back to article Microsoft finally debuts Euro-choose-a-browser screen

Microsoft has unveiled its EU-mandated Web browser choice screen, and will start rolling it out next week. Redmond's deputy general counsel Dave Heiner warned Explorer users "what to expect", in a not at all grudging blog posting. He said the design and operation of the screen "was worked out in the course of extensive …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    and Cue Opera moaning about something....maybe that i.e should have a yellow icon instead of blue and that the Opera logo doesn't look good enough...oh wait...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    About time!

    About time! Shame they had to include Chrome and Safari.

    1. oddie

      What happened to Netscape Navigator?

      It's true that Opera 'moans' about things quite often, and its also true how often those moans lead to better products for all of us (Not just Opera Users).

      Remember IE6? After Microsoft had pushed Netscape (remember them?) out of the competition and ruled supreme over the world wide web, guess what they did? Nothing. IE6 sat on its arse for years, no inovation, no progress. You know why? they had no competition.

      Maybe you use IE8 now, maybe you don't (firefox, chrome or safari maybe, probably not opera seeing as your post doesn't exactly raise them into the heavens), but if you look at the top of your browser I bet you can see tabs. And I bet it even supports transparent PNG images. who knows, it may even be somewhat standard compliant.

      And do you know WHY your browser has this? I'll give you a hint: it's not because microsoft was able to leverage the inherent savings in being a market leader: It's because Firefox, Opera and Safari started kicking their arse (Assuming that your using one of the IE browsers).

      So yes, Opera 'moans' whenever something seems off in the browsers world, which I for one am thankful for :)

      Lets hope we never return to the 'golden years' of IE6 again ;)

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

        Actually . . .

        Given Opera's ~1% desktop market share, I'd say Microsoft's decision to develop IE 7 and 8 can be squarely attributed to the success of Firefox, with Chrome adding some Johnny-come-lately pressure these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          ...nearly all the useful features in IE, FF, Chrome, Safari, et al were all copied from Opera. Were it not for Opera actually bothering to develop this stuff we'd still be stuck somewhere around IE6. Opera innovate the rest just copy.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      And cue moaners moaning over things they don't understand. How come those who whine about Opera are always the biggest whiners themselves?

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The problem with the issue.. stupid politicians sticking their noses in.

    Still if it keeps them happy or-dare I hope-lessens the sound of whining from the other browser fans then I suppose it's achieved something.

  4. Benny

    Nice idea

    but couldn't this be a security issue?

    I mean, if a user chooses a different browser, and they arent exactly computer literate, won't they assume that running windows update is going to update their chosen browser as well?

  5. censored

    I'd go further...

    In fact, those users who have the automatic updates patching without them doing anything are the ones who left it on by default. They're the ones who won't know, care or understand what other browsers are for. This is a shitty system, just as they've got used to a new Windows along comes this dialog and messes it up for them.

    I hope it re-pins their choice back to the taskbar and imports all their bookmarks and set their homepage WITHOUT PROMPTING, else it's going to cause a lot of problems for low-end users. Most will just want to go back to what they know - and finding it 5th on the list is going to be another confusion. They might end up with Opera, which is a totally different experience to the one they've had.

    Hell, even my dad - a retired electronics expert with 40 years work behind him - doesn't know what a browser is. He phoned me last week trying to get a neighbours machine to work. "The internet won't load up". He meant Internet Explorer. When I suggested he put Firefox on, he said that "They use Sky as their internet and that's on Internet Explorer". He meant was their default homepage.

    I like the idea, but the execution stinks. And it should only be rolled out to new installations.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most of the time...

    People dont even know what the hell a browser is:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't be silly

      They'll assume the software on their system never needs to be updated because it works just fine the way it is and "the man" just wants to trick them into doing things differently because all IT people are autistic and insist that you do completely pointless things like read error messages or shutdown your computer properly.

    2. Da Weezil


      In my experience Both Opera and Firefox notify the user with a pop up when they release updates, and don't wait till the "patch cycle" comes round to do it. I would assume Safari is the same if I-tunes is anything to go by.. cant say about Chrome.. theres enough Google in the world already without me adding to it.

    3. Raumkraut

      Browser updates

      AFAIK all the listed browsers (excepting IE, due to it being handled by Windows update) will alert the user and/or automatically update themselves when new releases are available.

  7. Barry Tabrah

    This had better be opt-out corporately

    We don't want any of your browsers here. We're a local government, for local employees. We dictate what software is used and where.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Proof that MS have a sense of humour after all..

    Safari... le giggle...

