windows 7 were forced to manually download a browser because the ballot selector screen wasn’t ready. Imagine the horror.
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