EU could file complaint over Microsoft browser choice menu

The settlement between Microsoft and the European Union over the choice of web browsers in current and older versions of Windows could be in some trouble. The settlement, which was signed back in 2009, was supposed to give European users of Windows a menu, such as the one above, that gives them a number of choices for browser downloads.

However, it appears that Microsoft has not been offering that menu since early 2011 to some users of Windows in Europe. In a new Bloomberg report, unnamed sources claim that the EU is preparing to file an official antitrust complaint on the matter.

Microsoft admitted in July that 28 million Windows 7 Service Pack 1 PCs did not display the required web browser menu. That amounts to about 10 percent of the total amount of Windows 7 SP1 users in the EU. Microsoft blamed a software issue for the problem and has since sent out an update to solve the glitch.

That may not be enough for the EU, who might decide to fine Microsoft for the lack of a web browser menu in the affected PCs.

The EU is also looking into a separate web browser issue, based on claims from Mozilla and Google that Microsoft is keeping their Firefox and Chrome browsers from having the same access to the advanced APIs that Microsoft uses for Internet Explorer 10 in Windows RT.

Source: Bloomberg | Image via Microsoft

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The EU on just about every front is paranoid of becoming dictators of the worlds economy. Their attempt to continue this madness will backfire in good time.

sdgreen said,
The EU on just about every front is paranoid of becoming dictators of the worlds economy. Their attempt to continue this madness will backfire in good time.

are you suggestion a revolution >_>

I would have thought that if Microsoft designed an operating system they should not have to offer alternatives to run on it. its just the same as the EU turning round and saying they have to offer people alternatives to security essentials, where in an ideal world it would be included as part of the operating system.

I hate living in the EU sometimes, why cant people make money the honest way. Microsoft have done more than enough and went more than out of there way already for this dumb browser thing.

MrAnalysis said,
I hate living in the EU sometimes, why cant people make money the honest way. Microsoft have done more than enough and went more than out of there way already for this dumb browser thing.

The honest way?! Are you insane? That would be almost to much like right and work!!

This EU stuff against MS has gone beyond being ridiculous.

I'd like to file a complaint about the EU ruining my quality of life.

Extra things like this just make it more time consuming to install Windows. Time I could be spending doing other things...

I remember downloading the update not long ago but funny thing is, i am still yet to see this ballot screen. Maybe if it detects another browser already installed it doesn't show?!?

havoc24k said,
If the EU body that makes those decisions wants to be fair and square they should also enforce that on smartphones.

The EU body that makes those decisions does so after investigating complaints by competitors, so if someone thinks there's some sort of abuse of monopoly in the smartphone market that's damaging their own business then feel free to go and file a complaint.

i never understood why microsoft shouldn't have ie as the default browser, it is their windows, never liked this case really.... and why don't they sue apple over that new power connector thingy, double standards really,,

Microsoft should stop supplying any browser in Windows in Europe. Just let the users wonder on how to reach some website to download another browser! Lets see how EU will so call "help" the users.

My god why can't they see that if MS doesn't include stuff like media players, browsers, etc it only hurts the consumer becuase they are getting less with thier money becuase taking those out devalues the Operating System. Idiots.... Who gives a **** most people that really want to use another browser will continue to just use IE to download Chrome or Fx or Opera anyways....

remixedcat said,
My god why can't they see that if MS doesn't include stuff like media players, browsers, etc it only hurts the consumer becuase they are getting less with thier money becuase taking those out devalues the Operating System. Idiots.... Who gives a **** most people that really want to use another browser will continue to just use IE to download Chrome or Fx or Opera anyways....

Frankly, I'd prefer if Windows comes as a barebones installation with an *optional* choice of installing a web browser (IE), media player and all the other software I never use (mind you, I use alternatives in most cases). Sure, they can keep the installation as a full/custom install something they used to have a long time ago I believe.

THe EU is now very short of revenue (due to their bailout of Greece, Spain and Portugal) And here comes the sacrificial lamb folks......hello Microsoft !!
By the way just off track for a bit, has anyone wondered why Greece has needed bailling out??? Because they lied to the EU and they lied to the I.O.C. (International Olympic Commitee) they didn't have the money that they said they had each time. And the only reason the EU (basically Germany) is helping them is because of all the money that is owed by these countries to Germany.

Caveman-ugh said,
THe EU is now very short of revenue (due to their bailout of Greece, Spain and Portugal) And here comes the sacrificial lamb folks......hello Microsoft !!
By the way just off track for a bit, has anyone wondered why Greece has needed bailling out??? Because they lied to the EU and they lied to the I.O.C. (International Olympic Commitee) they didn't have the money that they said they had each time. And the only reason the EU (basically Germany) is helping them is because of all the money that is owed by these countries to Germany.

