Microsoft was playing hard ball with the European antitrust officials in the early stages of their browser anti-trust charges by saying that they would rather ship Windows 7 with no browser than ship one with a ballot screen. Microsoft might have been testing the water but there is no way they are releasing an operating system with no browser which was always included in all their systems since they challenged Netscape over a decade ago.
Just last week, Microsoft has finally come to terms with itself and decided that they are releasing Windows with a “ballot screen” where users would have the option to choose the browser they want to use.
In Microsoft’s proposal, a “ballot screen” would not only be available in Windows 7 but they are including this in their other operating systems — Windows XP and Windows Vista.
The ballot screen proposal suggest that Microsoft only include 10 or less than of “the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows…”.
In an excerpt of the proposal:
“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.”
The rest of the proposal can be read here — Microsoft Ballot Screen Proposal.