Microsoft forced to offer Europeans choice of browsers

By andy

From today, millions of Europeans who use Windows will be given the choice of whether to switch their default browser from Internet Explorer to one of eleven others.

It follows a lengthy legal battle in Europe which has seen Microsoft accused of anti-competitive behaviour because it bundles Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system. This means that many computer users don’t realise there are alternative browsers available — amusing given that many users don’t really appreciate what a ‘browser’ really is.

Us geeks have been switching in droves to alternatives such as Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome, but most ‘standard’ users have stuck with IE out of ignorance.

It’s interesting that Apple, though having a significantly lower market share, hasn’t been officially questioned over its bundling of the Safari browser with OS X.

Windows users who have already switched to another browser won’t be presented with the list of options, which includes Avant, Chrome, Firefox, Flock, Green Browser, K-meleon, Maxthon, Opera, Safari, Sleipnir, Slim — and Internet Explorer of course.

Who’ll benefit the most from this? Browser manufacturers, most likely, and IT helpdesks. For those of us who are unpaid technical support for friends and relatives, it may be a potential headache but at least it forces the issue that it’s generally a good thing to switch away from Internet Explorer.

Whether my mum and dad are going to suddenly dive into using Firefox is another matter — I doubt it somehow.

Interestingly, the list of choices will be randomised to a certain extent, with the big five (Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE) appearing in random order on the first section and the other seven randomly spread out below.

What do you think of this move?


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