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."

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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.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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