So only Germany helped Greece out, did they?

How about the £5bn the UK pumped into the EU to bail out ALL the countries that signed up to the fail called the Euro, instead of spending it on things that really matter like the NHS or even increasing pensions.

I didn't say it was the "only" reason. Did I ???

neo158 said,

So only Germany helped Greece out, did they?

How about the £5bn the UK pumped into the EU to bail out ALL the countries that signed up to the fail called the Euro, instead of spending it on things that really matter like the NHS or even increasing pensions.

TechieXP said,
If I lived in Europe I would call MS and be like, guarantee me $10M and I will make the EU problem go away.

Are you a hitman? lol

virtorio said,
They EU must have more important things to worry about than this.

The EU has also implemented laws banning antibiotics and hormones in cattle and requiring the labelling of genetically modified crops when used in products. Meanwhile over 80% of US cattle are being fed antibiotics and hormones and GM products in the US aren't labelled and can be marketed as "natural".

The EU takes plenty of action, it's just that you don't read about it.

I never said they weren't taking other actions. However I do think that fining Microsoft over an issue they later corrected isn't worth their time.

virtorio said,
I never said they weren't taking other actions. However I do think that fining Microsoft over an issue they later corrected isn't worth their time.

Wasn't the fine this time because their correction wasn't actually implemented on all versions of Windows it should have?

This is outright ridiculous, they are already asking for browser ballots and the OS isnt even released to the general public yet. Why didn't this have to happen for iOS? Why am I FORCED to use safari and Apple will not allow anyone else to use other web APIs? The whole Microsoft bad thing is really ridiculous and this whole anti trust crap is ruining the EU's integrity (if there was any). The whole double standard thing is absolutely ridiculous and I don't know what needs to happen but if the entire board has to be dissolved then so be it.

ingramator said,
This is outright ridiculous, they are already asking for browser ballots and the OS isnt even released to the general public yet.

This isn't about Windows 8. Read the article - it clearly states the issue was with Windows 7 SP1. As for the EU, it has a strong reputation of be tough when dealing with anti-competitive practices - Microsoft certainly isn't the only company to be fined.

WinRT too

theyarecomingforyou said,

This isn't about Windows 8. Read the article - it clearly states the issue was with Windows 7 SP1. As for the EU, it has a strong reputation of be tough when dealing with anti-competitive practices - Microsoft certainly isn't the only company to be fined.

ninja502 said,
where is the web browser menu in osx then ? if microsoft is required then why not other os makers ?

cause no one uses osx or linux. Google and Mozilla are mad that people still choose IE over their **** browsers so they cry and cry till someone includes their crap with windows.

virtorio said,
Because Microsoft have a history of abusing their OS monopoly to push their browser on people, and others don't.

Others dont? lol

virtorio said,
Because Microsoft have a history of abusing their OS monopoly to push their browser on people, and others don't.
Huh? Others don't? I never got any choices on my MacBook Air - at least not in form of a bail-out screen. And on the iPad, it is even worse!

The others don't have a monopoly. And I say history, have you forgotten the actual illegal anti-compeditive activities Microsoft did back in the 90s/2000s?

Lord Method Man said,
They should also make Microsoft give users the option to install Ubuntu or OSX instead.

Yeah... that would be an awesome idea...

Lord Method Man said,
They should also make Microsoft give users the option to install Ubuntu or OSX instead.

Well, the EU did stop anti-competitive bundling practices by Microsoft that prevented Linux from competing, so in a way it did.

Lord Method Man said,
They should also make Microsoft give users the option to install Ubuntu or OSX instead.

LOL,
Microsoft wouldn't mind so long as you pay for your Windows lisence.

Isn't it weird how in America browsers have been able to compete just fine these past 3 or so years...and they didn't even need a ballot screen to do so.

evacc44 said,
Isn't it weird how in America browsers have been able to compete just fine these past 3 or so years...and they didn't even need a ballot screen to do so.

And yet IE has a dramatically higher market share in the US than in EU countries, which just goes to show you how effective the EU antitrust action has been. The weak approach the US took has been damaging for competition.

theyarecomingforyou said,

And yet IE has a dramatically higher market share in the US than in EU countries, which just goes to show you how effective the EU antitrust action has been. The weak approach the US took has been damaging for competition.

You act that as long as anyone uses IE that they must be using it because they don't know of any alternatives... maybe 50% of Americans PREFER IE or need it in their CORPORATE environments.

Lord Method Man said,
I love how the EU seems to think its own citizens are too stupid to figure out how to install a different browser.

