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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