Heard about that union that’s been a bane of existence for American technology companies? Yeah, that European Union. Microsoft and the EU have been at logger-heads for quite a while now. There was the Media Player controversy back then which resulted in Microsoft providing a separate version of Windows for the European Union countries that did not feature the Windows Media Player, known as Windows N’. Having Windows without a browser would mean killing the OoBE for a user and as such Microsoft proposed showing European users a screen listing browser alternatives for the user to choose and install. EU accepted Microsoft’s solution and the ballot screen has started appearing for users. Here’s what the ballot screen looks like:
(Image credit: ZDNet)
NOTE: The ballot screen will appear if you’re location is set to a country that is a part of the European Union AND Internet Explorer is your default browser. The option comes via Windows Update, alternatively if you’re running the N’ edition, you can trigger it from:
There’s a web implementation of the ballot screen if you’re curious browserchoice.eu. The following browsers are included:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
- Green Browser
The browsers will appear in a random order based on an algorithm, of course like anything Microsoft does, the random-ness’ is being scrutinized.
While, I for one have been against Microsoft buckling under pressure to have a smooth Windows 7 release simply because this will set a precedent for others to start making noise and get a ballot screen for everything and taking this beyond Europe, which is exactly what happened. The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) has come out with a statement that this ballot screen option should be made available globally because users deserve better. Here’s their statement:
Consumers deserve the same unbiased browser choice on all the world’s more than 1 billion personal computers
NOTE #2: If you’re wondering why Windows 7 doesn’t come bundled with a chat client and email client, well, this is why.
According to Neowin, as part of Microsoft’s efforts to ensure that users stick with Internet Explorer, Microsoft has started airing several TV commercials about Internet Explorer in the United Kingdom.