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Microsoft Browser Choice Screen  (Source: Microsoft)
Full roll out will start the week of March 1 in Europe

Microsoft has a long history of accusations that it abuses its dominant position in the browser and operating system markets. These allegations have resulted in several investigations into Microsoft in both America and Europe. One of the more recent investigations happened last year in Europe and was focused on Internet Explorer.

Ultimately, antitrust charges were filed against Microsoft for its practice of bundling IE with Windows in Europe. Microsoft eventually agreed to offer a ballot box that would allow Windows users to choose what browser they want to install on their computer and the charges in Europe were dropped.

Microsoft VP and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner has posted to the
Microsoft on the Issues blog new information on the browser choice screen for Europe. Heiner wrote, "Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will begin offering a “Web browser choice screen” to Internet Explorer users in Europe, as required by the European Commission. Internal testing of the choice screen is underway now. We’ll begin a limited roll-out externally next week, and expect that a full scale roll-out will begin around March 1, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. If you are an Internet Explorer user in Europe, here is what to expect."

Microsoft will begin testing the choice screen next week in the UK, Belgium, and France. Anyone in those three countries that wants to test the choice screen will be able to download the software update via Windows Update. The phased roll out of the choice screen across all of Europe will kick off the week of March 1.

Microsoft reports that the choice screen will be an automatic download through Windows Update for XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Users will either find that the software is downloaded automatically or they may be prompted to download and install the software depending on settings and the version of Windows in use on the PC. 

The choice screen will be shown on all computers running IE as the default browser. Windows 7 users with IE pinned to the taskbar will have the browser automatically unpinned. The choice screen will offer details to users on different browsers and links to download them in a random order.



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Europe is Retarded
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2010 10:48:58 AM , Rating: 1
That's pretty much the only thing I can come up with for this decision. Forcing Microsoft to help push other companies product on their OWN OS, because Europeans are too retarded to download Chrome, Firefox etc etc on their own.

So stupid.




RE: Europe is Retarded
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 11:43:44 AM , Rating: 5
True but next up should be Apple! They should be forced to provide Firefox, Opera and (somehow) IE8 with their OS!


RE: Europe is Retarded
By MadMan007 on 2/20/2010 9:59:45 AM , Rating: 4
And Flash on their iDevices.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By B3an on 2/20/2010 10:37:21 AM , Rating: 4
I just want to point out that more people use Firefox or Chrome over IE in Europe than in the U.S.

Reclaimer77 - The stereotypical ignorant and thick yank.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By CurseTheSky on 2/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Europe is Retarded
By Nighteye2 on 2/20/2010 2:09:38 PM , Rating: 1
It does, actually, if the browser preloads parts of itself during system boot and continues to consume system resources even when you're not using it. It may not cost you any money, but it does cost you performance.
It is only because of the lawsuits that microsoft has finally made it possible to uninstall IE.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/2010 3:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
The "parts of itself" that IE loads were core HTTP/HTML functionality that Windows itself uses to grant these services to applications. Removing them would mean Windows apps (many of which were written by companies other than MS) would suddenly fail.

As for "costing you performance", now you're going to fine Microsoft for not making Windows fast enough to suit you?

Sheer lunacy.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Nighteye2 on 2/21/2010 4:02:26 PM , Rating: 1
It's not much performance, but it's the principle. I want to be the one to decide which programs use my system resources in which way. I want to be in control of my own computer, including which applications and drivers get installed on it and which programs and drivers get loaded when the system boots, or some time afterwards.

That is not an unreasonable demand, is it?


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/21/2010 4:11:51 PM , Rating: 1
"That is not an unreasonable demand, is it? "

Not if you write your own operating system. If you're buying one from someone else, though, then you don't have the right to tell them how to design it.

Do you have the right to tell Honda what engine to put in your Civic? Or to force Nike to make your sneakers in mauve and lavender?

It's Microsoft's product. They have a right to design it however they wish. Personally, I think offering HTTP services at a very low level is a great idea.

It wasn't that long ago that basic networking wasn't considered part of an operating system. Microsoft made it a default part of Windows...and two dozen network vendors went out of business overnight. Can you imagine if the EU had come along then, and forced MS to remove NETWORKING from Windows?