Are you suggesting that no American has ever accidentally installed a program that included a toolbar that changes their default homepage and been unable to change it themselves? Please. The reality is that there are a lot of non-tech savvy people in every country that use computers and are exploited by companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple. The EU decided to address the issue.

cant people just go to a website and download it themselves?
Like..really, its not that hard to go to a website and download your own browsers ?
( I dont know the full stories behind this, if you ca, bring upto speed..thanks )

Of course people can but so many are unaware and that allowed Microsoft to build a dominant market position that others couldn't compete with - this was used to promote their own search engines (Live, then Bing), which made them money in an anti-competitive manner. It also allowed Microsoft to ignore web standards, which held back web design for years.

To settle the antitrust action against them Microsoft agreed to the browser ballot but then conveniently disabled it in subsequent updates, pretending it was an innocent mistake. Unsurprisingly the EU found this unacceptable.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Of course people can but so many are unaware and that allowed Microsoft to build a dominant market position that others couldn't compete with - this was used to promote their own search engines (Live, then Bing), which made them money in an anti-competitive manner. It also allowed Microsoft to ignore web standards, which held back web design for years.

To settle the antitrust action against them Microsoft agreed to the browser ballot but then conveniently disabled it in subsequent updates, pretending it was an innocent mistake. Unsurprisingly the EU found this unacceptable.

Once a month we hear about how Chrome and FF numbers have surpassed IE, claiming that IE has less than 50% of the market. But still "so many are unaware"? So in other words, when 50% of the market has made the choice to not use IE, it is not about IE is being forced upon people, it is about trying to force people to use other browsers.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Of course people can but so many are unaware and that allowed Microsoft to build a dominant market position that others couldn't compete with - this was used to promote their own search engines (Live, then Bing), which made them money in an anti-competitive manner. It also allowed Microsoft to ignore web standards, which held back web design for years.

To settle the antitrust action against them Microsoft agreed to the browser ballot but then conveniently disabled it in subsequent updates, pretending it was an innocent mistake. Unsurprisingly the EU found this unacceptable.


The whole thing is ridiculous and ignorant of the direct the web is going in.

Can you imagine if the web ever actually became versatile enough as a platform for applications that the 'browser OS' was an actual, viable thing? Every browser maker in the world would be able to release an OS locked to their own browser and the EU would still expect Microsoft to somehow release an OS that allowed other browsers to be installed.

I wouldn't be surprised if someone someday convinced the EU that Microsoft unfairly locks users out from the "choice" of running Windows with a Linux kernel.

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

Yeah this is just getting ridiculous! The EU should grow up and admit their true goal (to destroy Microsoft)! We aren't stupid! lol

winlonghorn said,

Yeah this is just getting ridiculous! The EU should grow up and admit their true goal (to destroy Microsoft)! We aren't stupid! lol


I'd say you are, very much so. "lol"

Ignoring the fact that Microsoft don't make PCs, I'm sure Apple and the various Linux vendors would be on top of the world if Microsoft pulled Windows out of the EU.

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

Except it isn't acceptable for any company to ignore the law...

Also, the EU API challenge stands to help everyone. Microsoft is locking browsers so bad in Metro that they are effectively stealing the market share back from chrome and Firefox. But I guess your fanboyism makes logic hard...

LogicalApex said,

Except it isn't acceptable for any company to ignore the law...

Also, the EU API challenge stands to help everyone. Microsoft is locking browsers so bad in Metro that they are effectively stealing the market share back from chrome and Firefox. But I guess your fanboyism makes logic hard...

Except that is a load of BS. It's only locked down on Windows RT and that is because all non metro apps are locked out on Windows RT. With a standard version of Windows 8 you can create metro browsers just fine and dandy; they even give special API access to 3rd party Web Browsers.

Also, so you understand this, Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 made for ARM processors (e.g. for tablet devices). You cannot argue in any way shape or form that Microsoft has a monopoly on any handheld device.

LogicalApex said,

Except it isn't acceptable for any company to ignore the law...

Also, the EU API challenge stands to help everyone. Microsoft is locking browsers so bad in Metro that they are effectively stealing the market share back from chrome and Firefox. But I guess your fanboyism makes logic hard...


Well, those devices that are "locking browsers so bad in Metro" aren't even out yet, so, what is your point? Besides that, have you ever bought an "off-the-shelf" computer or laptop lately? Mostly, you'll find Chrome preinstalled along with IE9, done so by the manufacturer. Still, the EU requires that stupid bail-out screen?

I really think if people aren't capable of installing their own browser of choice, they shouldn't be parented by any goverment! What is next? Forcing Microsoft to preinstall Libre Office? After all, Windows is their product and, in a free market, a customer has the choice not to use it and go with a product from the competition.

