Microsoft is getting ready to comply with its part in an antitrust settlement with the European Commission
over the choice of web browsers in Windows. Starting on February 22, the company will begin deploying the infamous ballot screen that will let Windows users in Europe pick which of the five most popular web browsers -- Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and IE -- they want to install and use as a default.
As previously reported, browsers will be presented in random order, with other less popular options available to view as well. It will initially be available to users in the United Kingdom, Belgium and France, while a full rollout to other European countries expected on March 1
. The ballot itself will be distributed automatically via Windows Update to customers running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Running the update in Windows 7 will also automatically unpin IE from the taskbar if it's already set. Users will see an introductory screen explaining why this happened and giving the option to pin it back -- which seems rather unnecessary and confusing. In addition to offering the browser ballot to existing Windows users, OEMs will be able to preinstall a browser of their choosing and also uninstall IE from machines shipping with Windows 7.