I'll say it again-- this is sheer lunacy.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Nighteye2 on 2/21/2010 9:21:42 PM , Rating: 1
Not the engine, but you do get to choose whether or not you want airconditioning, or other optional features.

The purpose of an OS is to be an interface between the hardware and the software/user. Every aspect that does that I have no problems with - including support of network cards, network drivers.

But a browser is an application, it is not an interface with the hardware - therefore, it should be optional, not mandatory.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/21/2010 10:02:55 PM , Rating: 3
"you do get to choose whether or not you want airconditioning, or other optional features."

You get to choose IF the manufacturer has made that feature optional. Every car maker, though, has mandatory features on specific models that you cannot alter.

"But a browser is an application, it should be optional"

The browser is optional. The low-level support for HTTP communication and HTML rendering is not.

Remember at one point not that long ago, "support for network card, network drivers, etc" were APPLICATIONS. You purchased them separately, if you wanted them...and they were not cheap.

Microsoft changed that...by making them a mandatory feature. By the EU's current logic, that would have been an illegal move...but it was one that was an incalculable benefit to the consumer.

How many here remember hand-installing the early TCP/IP stacks, and all the thousands of compatibility problems between the stack you had chosen, and the programs that required it? Do we REALLY want the government to be in the business of dictating what should and shouldn't be part of an OS?


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Nighteye2 on 2/22/2010 2:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is optional now, yes, with windows 7. It wasn't in XP, for example. And drivers have never been applications - drivers come with the hardware and plug into the hardware application layer, or HAL. Communication protocals like TCP/IP are part of the drivers, or at least equivalent.

Also when optional features are made not optional, in cars you have a choice to buy a different car. For an OS, there is only one that can play all your games. For all intents and purposes they practically have a monopoly, which makes it extra important to be sure they do not abuse it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Crystallas on 2/21/2010 11:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, if there was one automaker that was leaps and bounds above all others in terms of ownership and usage, then that one company has the ability to jeopardize any company. This is an anti-trust, and violates choice.

Automakers don't manufacture many of their own parts. The tires, filters, lubricants are all competitive, and users have a distinct choice in which they would choose for their own needs and support. Whereas an Operating system that did not allow a user to uninstall Internet Explorer freely for many years is not anywhere near comparable as a choice, and manipulates the lack of knowledge a user may have to continuously push their own product.

Microsoft's defense at one point was, if you buy Windows, you do not own what you buy from them, but you are permitted to use it. While I understand they need to protect their own IP, Microsoft should never imply that you aren't allowed to use what you have purchased, the way you choose to use it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/2010 12:12:59 PM , Rating: 1
"I just want to point out that more people use Firefox or Chrome over IE in Europe than in the U.S."

Well, you rather proved his point then. If more people in Europe already have downloaded an alternative browser, why the need to force Microsoft to implement a ballot box in the first place?


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: Europe is Retarded
By BZDTemp on 2/22/2010 8:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
LOL! Europe is retarted still you're the one making it clear that is to difficult for many Americans to understand what a monopoly is.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By danobrega on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Europe is Retarded
By ClownPuncher on 2/19/2010 12:38:10 PM , Rating: 5
I hope you're being sarcastic. There is nothing anti-competetive about bundling some free software with an OS. Now if MS were to lock you out from downloading another browser, I could see the problem, but they don't.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By danobrega on 2/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Europe is Retarded
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Europe is Retarded
By bhieb on 2/19/2010 1:42:24 PM , Rating: 4
I only have 100 users I support, and I can tell you that a good 20% of them if asked to launch their browser will ask "my what?", to which I'd have to say the internet. And if they were having issues with IE and I asked if they had tried Firefox I'd bet upwards of 70% would not know who or what that was.

Now don't get me wrong it is not MS's fault, nor do I believe that they should have to advertise to their competitors. There are other calculators out there too, but that does not mean they should not be able to throw one in with their OS.

To this.
quote:
This isn't the early 1990's

Your right it is not and there are Millions upon Millions of people that, UNLIKE in the 1990's, have NEVER had to download (aka choose) a browser. I'd argue in the 1990's WAY more people knew what a browser was BECAUSE they had to go out and get one somewhere else like disks in the mail, or via an FTP and such.

My parents did not have a PC in the 90's but they do now, and the browser will always be the E or Internet on their icon.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By just4U on 2/19/2010 1:51:04 PM , Rating: 3
I support alot of users as well and while I agree that 20% might not know the name, 70% seems high for those not likely to know about browser choices though..

