Microsoft tweaks browser ballot as EU antitrust deal nears
Rivals' complaints lead to randomized choices; EU may approve changes Dec. 15, ending case
Computerworld - Microsoft has revamped the browser ballot screen demanded by European Union antitrust regulators and may get final approval as early as Dec. 15, a source familiar with the case told Computerworld today.
As first reported Thursday by the Bloomberg news service, Microsoft modified the ballot screen after rivals, including Opera Software and Mozilla, demanded changes. Last month, Opera, Mozilla and Google, which make the Opera, Firefox and Chrome browsers, respectively, submitted change requests to the European Commission, asking that the order of the browsers be randomized and that the ballot be displayed in its own application, not in Internet Explorer.
The EU's antitrust case, which kicked off last January, had been sparked by complaints filed by Opera in December 2007, when the Norwegian browser maker accused Microsoft of shielding IE from real competition by bundling it with Windows. To level the playing field, the commission wants Microsoft to let consumers decide which browser they use.
According to the source, who asked not to be identified because the terms of the settlement have not been officially approved, the top five browsers -- IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Apple's Safari -- will appear in random order each time the ballot is displayed.
Mozilla had been the most vocal about how the ballot would display choices. Last month, for example, Jenny Boriss, a Firefox user experience designer, denigrated the ballot's layout and said that it gave IE more than three times the space than rivals' browsers because the ballot would be displayed within Internet Explorer.
Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's chief technology officer, agreed with Mozilla that randomizing the browsers on the ballot would be a better solution than Microsoft's original idea, which was to list them alphabetically by maker, a move that would put Apple's Safari in the preferred left-hand position. "Alphabetizing would just lead to opportunistic naming," Lie said in early November. "We could call ourselves AAA Browser Maker and get the first spot."
Lie also supported other changes, including removing the ballot from the framework of IE -- Microsoft's proposal would craft an HTML page to display the ballot, which would then appear inside its own browser -- and assurances that Microsoft would disable any security warning when people picked a browser to download and install. "The general security warning that you get prior to a binary download should not appear," Lie said last month.
It's unclear what other changes, if any, have been made to the ballot as proposed in October.
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!