Microsoft hasn’t commented on whether it believes it has to offer use other browsers aside from IE10 in a ballot.
IE has been derided as the best browser for downloading other browsers. Does Microsoft have to offer users choice?
When booting up Windows, the first thing a user did was download another browser (I admit, I’ve done it too). Microsoft has declined to comment on whether it’s required to offer a ballot when users boot up Windows 8 for the first time, so is it?
A deal was made in 2009 between Microsoft with the European Union antitrust regulators that required the company to display a screen offering the Chrome, Opera and Firefox browsers. That deal covered future editions of Windows, explaining why Windows 7 doesn’t show the message (at least it didn’t for me).
Called the Choice Screen update, it will be made available at the general commercial update and will stay in place for the duration of the OS. The deal covers five years, so there’s every chance that will cover the operating system’s lifespan, and expires in 2014. The deal says that Windows and Internet Explorer should include successors to the then Internet Explorer 7 and Windows 7.
Greater choice for consumers
The original inquiry came around after Opera asked why Microsoft was allowed to bundle IE with the OS, which seems a little odd because Apple bundles Safari with OS X and Google bundles Google Chrome with the Chrome OS.
Also, the ballot screen appears when users don’t change the default browser. That’s annoying because Internet Explorer 9 is actually fairly good, and I bet IE 10 will continue to improve. I always like to stick with the default browser if it’s good because it’s probably integrated into the operating system, though older versions of IE were slow and bloated causing third-party browsers to be chosen.
Microsoft has revealed other browsers can run in the Metro and desktop side of Windows 8, though there has been some controversy over the browser having the be set as the default so users aren’t thrown out of the browser to open another app without choosing to do so. Still, I don’t think it’s that big of an issue: allowing third-party browsers to work in the Metro side offers good choice for consumers.