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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.





"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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