Call me a fanboy if you wish but be adviced that I am running different Linux distributions on my other computers.

SOOPRcow said,

Except that is a load of BS. It's only locked down on Windows RT and that is because all non metro apps are locked out on Windows RT. With a standard version of Windows 8 you can create metro browsers just fine and dandy; they even give special API access to 3rd party Web Browsers.

Also, so you understand this, Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 made for ARM processors (e.g. for tablet devices). You cannot argue in any way shape or form that Microsoft has a monopoly on any handheld device.

It is illegal to use your monopoly in one market to create a monopoly in another...

By limiting browser API access on ARM MS is running foul of this.

virtorio said,
Ignoring the fact that Microsoft don't make PCs, I'm sure Apple and the various Linux vendors would be on top of the world if Microsoft pulled Windows out of the EU.

Cant wait to have to choose which OS I want when I turn on a PC... Windows, Android or Linux.. they will probably force them for windows 9

LogicalApex said,

It is illegal to use your monopoly in one market to create a monopoly in another...

By limiting browser API access on ARM MS is running foul of this.


There is no more browser market. The greatest achievement of groups like Mozilla and Opera is convincing a governing body that the browser is still a unique, purely standalone application with a respective market that Microsoft, as a major player, is limiting competition in, and that's simply not the case.

In the mid-90s--when the web was just a few years old and we all realized that technology was constantly changing--people saw the web as a stepping stone to the next big thing, and everyone was trying to find new ways to leap forward and away from the web into something more advanced. Netscape was prototyping a browser-based OS, Microsoft was rapidly trying to turn the web into an application platform, push technology was figuring itself out, and anything could've happened.

But somehow, everything went to hell when it was decided that the web's metaphor as it was in 1993 was all it should ever be, and the BROWSER was a sacred piece of software with a market that had to be protected at all costs. It's taken us 20 years for companies to be willing to look beyond the web again.

Every major browser company is evolving into a platform company. The web and the OS are on a collision course and have been for a while. If products like ChromeOS or FirefoxOS take off in any meaningful way, this *entire* discussion becomes completely and utterly moot, and the EU looks like a bunch of fools.

Frankly, how Mozilla and Google can complain about Microsoft building IE into their OS in a way other browsers can't while they're BOTH building OSes in-house that do the *exact same thing* is baffling to me.

Edited by Joshie, Sep 19 2012, 5:10am :

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

I wasn't aware that MS has manufactured all PCs... (actually that they manufacture any PCs...)

Microsoft should install a "dumbed down" Windows on PC's in the EU, with the options of buying an "Anywhere upgrade" for 1c, but only available from onlines stores in the USA, which would turn their PC's into Fully Fledged Windows machines.

Maybe they could also supply a "1c" voucher with the PC's only redeemable at an online store in the USA to do the same thing.

LogicalApex said,

It is illegal to use your monopoly in one market to create a monopoly in another...

By limiting browser API access on ARM MS is running foul of this.


I wasn't aware that apple was being sued for DOING THE EXACT SAME THING on iOS. /sarcasm :-P

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

MS does not violate antitrust law in Russia, so why it should pull out of Europe?

And Google is a monopolist in mobile OS and doesn't have any choice at all, just force users to use stock browser. Should it pull out either?

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

A company should not severely disadvantage me, as a form of protest. Microsoft would be terrible if they did this.

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

It's US counterparts should grow some cohones and start filing suits against Microsoft. And on a side note, I've seen more and more people turning against Microsoft on this site, makes me proud to see so many seeing Microsoft for what they are, an Anti-competitive monopoly that needs to be stopped, and stomped into the ground.

De.Bug said,
Microsoft should pull all PCs out of Europe until they cave and stop filing antitrusts.

It's a good job you aren't running the company then, because it'd be bankrupt by now.

slayr007 said,

I wasn't aware that apple was being sued for DOING THE EXACT SAME THING on iOS. /sarcasm :-P
But they don't have a monopoly do they? Microsoft do, more or less anyway.

It does seem a bit one sided though, I don't know anyone who uses anything but Google to search the web yet there is no fine for the Google site showing chrome ads.

Leonick said,
But they don't have a monopoly do they? Microsoft do, more or less anyway.

It does seem a bit one sided though, I don't know anyone who uses anything but Google to search the web yet there is no fine for the Google site showing chrome ads.


You are telling me Apple doesn't have a monopoly on tablets?

@Leo said,

I'd say you are, very much so. "lol"

You are entitled to your opinion. However, what do you call it when Microsoft corrects all of the issues that the EU complained about in this complaint and the EU still threatens to fine them again!?