European Vista and XP to get browser ballot screen too

Microsoft has confirmed that it will be distributing a ballot screen software update to users, in Europe, of Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Last week Neowin reported that Microsoft has proposed the idea of a ballot screen to the EU. European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a 'ballot screen' from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web. If this proposal is ultimately accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world.

Mary Jo Foley noticed that hidden in the fine print of the proposal details, Microsoft confirms this will be available for XP and Vista via a Windows Update.

"Microsoft will distribute a Ballot Screen software update to users within the EEA of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Client PC Operating Systems, by means of Windows Update as described hereafter: A software update enabling the Ballot Screen to be displayed will be made available to all current and future users of Windows XP and Windows Vista who receive updates from Windows Update. For Windows XP and Windows Vista users the Ballot Screen update will first be made available between 3 and 6 months after the adoption of the Commission's decision."

Microsoft is proposing that the ballot screen includes 10 or fewer of "the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the EEA (European Economic Area)." The browser choice will be presented with a display of icons and "basic identifying information" on the Web browsers.

Opera not happy

The decision has once again upset Opera who originally complained to the EU about Microsoft's inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows. According to TechFlash Opera's chief technology officer, Hakon Wium Lie, suggested that displaying the IE logo could result in a natural bias toward Internet Explorer. "We're not sure about the use of logos," Lie said. "The blue 'e' has become so associated with the Internet in general, due to the bundling with Windows. We think using the blue "e" might not be such a good idea." The European commission has welcomed the changes Microsoft has proposed.


Image credit: Microsoft

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how much of that blue do you think opera will get?... i bet on a max on 1% - thats everyone who works in their company lol

What's kinda weird, is that they make you choose one. You should be able to check which ones you'd like. Through the times I've used Firefox, but never without IE in backhand for the sites not working in FF. Nowadays I use Chrome though, and for the first time, I'm considering to uninstall IE.

I am going to open up a web site to collect signatures of people who agree that not only Windows, but all operating systems should have this facility.

Hakon Wium Lie should shoot himself They should look into other avenues of generating revenue rather than bashing on Microsoft. Give people a chance to hold your finger and they will climb on your arm and **** in your ear.

I think its nitresting that the EU finally agreed with something MS did... at least IE will be installed on all PC's which is good

0.5% market share to earn a place on the ballot screen is very lenient. The required market share should be 1.5% or 2% or more!! I know Opera would be out of the question, but with their low market share they don't really deserve a place on the ballot screen.
That's all beside the point that Microsoft shouldn't have to make a ballot screen to start with.

LOL why is soo many people angry with Opera? i don't really get it .. if firefox logo was blue trust me they done the same thing as Opera .. I am using opera from v3 till now .. i like it and is the best. About FF and other browsers who stole lots of functions or idea of Opera .. Do u people know that? Tab browsing? search bar? and more..

Think first and talk later..

Cheers

Cashtro: Tab browsing is first used in Netcaptor (which is an IE shell browser), second seen of Tabbed browsing was IBrowse (an Amiga Browser) and third is myIE (IE shell browser) and now you are telling Tabbed Browsing is Opera's idea. For God's sake, do some research will you

+1
They don't like the fact that IE will have to compete on a feature set basis rather than being given a dominant market-share by the MS desktop monopoly. Hehe it's hilarious to watch them all get themselves into a lather over it.

Eastwind said,
Cashtro: Tab browsing is first used in Netcaptor (which is an IE shell browser), second seen of Tabbed browsing was IBrowse (an Amiga Browser) and third is myIE (IE shell browser) and now you are telling Tabbed Browsing is Opera's idea. For God's sake, do some research will you

+1

LoveThePenguin said,
+1
They don't like the fact that IE will have to compete on a feature set basis rather than being given a dominant market-share by the MS desktop monopoly. Hehe it's hilarious to watch them all get themselves into a lather over it.

I think the two of you were paid by opera to come point these things out lol

Without logos some might not know what Opera is, lol.. I think the logos make sense to stay.
I guess some are never happy. Opera should just make their logo say, Internet!