  9. Bear Features
    Thumb Down


    Obviously the EU, who were worried about consumer choice and Microsoft forcing us to use IE... right? Yes, obviously the EU who were so worried about it and were NOT using MS as a cash cow, now they will go after Apple for the same thing, right?

    Political bullshit, all of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You're a corporate and you allow your users to run automatic updates? My you must have a fat pipe to the internet. Shirley you're at least running WSUS to handle the updates? WSUS, of course, allows you to choose which updates your EUs get. As do any of the (much better) third party patch management solutions.

      Of course if you allow your users to run automatic updates, or indeed to do it manually, then you deserve everything you get. And hopefully get everything you deserve. You'll be telling me next you don't test patches before you deploy them.

    2. Steven Knox Silver badge


      The pure definition of monopoly is 100% ownership of a market. The current legal and political definition is a large enough market share to direct the market in spite of competitors' opposition. Usually this means over 80%, often over 90% market share.

      Microsoft has this in the OS market. Apple does not. Microsoft gets regulated. Apple does not.

      I appreciate that you titled your post "Rubbish" to warn other readers off of it, but it really would have been better not to post it at all.

      1. Justabloke 1


        Er... by your own definition Microsoft don't have a monopoly in the OS market.... unless of ocurse those users with Macs or linus desktops are being fooled and really do have MS products.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        To add to what Steven said...

        @Bear Features: Apple haven't interwoven their browser into the OS unnecessarily to leverage that dominant position in a bid to control the web either, have they?! Apple got caught trying to foist Safari onto unwitting iTunes users on Windows, and rightly got a bollocking for it! Honesty; "Boo-hoo! Poor little Microsoft got caught cheating and are being punished and big (HA!), mean, nasty Apple aren't! Boo-hoo s'not fair!" Grow up!

  10. adnim Silver badge

    A single step in the right direction

    Now how about a choice of media player, email client, instant messenger or indeed anything else that isn't part of the core OS. And why not options to set up online services such as mail, search, storage and browser home page to something other than the MS defaults during install. Yes it would confuse the hell out of the complete novice, but isn't that what help files are for to alleviate confusion and inform.

    MS use their dominance of the desktop OS market to push every other service and product they sell, with no mention of alternatives or consumer choice. I don't like it at all, and because of my dislike of this practice they should desist immediately. I would be only to happy to tell them what they could and couldn't do with their OS. ;-) It's only fair, after all they have been trying to control what I do with Windows and how I use it for as long as I can remember.

  11. Colin Millar

    Lawyers win again

    This all shows just how relevant the EU is.

    A decision that no-one cares about on an issue that no-one cares about (apart from a few fanbois) and which will make no difference whatsoever to a single human life.

    The EU only exists so that lawyers and politicians can make money.

  12. Rod MacLean
    Gates Horns

    One minute

    Shurely this should also be presented to people who buy a new machine with Windows pre-installed?

    ...or do they have to sit through numerous updates until this one is downloaded for them?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Unbundle Windows!

    Enough of these shenanigans, EU! The only way to have choice in the retail sector (and thus any choice in the applications) is to unbundle the operating system from all computers sold. Sure: give people the *option* of having something preinstalled, but actively fine anyone and everyone who says that Windows plus subsidising crapware is "part of the device" and has to be bundled.

    1. Red Bren

      Self esteem issues?

      You care enough to comment. Do you think you're a nobody? Have a pint!

    2. Rob Moir

      pushing your own service

      "MS use their dominance of the desktop OS market to push every other service and product they sell, with no mention of alternatives or consumer choice."

      I don't recall many adverts for Windows Live popping up during the install the last time I set up Ubuntu Failing Ferret or whatever its called this month.

    3. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Do what??

      Yeah, I'm sure the hardware manufacturers love the idea of selling bare kit then having to field call after call from poor users trying to install operating systems!

      They PREFER a single OS choice as it makes their lives easier, they get to sell turnkey systems, and even make a bit on the side bundling guff no-one really wants but might be persuaded to buy anyway...

      1. Goat Jam

        OEMS are idiots

        They've allowed MS to commoditize the industrys hardware products while retaining a premium price on their own and now they are stuck with competing with each other on price because basically all of the PC's on the shelves are the same as each other sans the badge on the front. (apple excepted)

        Every year PC's get cheaper and every year MS software doesn't.

        There is a reason that MS has a "no changes to the user interface allowed" clause on all their OEM contracts. They knew full well that if HP went and gave their PC's a "HP look and feel" that Microsoft would lose the "brand advantage" and it would leave the door open for OEMs to make their own OS offerings (or modify existing OSS products) that had the same "look and feel" as their old customized Windows products.

        So MS said, "No, you won't be doing that" and the manufacturers, as always, bent over and took it rather than risk having to pay a few extra dollars for whatever crap Redmond was pushing at them that week.

