EU, Microsoft agree on browser ballot

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The headquarters of the European Commission
Image: Stern .
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The European Commission and Microsoft have finalised the proposal for a 'browser ballot' in Windows, following the Commission's concern that Microsoft was unfairly using its operating system monopoly to gain control of the browser market.

The browser ballot will give Windows users an option of switching to one of twelve competing browsers when it is made available in an update to the new Windows 7, as well as Vista and XP.

Microsoft said in a statement that "today's resolution follows years of intensive examination by the European Commission of competition in computer software. The measures approved today reflect multiple rounds of input from industry participants relating to competition in Web browser software and interoperability between various Microsoft products and competing products."

The agreement on browser ballot, named the 'choice screen,' is to last five years, and its effectiveness is to be regularly monitored during this time. If successful, it could reduce Internet Explorer's market share.

The complaint regarding the alleged browser monopoly was first brought by Opera Software in January 2009, and the idea of a browser ballot, and Microsoft first agreed to the idea back in July. Since then, the nature of the ballot has been discussed in detail, and now, finally, a conclusion has been reached.