Perhaps that's just my experience as I do tend to install the two most popular browsers on computers just for convienence sake... but for me that's just where the system builder is supposed to come in (not MS which doesn't build them) Your trying to anticipate your customers needs and give them choices is all..

... Without leaving a bunch of crap installed to boot.. which is one of the mistakes some big oems make.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2010 3:08:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I only have 100 users I support, and I can tell you that a good 20% of them


20% out of 100 is not "most".


RE: Europe is Retarded
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 2:16:35 PM , Rating: 3
No, he is serious. People do not relate a web browser to be a web browser. Ask most normal users to open their web browser and they will have no clue what you are asking them to do.

It is mostly known as "the internet" or the "blue e".

I don't know, maybe you have never done any serious tech support on a large scale before. I had to learn to stop calling it a web browser when I did tech support. It confused people.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Etern205 on 2/20/2010 10:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
regular Joe: Help! I can't get on the internet!
IT: Okay, what is your Internet Service Provider?
regular Joe: Internet Explorer


RE: Europe is Retarded
By CurseTheSky on 2/20/2010 12:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree, except the last line in most cases I've seen is:

regular Joe: I don't know... uh... I click on the blue "E" on my screen...


RE: Europe is Retarded
By nuarbnellaffej on 2/21/2010 12:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
Well considering they have to pay a bill to their ISP, I doubt they would be that stupid.

That would be like asking someone who their phone company is, and them responding Panasonic.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By sinful on 2/21/2010 1:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That would be like asking someone who their phone company is, and them responding Panasonic


You have the same phone company I do!


RE: Europe is Retarded
By The Raven on 2/22/2010 12:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
How about Windows Explorer?


RE: Europe is Retarded
By iDarwin on 2/19/2010 6:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Europe is Retarded
By SandmanWN on 2/19/2010 7:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
As much as a computer technician laughs at a common person for not knowing what a browser is, I laugh harder at the computer tech for not actually knowing what a browser is themselves. The joke is really on the interviewer for pretending to understand something which he does not know and is taking for granted.

A browser from a computer engineer or computer scientist is a software program that allows the user to find and read encoded documents in a form suitable for display. This includes programs that browse the OS file system such as Windows Explorer and Konqueror along with what the lowly computer tech sees as a browser such as IE and FF.

When conducting an interview for a statistical study the question is often as important as the answer received. Statistics can say anything you want them to say by asking a question the wrong way. There is a difference between the words browser and web browser.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By armulyman on 2/19/2010 10:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Statistics can say anything you want them to say by asking a question the wrong way. There is a difference between the words browser and web browser.


kind of funny that you're responding so critically to the video. If you had payed attention to what was going on it seemed like there was a conversation leading up to the question "what is a browser". The "reporter" probably explained that he was from google and he was interviewing people on their net knowledge. So in this context you shouldn't have to say web browser as that would be redundant.

If we were having a conversation about pickup trucks, and I used the word bed, you wouldn't automatically assume that I meant the bed I lay down on at night.

The moral of the story is: the context of a conversation is just as important as the words you use. So don't be an asshole.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By SandmanWN on 2/20/2010 3:47:09 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The moral of the story is: the context of a conversation is just as important as the words you use. So don't be an asshole.

What context? The guy walks up and says he is from google and asks what a browser is? What sort of conversational context is anyone who doesn't know what google is or does supposed to get from that grand amount of conversation?
quote:
kind of funny that you're responding so critically to the video.

Thats because the video, while funny, is utterly ridiculous to the context of just about anything important. And who the hell you the thought police? I can be critical if I wish to be asshole.
quote:
So in this context you shouldn't have to say web browser as that would be redundant.

And thats why statistics can mean anything you want them to say. If you can't ask the question accurately, what good does the answer do you.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/2010 12:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
"As much as a computer technician laughs at a common person for not knowing what a browser is, I laugh harder at the computer tech for not actually knowing what a browser is themselves. "

And we laugh at the anal retentive who obsesses over someone shortening the phrase "web browser" to "browser".

Your statement is rather like ridiculing someone for calling their airline ticket simply "a ticket", and thereby failing to distinguish it from a bus ticket or theatre ticket.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By SandmanWN on 2/20/2010 3:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your statement is rather like ridiculing someone for calling their airline ticket simply "a ticket", and thereby failing to distinguish it from a bus ticket or theatre ticket.