        Now these idiot companies are all left with flogging crappy, built-to-a-price knock offs that are virtually indistinguishable from their competitors crap while MS makes obscene amounts of money and can increase their prices at will. And the OEMS don't have a choice other than "break out the lube and drop those trousers" every time MS chooses to do so. If they are indeed "happy" about that state of affairs then they deserve everything they get.

        As for being happy only having to support one OS, well, all I can say is if they had any cahones whatsoever they would never have allowed themselves to get in a position where they are DOING SUPPORT FOR ANOTHER COMPANIES PRODUCT in the first place. Yeah, yeah, I know the OEM price is "cheaper" because they do the support themselves. I also know that Jewellers shops are in a state of "Sale! 50% OFF) every week.

        Getting something "cheaper" from someone who can dictate whatever price does not equal good value.

        Fail for the OEMs of the world.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do what??

        Please try to read *every* word of comments you're responding to, like the bit which says "give people the *option* of having something preinstalled". Please also note that Windows isn't necessarily ready to use when starting a newly purchased machine, either - it has to do various initialisation things - and I imagine that this doesn't go unnoticed by a certain proportion of customers.

        And since when did any vendor really offer great support for Windows? Most of the Windows experience is pushing you directly to when you are "troubleshooting": a wizard opens, you fill out the fields, it tells you it can't help and crashes. Meanwhile, the ridiculously short warranty means that for many people the vendor has already washed their hands of any kind of support at all by the time stuff really goes south. The vendor-branded "rescue disk" - not even a proper OS disk because Microsoft thinks you might be a "pirate" - might not even work by the time you need it.

        And in fact, the retailer is always the first port of call for any kind of sales and warranty issues, which is what this is: that's enshrined in consumer legislation in Europe, contradicting the "call the manufacturer" shit that the average electrical retailer will come out with when you have any kind of problem. So why not have any problems handled by the retailer, anyway? If you regret your choice of OS, just take the computer back and have something installed on it. They could even offer this as a service, just like some retailers offer the service of uninstalling the crapware foisted on consumers right now. At least the former kind of service is honest and transparent, not like a car dealership selling you a vehicle and you then having to go back and pay them to unblock the opening to the petrol tank.

        So, all this would take is to offer people the choice and for that choice to be upheld, not to allow creative accounting tricks to be used against the purchaser by forcing crapware on everyone because it suits the vendor and Microsoft.

    4. Goat Jam


      "Now how about a choice of media player, email client, instant messenger"

      Indeed. In fact, while we are at it how about a choice of the actual OS? Why are MS allowed to bully the world + dog into purchasing their products in the first place?

      Why does the EU only concern themselves with this nonsense about browser choice when the underlying problem continues to go unaddressed?

  14. James Le Cuirot

    Additional browsers?

    Does anyone know what these additional browsers are? One is most likely SeaMonkey. The only others I can think of are real oddball browers (like Amaya) or reskins of the main browers.

  15. Jim 59


    But hold on, where's Netscape ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too late

    You can't retrospectively ask people what browser they want bundled with their system, after they've already been using Internet Explorer for months, removing IE shortcuts that they may have genuinely wanted (hey, some people are that stupid).

    Microsoft has given people time to get used to IE's many failings and now they think it's the best they can get, in much the same way that PC World shoppers end up thinking Norton Antivirus is good. (because, hey, they paid £x,xxx for this system and PC World wouldn't give them sub standard software!).

    Even worse, someone is going to install a new browser (at random), botch the import of their settings, then complain that the new browser is a piece of crap because it doesn't log them into Facebook automatically, and never try any other browser ever again.

    Though I am glad that this ballot screen has been introduced, because there is a tiny chance it will prompt some people to ditch IE, but 0 chance that it will effect me, because I don't run IE as default on the Windows installation I don't have.


    browser screen selection

    ok i have windows 7 on my pc upstairs at the moment and its been doing pretty well since i installed it. but it came with internet explorer preinstalled so i cant remove it if i do remove it and use naother browser some sites might not work. example some update sites like windows update etc which is really stupid.

    1. Al Jones

      Crawl back under your rock

      FFS, Windows Update hasn't relied on Internet Explorer since Vista was released, over 3 years ago.

      There are hundreds of millions of people (including me), using Firefox as their primary browser on Windows 7. It works just fine, and it's not actually necessary to uninstall IE8 to make Firefox work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Al Jones

        > "There are hundreds of millions of people (including me), using Firefox as their primary browser on Windows 7"

        Hundreds of millions? So that's, what, every single Windows 7 user + at least 20 million Windows 7 users that don't even exist.

