Print 36 comment(s) - last by glennc.. on Aug 10 at 3:24 AM

Hopefully the ballots will be Florida friendly

Microsoft is trying hard to work within the regulations that are in effect in Europe concerning its products. The big issue in Europe and other countries like the U.S. is that Microsoft competitors claim that it is anticompetitive to bundle IE and other software from Microsoft with Windows.

Microsoft had to pay a record fine in the EU over bundling Internet Explorer with Windows so it devised a method of using a ballot box to allow users to choose what web browser they want to use. Microsoft has also announced that it will use a similar ballot box in Office 2010.

In the case of Office 2010, the ballot box will be used to allow the user to determine what format files will be saved in. The ballot box will be seen by users the first time the application runs and will be in effect until the user goes in and manually changes the setting.

The software giant has offered no images of the ballot box – beyond Microsoft's own DOC/DOCX files and the open source ODF format, there is no word on what other formats will be included in the ballot box. Assuming the EU accepts the proposal it will be in effect for ten years reports WindowsITPro.

The Microsoft proposal reads, "Beginning with Office [2010], end users that purchase Microsoft's Primary PC Productivity Applications in the [European Economic Area] will be prompted in an unbiased way to select the default file format for those applications upon the first boot of any one of them. Microsoft will also make tools available to enterprises in the EU so that they can auto-specify which format their users will see when using Office."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Master Kenobi on 8/6/2009 11:38:41 AM , Rating: 4
Sometimes I wonder exactly what the European Union is trying to do here. All these "Ballot Boxing" ideas are really the early 90's all over again. Before "defaults", and "preinstalled" apps were commonplace. Is the EU trying to come full circle and go back to the way it was before, back when setting up and configuring a PC took all day to accomplish?

RE: Europe
By MrPeabody on 8/6/2009 11:56:35 AM , Rating: 5
I, for one, hope they continue adding these ballot boxes. Maybe scatter them around different points of the installation process. As a user, I'd really prefer having to nurse my Windows installation through seventy-eight separate checkpoints rather than deal with all of these newfangled "defaults" and "pre-installations" and other such gallimaufry.

It's about time these folks realized that I've absolutely nothing better to do.

RE: Europe
By CU on 8/6/2009 12:14:27 PM , Rating: 5
I thought you were serious for a second.

RE: Europe
By MarkHark on 8/6/2009 5:21:20 PM , Rating: 3
So did I :)

RE: Europe
By mikecel79 on 8/6/2009 1:36:07 PM , Rating: 5
This gave me a good laugh. I wanted to vote you up but you had a 5 already. Give this man a 6!

RE: Europe
By sieistganzfett on 8/6/2009 6:41:20 PM , Rating: 4
true dat! i have nothing better to do either. :D

RE: Europe
By MatthiasF on 8/6/09, Rating: -1
RE: Europe
By Samus on 8/6/2009 6:19:11 PM , Rating: 3
The EU is bored and broke. What better to do than pick on multi-billion dollar corporations?

RE: Europe
By Murloc on 8/6/2009 11:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
it's the article that is a bit offtopic imho, this ballot box is just a thing of the installation process to avoid ppl crying that they can't open files with word 2003, this way they can set it from the beginning and don't cry (yeah, because they can't figure out what the options are).

RE: Europe
By 3minence on 8/6/2009 1:04:07 PM , Rating: 5
While I am uncomfortable with government interference, I absolutely believe we will all see benefits from this. MS has proven over and over again that where it faces no competition it stops innovating (example - IE after Netscape died). By doing this the EU is forcing competition and therefore innovation.

People are lazy. Why download something else when IE is already there? MS has for many years taken advantage of that laziness. And that assumes they know their are competing browsers. Not everybody reads DT.

RE: Europe
By Master Kenobi on 8/6/2009 3:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
Given the 32% adoption rate of Firefox I have to reach the conclusion that not everyone is lazy.

RE: Europe
By BZDTemp on 8/6/2009 4:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
Those 32% are somewhat of an odd figure. It depends a lot on where you measure the use of browsers. The use of Firefox is growing but depending on the user profile the adoption rate can be from single digits to more than half.

RE: Europe
By rudy on 8/6/2009 3:30:13 PM , Rating: 1
The innovation itself creates competition. There were no needed laws or stupid european demands to only a single company which resulted in FF bursting on to the scene. FF did it all simply by offering a better product. Why does the EU need to force M$ to do this. If M$ has a poor enough product someone will create a competitor and it will work. Netscape died because they themself were not doing any usefull innovation. Once again I say if the EU is going to demand this then they better demand it for all organizations including apple and OOo, Lotus, and iworks better come with these ballots as well as all linux distros and OSX.

RE: Europe
By segerstein on 8/8/2009 9:07:28 AM , Rating: 2
Firefox really wasn't usable for general browsing until version 2.0. I've been using Mozilla since 1.0, then switched to Firefox 1.0 for tabbed browsing of some of the websites I frequented.

Firefox 2.0 was much of a speed improvement over IE7, especially when opening new (also empty) tabs.

Firefox usage numbers shot up because Firefox 2.0 became usable and recommended by techies to ordinary users as a web browser.

In Firefox 3.0 I hate one thing though: that is copy-pasting from a webpage to MS Word - it doesn't retain the full formating. For that purpose, IE8 is a much better alternative, as it is for websites requiring personal certificates.

RE: Europe
By ClownPuncher on 8/6/2009 3:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
They are trying to make it too much of a hassle to use MS products so they can start charging for Ubuntu etc and take over the world.