You mean like ridiculing a Google employee for asking what a browser is when these people probably had to use a file browser to open their web browser and then went to a search engine so they could browse topics that were important to them?
quote:
And we laugh at the anal retentive who obsesses over someone shortening the phrase "web browser" to "browser".

Buddy, I've seen anal around here. And recently, you are about as anal as it gets.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/2010 4:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
"..when these people probably had to use a file browser to open their web browser "

I seriously doubt even 1% of the population has to use "a file browser" to run their web browser. In fact, the term "file browser" is somewhat dated...the term "file manager " is in much more common use...and deservedly so.

In any case, you unsurprisingly ignore the point. Riduculing someone for abbreviating "web browser" to "browser" is not only childishly anal -- its incorrect as well, as a hundred thousand linguistic precedents will attest.

"Buddy, I've seen anal around here. And recently, you are about as anal as it gets. "

Guilty as charged! However, your tu quoque attack doesn't change the fact that you are, on this point, dead wrong.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By BuckinBottoms on 2/20/2010 5:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
?a? s? t?????

Actually I am quite right, but you just don't want to admit it. To use your example, a file manager can be limited to nothing more than a file browser by introducing it to a read only file system.

A browser can be many things, and even precedents get overturned from time to time. That is how browser was supplanted by the mundane and lazy to mean web browser to begin with along with our other beloved terms like lol, lmao, roflmao, omg, wtf, wml, fio, npi, cmb, etc etc.

I am only being childishly anal because the term was used to belittle people for no undue reason. A childishly anal google rep trying to prove a point to the world that doesn't care what the guy is trying to point out is a little ridiculous in and of itself don't you think? At some point, if you want an honest question then you need to ask an honest question.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By SandmanWN on 2/20/2010 5:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
Gah, sharing comp today at office.

and apparently the site doesn't care much for latin characters.

Kai su, teknon?


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Bateluer on 2/22/2010 9:08:58 AM , Rating: 1
Uh, I do support a major corporation, and he's 100% correct. Most people do not know what a browser is. You have to reference the blue E to get them to open it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By just4U on 2/19/2010 1:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
1995 came and went many years ago. Even your average computer user today knows alot more then some give them credit for. Atleast in the western world anyway.

Regardless, this isn't something that Microsoft should be forced to address. It's up to the System builders and as long as Microsoft or other companies are not being underhanded about it then it shouldn't be a issue.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 2:36:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Even your average computer user today knows alot more then some give them credit for.


Wrong. I did tech support up until 2009 and supported a fairly large company at my last job, both users in the headquarters location and those working remotely from home (all 50 states in the US, Canada and even the UK). People were oblivious to what a web browser was. I always had to call it "the internet" or the "blue e" when telling people to open their web browser. Anyone new that the company would hire was the same exact way.

If I ever called it a "web browser" I'd get the deer in the headlights look or the prolonged silence over the phone as people tried to grasp the concept of what I was talking about. Once in a while people knew what I was talking about but most of them (95%) were "the internet" or "blue e" people.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2010 3:06:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Wrong. I did tech support


And that doesn't make you biased ??

The only time YOU EVER call tech support in the first place, is when you can't figure something out yourself. Your argument is like a dietitian stating the world is fat because all of his customers are.

Just because you got a few idiots calling you doesn't disprove his statement. Think about it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/2010 12:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
" Your argument is like a dietitian stating the world is fat because all of his customers are."

Well I don't really agree with your viewpoint, but I have to award you the 'most compelling analogy of the week' award.

(disclaimer: few of my friends and family know what a web browser is, whether or not they've ever called tech support).


RE: Europe is Retarded
By ClownPuncher on 2/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Europe is Retarded
By bhieb on 2/19/2010 2:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is not branding (directly) it is because they are the default and the differences are minor.

Lets face it there is not a HUGE difference in performance (there are some), but most are very minor. In that type of market the default provider wins. There are very few people that will seek out an alternative if the one they have works fine.

Again I'll preface that with I don't think MS should be made to do this. It should be viewed the same as the dozens of other programs that come with the OS. It is beneficial to the customer because they have the ability to get online right away out of the box. It was a pain in the ass the old days to get a browser when none was there.