Nice Opera....I would say those most likely to use Opera are those with an interest in computers since an everyday user will just stick with IE. So what is Opera's plan to get more share? **** every single tech enthusiast off by being idiots.

stupid stupid stupid. microsoft shouldnt have to do this crap. first thing i do when i do a clean install is install firefox. what a waaste.

Some people are comparinf Linux and Apple to MS, saying why isn't Apple punished for budling Safari, etc.

There is a very simple reason for this. Microsoft have been punished before for using their dominant position with operating systems to push their other software. This is called abusing a monopoly. Neither Apple or anyone else except for Microsoft are abusing a monopoly on one area to gain market share in another, which is what Microsoft were fined for.

I have used Opera since 2.10 (yep, the demo/beta days), they just lost a loyal user. You gonna bitch about a god damn logo? Seriously? For damn sakes, it's there OS they shouldn't have to include there competitors browsers, but they do anyway, and now you bitch about there logo?

HardSide said,
I have used Opera since 2.10 (yep, the demo/beta days), they just lost a loyal user. You gonna bitch about a god damn logo? Seriously? For damn sakes, it's there OS they shouldn't have to include there competitors browsers, but they do anyway, and now you bitch about there logo?

Some companies (like Opera), are gonna bitch just for the sake of bitching. They want a bigger piece of the pie, but they don't want to have to work to get the bigger piece. Even if Internet Explorer is the default browser in all Windows operating systems since Windows 98, it is no longer the most popular browser to use.

So I really don't get what the whole problem is. Did the guys behind Firefox make a browser that was too superior to Opera's attempt?

Whatever Opera is doing is all ****ty ? But, in this world of competition a chance should be given so in that sense what Opera is doing is ok. Second thing is when IE is already installed it shouldn't be listed over there @ all. Anyway a person who is bored of selecting / downloading other browser can use the "Select Later" option.
Microsoft knows very well whats the outcome of all these things then also they somehow try to irritate Opera by putting them last and IE first. For balancing the things they can keep order as lower to higher according to % usage in EU / Or it will be always Random on page refresh. I just want to see that these things end once and for all. I don't want anymore news on this topic. It feels very cheap.

We're talking about a company that's complaining about the Internet Explorer icon. It doesn't even matter which order they place them in, they're still going to bitch.

dead.cell said,
We're talking about a company that's complaining about the Internet Explorer icon. It doesn't even matter which order they place them in, they're still going to bitch.

MS's same old tricks - reinforce familiarity to impede choice.

@dead.cell - Yups! they are pointing to the icon coz they don't want it to be there actually. A novice user who even doesn't know much about computer would definitely go with something written like "Windows Internet Explorer" for sure, so this puts the Opera's efforts in vain.

I use IE (Default) and Firefox as per my needs. Never use Opera I don't like that browser.

@LoveThePenguin +1

opera are a bunch of bitches!

if their browser was good enough to have the masses using it, theyd be using it.
there's a clear reason why no one uses it, even with all the publicity theyve got over the past few months for them crying over IE coming with windows, barely anyone has made a jump too it.
i tried it because of all this, and didnt like it.
it's not microsofts fault.

it's clearly unfair on MS, and the people that couldnt give a **** and just want to use their browser.

Opera will not be satisified until their browser is the default browser on Windows....... they are nothing but a bunch of whiney little children and need to grow up or get out

I wish Opera would stop moaning. Perhaps if they produced a better browser, then it would have a larger market share. Firefox doesn't seem to have this problem.

MS should set a base of 2% market share before balloting the browser. They need to do something to rub Operas nose in it.

Septimus said,
MS should set a base of 2% market share before balloting the browser. They need to do something to rub Operas nose in it.

The EC makes those decisions, not MS.

Wait, how do you view that ballot screen if you don't have a browser installed, and if you do have IE8 installed already then how can you install it again?

I hope they change the look of that ballot screen too because right now it looks very ugly.

Because components of IE will be in there which are used by many other applications for web access (eg. like Maxthon browser or in-application browsers etc.)

Elessar said,
This is really making Opera look bad, and the domino effect from all of this could be huge.