        "Microsoft will sell approximately 180 million copies of Windows 7 by the end of 2010 is the forecast IDC offered "

        Next time you feel like pulling a figure out of your ass it might be helpful to do a Google search first.

      2. Chris Shaw


        Some people are upgrading from XP which used the browser for updates.

        Just because you had Vista, doesn't mean everyone else is upgrading from that.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          If they're upgrading to Windows 7

          what fucking difference does XP's update method make?

          The browser update is only for Windows 7.

          Are you really as stupid as your post sounds?

  18. Dave 135

    Can someone explain...

    why Apple aren't forced to do this as well? I think the whole issue is slightly ludicrous and I'm a Mac user myself but in the interests of fairness surely all pay-for OS's should be included, not just Windows.

  19. Matt_V

    What classification of update is it?

    Just a thought, will this be a critical update (ie passed on through WSUS if that's how you're set up) or one of the "important / recommended" ones?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      We've been through this on here so many times it's getting boring.

      Apple do not have an effective monopoly. Apple do not use one product to try to tie people into buying others. For example many MS server products only give you their full, rich (ahem!) functionality when used with IE. Why would this be then? To force people to buy their desktop OS in order to access applications running on their server OS, of course. That's what's known as abusing a monopoly. Something MS do and Apple don't.

      Futhermore Apple have not attempted to inteweave their browser into the OS to prevent it being uninstalled.

    2. chr0m4t1c


      Because MS were found to be operating a monopoly.

      Despite the disproportionate amount of press coverage they get here, Apple have a very small market share and when this all kicked off (a good few years ago now) MS had something like 85-90% of the browser "market".

      This gave two problems primarily:

      1) Companies like Opera who produce paid for software were being pushed out of business.

      2) Websites were starting to be written as "IE only", meaning we were gradually shifting towards an MS-only web.

      Thanks largely to Mozilla/FireFox, Opera and to a certain extent Safari, the market has started to even out a bit more, but if it hadn't you would probably find you were unable to use a lot of websites with Safari and also not be able to get IE for anything other than Windows; meaning you could either be a Mac owner or a Web user, but not both.

      1. Bear Features

        what planet?

        "Apple do not use one product to try to tie people into buying others."

        That's exactly what the iPad is. :o)

        Ever heard of iTunes? Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Can you buy different MP3 Players? Yes! Can you buy s different SCC? Yes! Do Apple have more than 90% share of any of the markets you mention? No! Fuck off then!

          "Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes." You can use 'your' mac without iTunes! There are PLENTY of other media managers and players out there, and most of them are free too! As for the iPod, can the Zune sync with anything other than Microsoft products? How is any of this at all related? It. Fucking. Isn't.

          Beer: I need one while reading stuff like this!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Ever heard of iTunes? Tell me how I can use my Mac and iPod but without iTunes."

          You chose to buy a Mac and an iPod then you object to iTunes? You, sir, are nothing more or less than a fucktard. Nobody forced you to buy an iPod to go with your Mac. Your analogy falls appart right there. What the EU are objecting to is the heretofore Microsoft *have* forced Windows users to install IE.

          1. Anonymous Coward


            Seems you are the 'Fucktard' to me.

            Apple have forced IPod users to install ITunes, due to their proprietry locked down database system on the IPod. ITunes of course is in turn just a shop front for their rapidly growing music monopoly. If you want any chance of talking to the IPod you have to use the ITunes API...

    3. March Warden

      Re: can someone explain...

      Because Apple is not a monopoly in the desktop market. What control Apple has is over a market sectors not the market itself, it's only when the controlled sectors in total represent domination of the market (which Microsoft has) will anti-trust legislation kick in.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can someone explain why Apple aren't forced to do this as well?

      Because no one cares what software is running on the 16 or so Apple Macs in the country.

  20. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Novice users are told... turn automatic updates on to keep their computer safe.

    If you don't know enough to consider that decision, you probably do what you're told.

    A lot of trojans work that way too, of course.

    I'll guess that the outcome of this ballot thing is that many current inexperienced users will install at least one more browser as well as Internet Explorer. Hooray! But on new computer purchases, they'll probably stop at one.

  21. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Will it...

    So after I select Firefox, will it uninstall IE, to stop it being started up in the background and connecting to things / openning holes in my security?

    Otherwise, it's a bit late to save Netscape's ass, which is what the browser wars were all about.

    Could I also request some similar apps such as:

    Choose your browser plugins (automatically uninstalls flash, adobe reader, quicktime...)

    Choose your office application suite (permanantly uninstalls Office 2007 demo and MS Works)

    Choose your media player (automatically uninstalls Media Centre and iTunes)


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