Microsoft to allow users choice of browser

  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Microsoft is to release an update today which will give users in Europe the choice of web browser. This comes after a recent deal with the EU which accused Microsoft of abusing it's market position.

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Microsoft is to ask millions of users across Europe if they want to use a web browser other than its own.

Windows users will be offered the choice as part of a deal Microsoft struck with the European Commission.

The agreement resolves a long-running case in which the software giant was accused of abusing its market position.

A pop-up window will prompt people to choose and install one of 12 different browsers or let them stick with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The browser choice software will be delivered from Monday as part of the Windows Update system Microsoft usually uses to distribute security patches.

Although the update has been prepared for Windows XP, Vista and 7, not all users will see it.

It will not pop up in front of those who already run a different default browser, such as Firefox, Safari or Chrome.

Users guaranteed to see it are those that have Internet Explorer (IE) set as their default browser and have taken the option to let Windows automatically download and install updates.

Those that have this option turned off will be prompted to download, install and run the software.

Those that have automatic updates turned off can go to the Windows Update site and run a "Check For Updates" to get it.

When it runs, the software will present users with a window that says in bold text "An important choice to make: your browser". It also asks people to ensure they are connected to the internet.

Once the "OK" button is clicked, they will see a screen that lists the 12 browsers available.

The Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer browsers are randomly ordered on the first section of this screen.

Another seven browsers, namely Sleipnir, Green Browser, Maxthon, Avant, Flock, K-meleon, and Slim, will be randomly ordered on the rest of the screen. They can be viewed by scrolling sideways.

Below each listing will be a button giving more information. Another button lets users install one of the browsers.

Alternatively, users can opt to ignore the selection and make a choice later. If they do this a shortcut icon will appear on the Windows desktop that gives access to the browser choice window at any time.

The choice screen will keep appearing until a user has made a choice.

Anyone wanting to stick with IE will be prompted to upgrade to the latest version.

Microsoft said that Windows 7 users who have fixed or "pinned" IE to their taskbar will have it unpinned by the update. Right clicking the icon for any browser will let users pin that program to the taskbar.

It is not yet clear what effect the browser choice will have on Internet Explorer's market share.

Although exact estimates are hard to find, web stats firm Net Applications said IE is used by 62% market share. Its closest rival is Firefox at 24%.

Some fear the browser choice system will confuse people. Already some who have been confronted with the choice screen have been worried that their machine has been taken over or fallen victim to a virus.


Source: BBC News

Hopefully this is the first sign of the end of Internet Explorer.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Here's a picture of the screen the commission finally signed off on.

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  • jflynn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't get it. Is there something within MS in Europe that blocks the use of Firefox or Opera or.......

Your buying software from MS, they are going to push MS stuff!

Sometimes I really hate people!!!
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

To be honest, i wouldn't be surprised if it is the European follow up from when the US government took action against Microsoft years ago for pretty much the same reason before your government dropped it.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just as i left that reply i got the pop up notifying me of updates available. It is quite interesting because what the article fails to mention is that it is an-ticked optional update and not mandatory.
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

yeah.. I noticed that, it was not a mandatory update when I was updating my wifes PC.. so they really are not pushing it then. but at the end of the day, I suppose that sort of update most companies would prefer the user not having the choice ?

Also have you noticed the IE adverts on TV ?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

genux wrote:
yeah.. I noticed that, it was not a mandatory update when I was updating my wifes PC.. so they really are not pushing it then. but at the end of the day, I suppose that sort of update most companies would prefer the user not having the choice ?

Also have you noticed the IE adverts on TV ?


Not watched a whole lot of TV lately so unfortunately not.
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

They are quite funny, mainly to do hiding information from another user of your browsing habits (if you are buying a gift for your wife, or locking down the pc at set times from kids).

How do you find IE8 compared to FF / Chrome etc ?
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I honestly have not tried it yet. I lost interest in IE years ago, so any new releases just put me off.

I used to use FF for years until about a month ago where i thought i'd give Chrome a go. I have to admit to liking Chrome more than i do FF. Firefox lately was starting to be a bit more buggy, so far Chrome has been fantastic and appears to be alot faster.
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Must have to say that when I tried out chrome it was very quick !! It is based on khtml (from memory)

do you have any cool add Ons for chrome browser to check out ?
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Not yet. Not really had the time to check out the add ons. Will have a look sometime soon.

Any you recommend?
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

nah.. not as yet.. really like the web developer toolbar in FF.. and as yet have not found a replacement in Chrome :(
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

From what I have read on the chrome developers site that the API needs to be updated for something similar for the FF web developer addon because FF allows JavaScript whereas the chrome addon are not allowed :(

but there is a link Ctrl shift f (I think) that does something of a view source in graphical fashion

have you found any add Ons as yet?
  • bastones
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Post 3+ Months Ago

To be honest I don't particularly agree that Microsoft should be penalised for choosing what they do with their own software, whether that's bundling IE and forcing manufacturers not to bundle other browsers, if that was the case a long time ago. Sure, bundling IE and not other browsers was unfair, when Netscape was originally bundled (as far as I know), years and years ago in the early days of Windows; but I guess Microsoft, back then, took advantage of its market position to push out its own browser product, and with that the ability to destroy Netscape without doing anything much competitive; if you give default products, average consumers will use them and many don't realise of alternatives, or simply don't care.

There's a good reason to have competition law, but there's a massive problem; when your market share deepens, more and more business decisions and purchases come under the eyes of antitrust regulators, even when some big companies don't have that forefront intention.

Seriously though, with this new ballot screen - it would of been the best thing to have this go worldwide and simply have no browser installed by default, at first and then when the user installs Windows or starts up their new PC for the first time they are prompted with this ballot screen, or when they first connect to the Internet. This would be so healthy for competition.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm seeing reports that Opera has seen a doubling of their download numbers since the introduction of the choice screen.
  • shyguyjeff
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Chrome is the best browser for me as what I observed. Firefox has a lot of bugs now, and I really don't know why this happens.
  • snail
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Post 3+ Months Ago

As far as installing an operating system WITHOUT a browser, HOW would you connect to the Internet? then HOW would you download and install a browser?
From the perspective of the operating system salespeople(microsoft, apple, or anyone else...) if you didn't install the Internet browser, the average user would react by saying: "What?! No browser? How will I use the Internet?" or something to that effect, seeing the operating system as an incomplete product.

As far as what I consider a "complete" operating system, in addition to being able to use the components inside a computer(hard disk, etc), I expect a standard text editor(others prefer a graphics and text editor("Office/Word processor suite", a graphics editor, and a Web browser.
Other than my business work, these are basic utilized programs on my everyday basis.
Consumers should NEVER depend on the businessfolk or the government(s) to tell them what choices they have. They need to explore this on their own, perhaps actually asking questions would lead them to find out about competitors' products...
  • navidimran
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This decision by Microsoft just reflects the incapability of providing it's users with the speed that the users get with other browsers.

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