Yup - sad to say I agree - this is a step too far really. Opera (the browser) itself is a pretty good product and the mobile version is very good indeed so it's a shame when politics come into play and reflect badly on the tech. We can already see the effect in the replies in this thread - instantly. Bum.

My question is, is why is Apple not being b****ed at for bundling its software into OSX?

They ship it with a messenger, a browser, a media player, ect. but it is Microsoft that gets in trouble for it. If the EU is going to force Microsoft to give customers a choice on browsers and media players or take the browser and media player out completely then they need to make Apple do so as well. I get Microsoft has the majority of the market share, but you can't punish one and not the other. It would be like you have a popular guy and a nerd and they both kill someone but because the nerd is less popular he gets away with murder while the popular guy goes to jail.

I do feel the EU is trying to hard to hurt Microsoft and is actually trying to control the markets. Which isn't that illegal? Yeah, there has to be some control but the control the EU is using is down right an abuse of power. What are they going to tell Microsoft next? They can't bundle internet capabilities with Windows? They can't bundle Paint, Notpad, or games with Windows?

I really don't get the problem...

It's Microsoft's operating system, they can include whatever the hell they want in it. So what if Opera thinks its "unfair". Why don't they whine about Linux including Firefox, or MacOS including Safari browsers?

Better yet: Make your own goddamn operating system, Opera! And quit screwing things up for the rest of us.

i don't think this is a gd idea tho for MS or the EU. but if they make this universal (i.e. MS, APPLE and all LINUX distros) then its completely a biased "ruling" from the EU

That's some stupid moves from Opera I used to hold it high in my list and respect it but whining about everything isn't good.
Better spend time to improve the program.

What about Opera, K-Meleon, heck why isn't Lynx in there? There's going to be a whole list of companies who want to get in on this, and any attempt to prevent them from being on the list hurts competition, where this whole thing is being done in the name of competition.

I sent an email to Opera's PR people yesterday telling them this whole BS is very quickly backfiring in alot of discussion groups.

I wonder if she will respond. **mental note: don't hold breath**

I think the ballot screen is a good compromise although I disagree with the whole "IE shouldn't be installed by default".

The look of the ballot screen, however, is horrible. Why not get the flashy Microsoft Silverlight/web designers to do some cool swishy WPF app/widget that shows a randomly ordered carousel of browsers with links to their websites?
Opera's comments are laughable, what do they expect, a text based list with Opera at the top no doubt? It doesn't matter how it is presented, IE, whether rightly or wrongly, is what the majority of people use on the 'net and is synonymous with web browsing to most people regardless of whether an logo is shown.
I would like to see Opera to produce a mock-up example and see how that compares, instead of all this baby whining.

As far as I know Silverlight is still an optional download and can't be installed on older computers, would silly to make it all flashy.

I'd prefer something that was quick and simple than something flashy.


Until their logo looks something like this, or Microsoft hand delivers them a large paycheck each week, they will never be happy.

Opera's chief technology officer, Hakon Wium Lie, suggested that displaying the IE logo could result in a natural bias toward Internet Explorer. "We're not sure about the use of logos," Lie said. "The blue 'e' has become so associated with the Internet in general, due to the bundling with Windows. We think using the blue "e" might not be such a good idea."


FACEPALM.
Dude, I swear, I will NEVER touch an Opera product EVER again.

Pharos said,

FACEPALM.

Dude, I swear, I will NEVER touch an Opera product EVER again.


+1.. will never happen.. opera sucks.. big time.. ugly UI, ugly browser...FF all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only reason Opera is making a stink is because they wanted to use windows as a launchpad to increase their market share. Now they're nervous because the ballot screen displays many other browser choices that are ALL better than Opera's piece of **** browser.

They will never stop whining.....until they go out of business for being crap.

They wanted a level playing field. We aren't quite there yet, but progress is being made. Long live the EU! Lets hope the DOJ take similar action in the US.

I believe Opera has a fair point: if the ballot screen looks like the screenshot, it's already in IE.

That quite reasonably would lead most users to use that browser immediately. The icon is used twice, and the title bar says "Windows Internet Explorer".

