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Small browser firms are once again asking for Microsoft to show them some love.  (Source: WebMD)

"We can't compete with the sort of money that the top guys have, so this choice screen is enormously important. And it's just enormously disappointing that it happened this way." -- Flock spokesman
Small browsers can only be found by scrolling sideways

Microsoft has found itself having to alter its practices on several occasions in Europe and the U.S. after regulators stepped in and forced change. One of the most recent instances was when the European Commission asked Microsoft to make browser selection more open and fair to other browser makers in Europe.

Microsoft and the EC worked for months to come to an agreement on how exactly Microsoft would go about offering users of Windows a choice of other browsers rather than simply bundling IE with its OS. The result was the browser ballot box, or Browser Choice screen.

Microsoft's first ballot box offer didn’t make it and eventually the Redmond, Washington-based company offered to randomize the placement of browsers within the choice screen. In December 2009, the EU was reportedly set to agree to the randomized ballot box. Eventually the randomized choice screen was approved and Microsoft announced in February that it would start rolling the ballot screen out to users in Europe on March 1.

The final form of the ballot box randomized the order of the major browsers on the screen and left the five major offerings on the main page, with other significantly smaller browsers available as options if the user scrolled the screen to the side.

EWeek reports that the rational behind making the ballot screen only show the five major browser options was fear that offering 12 browsers on one screen would be overwhelming and users would simply close the box and stick with IE. Smaller browser firms whose products are not on the main page are set to ask Microsoft to alter the ballot box again to give their offerings more prominent placement.

The six smaller browser firms making the request include Maxthon, SlimBrowser, Avant Force, Flock, Sleipnir and GreenBrowser. Representatives from these firms registered a formal petition with the EC on March 3 that protested that their browsers were only viewable if the user scrolled sideways.

The petition stated, "It is clear that the final Choice Screen design leaves the vast majority of users unaware that there are more than five browsers to choose from. This is inconsistent with the EU Commission's stated goal for the Choice Screen—to provide European consumers with 'information on the 12 most widely used Web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these Web browsers.'"

A spokesperson for Shawn Hardin, CEO of Flock, stated, "The EC recommended that the seven browser companies engage with Microsoft as a group, and if they can come to a mutually agreed-upon solution, the EC will fully support it. Flock CEO Shawn Hardin has reached out to Microsoft on behalf of the group to schedule a meeting, and Microsoft responded that they 'will get back to the group shortly.'"

The small browser firms claim that how the browser screen is configured is a matter of survival for them. Not being able to get prominent first page placement for their browsers hurts the ability for the small firms to compete according to the companies.

Hardin said, "We can't compete with the sort of money that the top guys have, so this choice screen is enormously important. And it's just enormously disappointing that it happened this way."

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MS is braindead as usual
By Pirks on 3/15/2010 1:05:24 PM , Rating: -1
They could have prevented all this by making IE open source like Apple did with Safari.

Now you wintrolls (kobymu I'm talking to you) can btch round o'clock about EU not punishing Apple enough for restricting iPhone/iPad to Safari, but Jobs has alreday shown a middle finger both to EU and to wintrolls like kobymu by making Safari open source.

Stupid Ballmer will get it too late as usual. Sad.

RE: MS is braindead as usual
By ertomas on 3/15/2010 2:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Being open source has nothing to do with this.

The problem is that the EU somehow thinks that MS cannot embed THEIR browser with THEIR operating system.

Also please read some before making such a statement.

They could have prevented all this by making IE open source like Apple did with Safari.

Safari is not open source. Apple's Webkit (it's engine) is.

RE: MS is braindead as usual
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 8:22:06 PM , Rating: 1
Webkit is open source, but I can't go and modify and make Safari how I want it, cause it is not open, it is very much closed.

RE: MS is braindead as usual
By rocky1234 on 3/15/2010 9:55:23 PM , Rating: 1
lol dude your way to funny if anyone is a troll on here it is you. The reason I say that is no matter what is someone mentions Apple or one of their products you jump out of the woodwork like nobodies business. In this thread you sprang out as soon as someone said the word Apple so yes that makes you the sites biggest troll of them all. We have Wintrolls on here & Mactrolls but you sir don't fit into any of those to spots but you do fit into Asstroll pretty good.

Oh & before you go & call me a Wintroll just know I use both Windows & Apple systems I like/dislike them the same. I also do not care what you have to say to this comment as I do not think you are bright enough for me to waste any farther time on you. Maybe if you actually started making valid points & less nonsense attacks on people your opinion would mean more to me or anyone else that reads this site.

You are here either to just cause trouble or you are here because you are paid to do so I tend to think it is just to cause trouble. My point is if you can't add anything insightful to the group chat then just go away please.

Now back on topic of the chat. The whole ballot system is stupid no company should be forced to promote other companies products whether it is Microsoft or Apple. The whole idea should be scrapped. Making apple or any other company do this is just gonna add to the problem they need to scrap the whole thing & start over.It is bad enough they were able to force Microsoft to do it.

The Browser I chose to use was what I wanted I didn't need a screen telling me which one to pick I have a mind of my own & know which one I like & adding more choices to the ones already there is just making everything even more confusing for the end user. People we have minds maybe the EU should realize that & stop getting into everyone's business.

RE: MS is braindead as usual
By Helbore on 3/16/2010 9:25:30 AM , Rating: 1
Aren't you the one who usually bangs on about how Apple's closed platform policy is what makes them successful?

Now it's because they make things open source. Anyone would think you were biased or something.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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