Microsoft Throws IE Rivals A Bone In Europe

    December 3, 2009

Today, Microsoft may have given Firefox and Chrome a better shot at grabbing market share in Europe.  A report’s indicated that Microsoft will appease antitrust regulators – along with its competitors – by showing Windows users a randomized ballot screen for Web browsers.

Microsoft LogoIn the olden days (and even now, in a lot of markets), Microsoft would of course just pair Internet Explorer with new versions of Windows.  But a lot of critics in Europe objected to this practice of bundling them together, and one nearly-agreed-upon approach drew objections based on a couple of tiny issues.

So now, as before, users will be asked to pick a browser after starting up a new Windows computer.  According to Matthew Newman, the trick is that Microsoft will present the names of the browsers in a random fashion (as opposed to alphabetical order).  Also, the whole ballot will appear in some sort of anonymous box, rather than an Internet Explorer frame.

This arrangement should keep Microsoft from incurring any more fines in the near future.  And as mentioned earlier, it may benefit the makers of some other browsers as a few folks decide to try something different.

Philip Lowe, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition, confirmed the first notion, at least.  He told Newman, "We have addressed the issues raised in the market test and we think we now have the basis for quite a robust remedy."

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