The sensible choice from my point of view is for it to be designed as a native Windows app, in the general style of Windows Update.

Microsoft should put a condition on this--Mac OS and Linux need to also give this ballot...otherwise this is bull****.

Opera might have a point with the blue E. I mean when you see that, you think "Internet Explorer" and the Firefox logo is also pretty well known as well. When you see their O, you think "Oh... that Opera ****"

".....you see their O, you think "Oh... that Opera ****"........"

Exactly, if you publish a ****ty product, you get a ****ty image stuck with it. It's noone elses fault their brand is worthless.

Roadrunna said,
Opera might have a point with the blue E. I mean when you see that, you think "Internet Explorer"

When I see the blue 'E' I naturally think drive-by-malware...

Please go bankrupt Opera. Or MS buy them out and just shut down all production.

I use to pay for Opera when it was just IE6. It was good back in the day.

I will always have a small love for Opera - I bought the software when it was in its "buy me" phase as I thought it was pretty damn good. All my mates refused to use it though as you had to pay for it. Then came along Firefox and, to be fair, those people never gave Opera a second glance.

Fast forward to 2009 and I have started using Chrome and FF (FF more so). I tried Opera again but some web site just wouldn't load (by that, I mean, they just seemed incredibly slow compaerd to other browsers).

Now they're biotching about logos and blah blah blah. Well, like other, they seriously have to improve their product, and Microsoft are doing them a huge favour just by including them on the list.

nothin2seehere said,
and Microsoft are doing them a huge favour just by including them on the list.

Favour? It's called a "level playing field". Some just can't accept true competition.

Yeah it means they'll here on be known as a bunch of cry babies who would rather have big brother make someone else introduce their product to consumers rather than building a better product and fighting for market share like Firefox does.

Tim Dawg said,
Yeah it means they'll here on be known as a bunch of cry babies who would rather have big brother make someone else introduce their product to consumers rather than building a better product and fighting for market share like Firefox does.

We'll see who's crying when IE has to actually compete on equal terms (assuming MS don't try and fix it).

Well, thanks to Opera I will blacklist their IP. I dont want to hear any more bull****s from them.

PS. I am from Europe.

toki said,
Well, thanks to Opera I will blacklist their IP. I dont want to hear any more bull****s from them.

PS. I am from Europe.


I'm disappointed, I was expecting: "I'm from europe, use linux, support FOSS, use firefox, don't like MS especially, but..."

Why am I not surprised that Opera keeps whining? Oh, maybe because they constantly been doing that the last year(s).

fobban said,
Why am I not surprised that Opera keeps whining? Oh, maybe because they constantly been doing that the last year(s).

Perhaps because they and the other 3rd party browser vendors have a legitimate grievance?

I think it's time to set up a campaign/website to ask Europe to do the same to for example Apple & Linux.

What with the - most of the time - preinstalled FireFox on Linux
What about iTunes in MacOSX (versus Media Player in Windows, remember the Vista Business N edition)
What about the preinstalled browser in MacOSX

If people using Windows have to choose the browser well other OS'es should do the same...

I really don't get it, you can disable IE in windows 7, you can use install and use another browser... why do they have to promote other non microsoft products?

nifke said,
I think it's time to set up a campaign/website to ask Europe to do the same to for example Apple & Linux.

What with the - most of the time - preinstalled FireFox on Linux
What about iTunes in MacOSX (versus Media Player in Windows, remember the Vista Business N edition)
What about the preinstalled browser in MacOSX

Indeed, if anticompetitivness is the aim, apply restrictions to Apple too!

LanMan874 said,

Indeed, if anticompetitivness is the aim, apply restrictions to Apple too!

You can remove firefox in most linux installs during the install.

Actually Microsoft should do this for all copies, in other countries.

nifke said,
I think it's time to set up a campaign/website to ask Europe to do the same to for example Apple & Linux.

