Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen Goes Live, Lobbyists Want To Take It Global
By on March 3rd, 2010

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:

browser-ballot

(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:

C:\Windows\system\browserchoice.exe

There’s a web implementation of the ballot screen if you’re curious browserchoice.eu. The following browsers are included:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari
  • Opera
  • K-Melon
  • Flock
  • Maxthon
  • Sleipnir
  • Avant
  • FlashPeak
  • 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.

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Author: Manan Kakkar Google Profile for Manan Kakkar
Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.

Manan Kakkar has written and can be contacted at manan@techie-buzz.com.
  • Mrunmaiy

    I'd like to check out the IE TV commercials

  • http://www.pallab.net Pallab De

    I was against the WMPlayer decision, but I support this move by EU. Why? Because the bundling of IE was preventing free and fair market. IE doesnt adhere to any W3C standard and is full of proprietary technologies. By bundling IE with Windows MS ensured that it becomes the dominant browser. The coupling of this ensured that most webdevelopers coded with IE in mind. And guess, what since IE never bothered to follow standards this meant the sites wouldn't work in other browsers.

    And this is why MS is being forced to do something UNIX manufacturers and Apple doesn't have to do. Because, Win+IE was hurting Open Web.

  • http://www.beingmanan.com Manan Kakkar

    @Pallab There's nothing like "an open web".

    @Mrunmaiy – http://bit.ly/cux6ZY

  • Mike

    This is the dumbest thing EVER. Reason I am saying this is..any person go goto the internet and download a fricken browser if they don't want to use IE..really it's not that hard to do!!

    From a security stand point, they just forced Microsoft to add even more code to the OS. As a programmer the less code used the better. The more "features" you add the more can go wrong and the more security holes you introduce.

    Also this is cosmetic at best, IE is still baked into the OS. This changes nothing. Like I stated earlier, just download and install another browser and quit whining.

  • http://www.beingmanan.com Manan Kakkar

    There’s nothing like “an open web”.

  • http://thinkdigit.com/forum Anurag Panda (Liverp

    Good thing that this happened. Microsoft has lost all their creditibility by shoving their proprietary "standards" on users and thus making it so that web developers design on their standards rather than the free and open standards in the web.

    Quite a biased post this one but what can one expect from a biased Microsoft fanboy, Mr.Manan. ;)

    Anyway Opera's article is somewhat people with better minds should read:
    http://my.opera.com/chooseopera/blog/2010/01/20/a

  • Indian Art

    When will this come to India?

 
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