What I really don't get is WHO cares. It is not like they make money off of the browser itself. Now they get ad revenue if they default the search and home pages. But they already give you a 1 time screen to change those.

NONE of the browsers are a source of revenue for ANY of these providers. So there is no browser market per se (with market being something that makes money).


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Europe is Retarded
By ekv on 2/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Europe is Retarded
By The Raven on 2/22/2010 12:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
You said:

quote:
They knowingly keep Internet standards from moving forward.


...and now:

quote:
Why do you think the worst browser out there, in terms of standards compliance and rendering performance, is the most widely used?


Which is it? Does MS control/dictate the standards or not? Are you saying that they control the webscape, and then purposely build a browser that can't handle it?

IE/MS fails, but these things are working themselves out as FOSS and other competitors gain ground. This might have been relevant in the past but MS has jumped the monopolistic shark and we can move on with our lives via FF or anything else.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By Nighteye2 on 2/19/2010 8:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
But they did integrate it into windows in a way that made it impossible to uninstall - having it preload files at system boot and eating up system resources even if you use another browser. It took the European ruling to make them fix that - to make it possible to uninstall IE, and to not have IE use up system resources when you're not using it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By sinful on 2/21/2010 1:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But they did integrate it into windows in a way that made it impossible to uninstall - having it preload files at system boot and eating up system resources even if you use another browser. It took the European ruling to make them fix that - to make it possible to uninstall IE, and to not have IE use up system resources when you're not using it.


Fantastic, and that forced them to drop the idea of (open) HTML help files because they couldn't be assured you had a browser installed. Yay for proprietary help files!


RE: Europe is Retarded
By jonmcc33 on 2/19/2010 2:08:12 PM , Rating: 1
Anti-competitive would be making their OS completely closed...see Apple for a good example. They won't even allow Java on Mac OS X. They used the Java open source code to make their own Apple Java, which of course doesn't work worth a crap for web based apps that need the actual JRE.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By troysavary on 2/19/2010 6:36:52 PM , Rating: 1
I never got this "standards compliant" thing. Did not IE, by becoming the dominant browser, for which most sites were designed, become "the standard"? Who is more important for determining the standard, some consortium that cannot agree on anything and doesn't make a product, or the companies that are making the products that people actually use.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By crimson117 on 2/19/2010 5:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
The EU is asserting that, since Windows became popular due to (in the EU's opinion) monopolistic practices, the EU wants to prevent MS from using Windows' ill-gotten popularity to make gains in other markets, such as the browser market.

Yes there's money/power to be gained by having your free browser be the most used one: ad revenue, search provider traffic, perfect integration with your company's plugins (silverlight), buggy integration with your competitors plugins to make them look bad (safari+flash), perfect integration with your own music store (WMP / Zune), perfect rendering of crappy non-standard HTML created by your asp.NET development tools; the list goes on.

You may not believe that MS behaved like a monopoly, but clearly the EU does, so their resulting actions make sense in that context.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By porkpie on 2/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Europe is Retarded
By shin0bi272 on 2/21/2010 9:04:42 AM , Rating: 2
Thats socialism for you. Never inform the public of their choices just rail against the evil company making millions off of their customers. That way you can be seen as a hero to the "useful idiots" and the government can levy a tax on the big company or make them do something friggin retarded like this. That's why in the US our founding fathers went for maximum freedom. which implies we have to have the morals to use that freedom and if we lose our morals we will become dependent on the government and when that happens they just start taking freedoms away and mandating actions in other cases. Still feel like voting for the "progressives" like obama???


RE: Europe is Retarded
By karielash on 2/22/2010 12:15:58 AM , Rating: 2

That's American's for you... absolutely ZERO understanding of what socialism actually is, but more than willing to hate it.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By The Raven on 2/22/2010 12:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Off topic, but...

I'm suprised that you haven't been rated down into oblivion by the Palin family...

I'm sure she's seen it since she reads everything.


RE: Europe is Retarded
By smegz on 2/22/2010 4:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
What confuses me on this whole issue is this: no one pays for a web browser any more. No money changes hands from consumer to retailer for a browser. So, why the big hullabaloo about a free application?

Choices should be educated ones and it should not be Microsoft's duty to educate the public about a competitors offering. If they did not include a browser at all...then you would have an uproar.


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