Microsoft unveils browser choice screen for Europe

In December, Microsoft and the European Commission finally arrived at a resolution regarding charges of anti-competitive behavior with Internet Explorer. Microsoft agreed to implement a “browser choice” screen that would pop up for Windows (XP, Vista, and 7) users in Europe, and would make them aware of alternative browser options like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Today we finally have a glimpse at the choice screen from Microsoft, as well as an explanation of how it will be distributed.

Starting the week of March 1, Microsoft will begin rolling out the screen to Windows users across Europe who are using Internet Explorer as their primary web browser. The screen will present a randomized list of alternative browsers, along with links to install and learn more about them. Windows users in the UK, Belgium, and France will be able to manually download the choice screen from Windows Update starting next week if they wish to test it (I don’t suspect many will).

The European Commission’s decision followed antitrust charges by Opera against Microsoft from late 2007. Opera originally wanted Internet Explorer to be stripped from Windows entirely, but Microsoft later proposed the browser choice screen as a compromise.

While I’m not one to defend Internet Explorer, or Microsoft’s tactics, I never could stand behind the logic decrying Internet Explorer’s monopoly. IE’s dominance is a symptom of Windows’ dominance as a computing platform. You could definitely find examples of anti-competitive behavior from Microsoft, but that hasn’t really stopped Firefox from stealing marketshare from IE over the past few years.

Even if the browser choice screen doesn’t push Windows users to alternative browsers in significant amounts, it will at least give Microsoft’s European critics one less thing to complain about.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] giant Microsoft told EU regulators today a “technical error” prevented a mandated browser-choice option being part of its just-updated Windows 7 operating system.  The company apologized to the European [...]

  2. [...] giant Microsoft told EU regulators today a “technical error” prevented a mandated browser-choice option being part of its just-updated Windows 7 operating system.  The company apologized to the European [...]

  3. [...] part of a 2009 settlement with the EU, Microsoft was supposed to give Windows users a clear choice between its own Internet Explorer browser and competing products. Microsoft followed through on the agreement up until the release of Windows 7 service Pack 1, [...]

  4. [...] part of a 2009 settlement with the EU, Microsoft was supposed to give Windows users a clear choice between its own Internet Explorer browser and competing products. Microsoft followed through on the agreement up until the release of Windows 7 service Pack 1, [...]

  5. [...] part of a 2009 settlement with the EU, Microsoft was supposed to give Windows users a clear choice between its own Internet Explorer browser and competing products. Microsoft followed through on the agreement up until the release of Windows 7 service Pack 1, [...]

  6. [...] consumers a choice in what browser they wanted to use. Microsoft eventually developed a “browser choice screen” so people could choose between using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, [...]

  7. [...] European consumers a choice in what browser they wanted to use. Microsoft eventually developed a “browser choice screen” so people could choose between using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple [...]

  8. [...] consumers a choice in what browser they wanted to use. Microsoft eventually developed a “browser choice screen” so people could choose between using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, [...]

  9. [...] consumers a choice in what browser they wanted to use. Microsoft eventually developed a “browser choice screen” so people could choose between using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, [...]

  10. [...] European consumers a choice in what browser they wanted to use. Microsoft eventually developed a “browser choice screen” so people could choose between using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple [...]

  11. [...] European users everywhere, a ‘technical error’ on Microsoft’s end prevented the browser choice screen from ever showing up in the Windows 7 Service Pack. This error caused users to continue being [...]

  12. […] part of a 2009 settlement with the EU, Microsoft was supposed to give Windows users a clear choice between its own Internet Explorer browser and competing products. Microsoft followed through on the agreement up until the release of Windows 7 service Pack 1, […]

  13. […] of competitors. Microsoft’s involvement in this case is particularly ironic, since it also settled with the EU several years ago for its browser monopoly. Last year, Google tipped off the EU about Microsoft’s […]

  14. […] of competitors. Microsoft’s involvement in this case is particularly ironic, since it also settled with the EU several years ago for its browser monopoly. Last year, Google tipped off the EU about Microsoft’s […]

  15. […] of competitors. Microsoft’s involvement in this case is particularly ironic, since it also settled with the EU several years ago for its browser monopoly. Last year, Google tipped off the EU about Microsoft’s […]

  16. […] of competitors. Microsoft’s involvement in this case is particularly ironic, since it also settled with the EU several years ago for its browser monopoly. Last year, Google tipped off the EU about Microsoft’s […]