Late last week, Microsoft announced plans to give Windows users in Europe a choice of browser
via the so-called “ballot screen” option. The proposal marks a drastic change from Microsoft’s former stand in which the software giant claimed that they would rather release Windows 7 with no browser whatsoever than with competing browsers.
The company recently posted a fairly detailed description
of its proposal, which is currently being revised by European antitrust regulators, and revealed that the browser ballot screen will not be limited to Windows 7. Contrary to what was previously thought it will be delivered to Windows Vista and Windows XP users as well through Windows Update, if approved by the European Commission.
The Microsoft proposal says the ballot screen will “in a horizontal line and in an unbiased way display icons of and basic identifying information on the web browsers.” It will include the ten most widely-used alternatives but only the top five will be displayed more prominently. Despite falling into this category, Opera actually complained about the use of icons, claiming it would give an unfair advantage to the easily-recognizable IE.
Overall, however, the Norwegian browser maker was pleased with the proposal and said it would like to see this happen outside of Europe as well.