RE: Europe
By rbfowler9lfc on 8/6/2009 5:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
Back to the time when selling PCs actually earned you some money for the trouble? Sign me in, please.

RE: Europe
By remo on 8/7/2009 8:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
I thought the ballot boxes were Microsoft´s solution, and not suggested by the EU.

Fairness by Unfairness?
By dusteater on 8/6/2009 11:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, when will it ever stop with the EU? And why is Microsoft the only target? Apple should have the same requirements put on them as well. This is just another EU bullying event. When will they get a clue?

RE: Fairness by Unfairness?
By retepallen on 8/6/2009 11:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Itunes and m4a format spring to mind.

RE: Fairness by Unfairness?
By BrandtTheMan on 8/6/2009 12:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this like going to Wendy's and having a choice for a Big Mac or Whopper on the menu?

RE: Fairness by Unfairness?
By monomer on 8/6/2009 4:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hi, I'd like a Quarter Pounder, but put it in a Whopper bun please. Also, hold the ketchup, but give me some Arby's sauce on the side.

By sieistganzfett on 8/6/2009 6:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
ok so that's one Quarter Pounder, in a Whopper bun no ketchup with Arby's sauce on the side.. That will be five taco bell's, please drive thru the first window.

RE: Fairness by Unfairness?
By Zandros on 8/6/2009 12:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, clearly we need to present a box where users can choose from one MPEG format or another MPEG format.

RE: Fairness by Unfairness?
By Blight AC on 8/6/2009 12:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
The UK determined that "clearly we need to present a box where users can choose from one internet browser or another internet browser." Unless your running Apple, Linux, Chrome...

Random thought
By mikefarinha on 8/6/2009 11:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
I have a feeling this will have repercussions on Open Office that the FOSS crowd isn't expecting.

Open Office is the free version of Star Office. The majority of OOo development is financed by Sun (Now Oracle). If OOo is able to bridge the compatibility gap 100% between MS Office and OOo/Star Office then all of a sudden Star Office becomes much more competitive of a product.

After it becomes a viable contender with MS Office how long do you think Sun/Oracle will continue to give away their development dollars?

RE: Random thought
By Spivonious on 8/6/2009 11:51:38 AM , Rating: 3
OpenOffice can never replace MS Office in the workplace. I don't think you have much to worry about.

RE: Random thought
By mikefarinha on 8/6/2009 11:56:29 AM , Rating: 3
As it stands now you're right. In order for OOo or Star Office to begin to replace MS Office it will have to not only catch up to MS Office in terms of functionality but also innovate and sustain that innovation.

RE: Random thought
By XZerg on 8/6/2009 12:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
most corporates avoid using open source packages for couple of simple reasons:
1) Who is going to support it? There is no guarantee on when and who with open source.

2) Who is going to take the blame if hell breaks loose? this is in the context that there was a malfunction that causes wrong information to be given to, say, customers. Or allows hackers to gain access...

Don't get me wrong that corporates don't use Open source packages totally. They do but they usually buy support from 3rd party to cover their own a$$e$.

RE: Random thought
By boldingd on 8/6/2009 1:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think more of a concern now-a-days is that some patent troll might start an accuracy-by-volume sue-everybody IP legal action. Wanna use ffmpeg in your product? What if ffmpeg infringes on someone's IP and they sue? (And note, everything always infringes one someone's IP.)

RE: Random thought
By mckinney on 8/6/2009 3:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
Why dont you ask Jason Mick?
He writes for Sun Micro.
Here is a cached page from Google (sorry as the link is long)

Already uninstalled Outlook 2010
By Lord 666 on 8/6/2009 2:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Kept corrupting my .ost that was being used for offline Exchange access. Put back on 2003; its slower and not as pretty, but at least reliable.

The rest of the 2010 suite is still installed.

By atlmann10 on 8/6/2009 11:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
I actually think the EU is just trying to look for ideas to make money on by fining M$ and Intel like they do. The reality of it is when given a "Ballot Box" most will choose something they find familiar. Which to the largest case will be a M$ product they have used for years.

I personally like Firefox and have used it since it's induction. However; the largest amount of people are used to and comfortable with IE. In most cases they won't use anything else. I have actually tried to introduce several hundred (I have been a professional end user and business, as well as network tech/engineer since 1993) people to differing browsers. The largest number are not interested.

lol @ EU
By rodrigu3 on 8/7/2009 8:41:20 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder what the EU will come up with the next time they need a stimulus package from Microsoft.

Why all the bittering?
By sviola on 8/7/2009 9:02:56 AM , Rating: 2
I find it amusing that everyone here is complaining about the EU, but in this specific case it is a MS initiative and not something being imposed by EU. Also, why does it matter at all for you guys? This isn't something that hard for MS to implement (maybe a couple of hours of an analyst/developer - which may cost MS what? 100 bucks?). This change does not give any oportunities to competitors as well? What does the file format choice facilitates for OO, Star Office or Symphony? Probably nothing, as all of them still have a long way before reaching MS Office 2007 level of functionality and usability.

I see these ballots as a good thing, it gives customers options, and sincerely, noone's gonna loose more than 10 seconds on any of these ballot screens anyway (how often does people install windows and office? I for starter have 4 computers at home and 2 VM - and one runs linux - and I've only installed windows once in each machine and office I've installed on only 3 of the machines).

By glennc on 8/10/2009 3:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
can we choose what HTML we want in Outlook???

didn't think so. how about some choices that actually make a difference not sh!t that we can install ourselves anyway. your outlook 10 is broken before it even comes out you f@#$ing douchebags

It is time for everybody to ignore Outlook and force MS to comply with the rest of the world not the other way around.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki