As reported earlier this week, Microsoft has submitted a proposal to the EU regarding a ballot system to be included with Windows 7 that will allow European customers to choose their browser upon installation.
The EU was insistent that including IE with Windows by the Redmond Corporation had been violating user’s rights in all of their past operating systems and wanted to see multiple options included in all of Microsoft’s currently supported operating systems; it appears that the Commission will have their way.
In a recently released report outlining the proposal, Microsoft has included the follow statement:
“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 under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003. For Windows 7, the Ballot Screen update will first be made available to users by the date of the general commercial release of Windows 7, or within two weeks of the adoption of the Commission’s decision under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003, whichever comes later. For Windows Client PC Operating Systems after Windows 7, the Ballot Screen update will first be made available at the general commercial release date of such an operating system.”
What specific browsers available via the ballot system is still yet to be released, there are some general guidelines in the report. Up to 10 competing browsers, that have more than .5% of the European market share will be included. This could see the return of the Netscape browser, and inclusion of Apple’s Safari PC version. Opera clearly expects to be included as they were the original source that brought the IE scandal to the EU’s attention. The company also adamantly states that they oppose the use of logo’s in the ballot system, as it gives IE an unfair advantage due to its familiarity.
The Commission has yet to official accept the offer, but as far as one can tell, the submitted plan is exactly what they were looking for and should help Microsoft avoid another billion dollar fine.
The full proposal can be downloaded here