Let me know when they have a monopoly and abuse it k?

nifke said,
What with the - most of the time - preinstalled FireFox on Linux

No. My Kubuntu 9.04 came bundled with Konqueror thank you very much!

nifke said,
What about iTunes in MacOSX (versus Media Player in Windows, remember the Vista Business N edition)
What about the preinstalled browser in MacOSX

What part of desktop OS monopoly don't you understand? Need me to draw a picture for you?

nifke said,
If people using Windows have to choose the browser well other OS'es should do the same...

More of the same F.U.D, Yawn...

nifke said,
I really don't get it, you can disable IE in windows 7, you can use install and use another browser... why do they have to promote other non microsoft products?

Could you completely remove IE in win95, 98, nt, 2000, xp, or vista? I'll answer that one for you: NO
Do you think it's a coincidence that seven will allow you to do that bearing in mind that the EC are prosecuting MS for abuses of their monopoly, and the DOJ will most likely follow suit? I'll answer that one for you: NO

What about the announced Chrome OS, which is built around the chrome browser? Surely they state that you can install whichever browser you like, but it most definately will ship with Crome.

I like the way Google thinks innovatively. "If people don't use our browser on MS's OS, we'll have to make our own". Those Opera People will allways be whining, because they simply can't think of a way to promote their product, that's why they make MS do it.

I Can't believe EU is actually restraining MS's rights to deliver a feature-complete OS. What is an OS without a browser? They might as well force MS to drop all built-in features, like Media Player (Which for sure has had its isssues), Paint, WordPad, Notepad, Solitaire, etc... Windows has been shipped with IE since 95. Firefox has made a successful effort to gain users, Opera have not.

read :

Microsoft will distribute a Ballot Screen software update to users within the EEA of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Client PC Operating Systems, by means of Windows Update as described hereafter...

seriously...opera is losing my respect to them day by day...come on...it just a bloody icon...if your browser is good...there will definitely be people using them. instead of wasting time to complain perhaps it will be better spend in improving Opera itself. or maybe just change to be a blue logo too...

Just look how many times their icon appears in that mock-up. Are you seriously saying that wont influence any decision? MS are clearly taking a lead on this issue to try and maintain an edge. Whether that means placing their browser in first place in the list or just bombarding the user with the blue icon propaganda.

It's a mock-up. They used IE to take the screenshot because the mock-up was put together quickly in HTML. The final version will probably run inside of a help window so there will be no IE branding.

TCLN Ryster said,
There's only one type of "cheese" I'd be willing to give to Opera ;)

Chedder?

On a serious note - I couldn't really give a monkeys what they do, I'll be downloading the latest Firefox release as soon as Win7 is installed anyway.

They said any browser with at least 0.5% market share will be included, Netscape still holds 0.56% market share and some sources quote it a high as 0.7%.

thealexweb said,
They said any browser with at least 0.5% market share will be included, Netscape still holds 0.56% market share and some sources quote it a high as 0.7%.

That means also

IE6
IE7
Firefox 2 and 1

And probably ie5 too :D.. Hopefully they will use the latest version of each browser...

lunamonkey said,
You'd have to assume they'd only link to browsers that are currently supported. (Or hope at least) :p


The word document that is linked to above (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/eu-msft/docs/07-24-09Commitment.doc) says:

"In addition, if a browser̢۪s usage share is among the top 10, but that browser is no longer actively offered by its vendor, that browser will not be included in the Ballot Screen."

MrFuji said,
Some people will never be satisfied.... *looksatoperaguys*

Well it's a fair argument. Displaying the ballot screen inside of IE is also highly questionable and likely to bias any end user decision, not to mention the 1st place position of IE in the list!

And how can anyone read IE's description with a straight face? Safer? Safer than what? It's doubtless the most insecure browser that has ever been written.

LoveThePenguin said,
Well it's a fair argument. Displaying the ballot screen inside of IE is also highly questionable and likely to bias any end user decision, not to mention the 1st place position of IE in the list!

And how can anyone read IE's description with a straight face? Safer? Safer than what? It's doubtless the most insecure browser that has ever been written.

Fully agree, the IE description is absolutely ludicrous.

Lord Ba'al said,
Fully agree, the IE description is absolutely ludicrous.

Maybe, but 99% of the web agrees that Opera's description is horse manure, so......