Microsoft no longer forced to offer web browser choices

19th December 2014

A rule forcing Microsoft to offer new Windows users in Europe options for web browsers has come to an end, five years after it was introduced.

The so called Browser Ballot had forced Microsoft to give as much prominence to non-Microsoft browsers such as Firefox and Chrome on Windows as it does to Internet Explorer (IE).

The deal had supposedly been about giving Windows users choice, and was drawn up in 2009 after rivals of Microsoft complained that because IE was bundled with Windows it gave the browser an unfair advantage.

The Browser Ballot was agreed on 16th December 2009 and was first seen on copies of Windows in March 2010. It was only shown in Europe on either new PCs running Windows XP, Vista and 7, or on computers when a new copy of those versions of Windows was installed. News that the browser choice system was ending was announced by a service update posted on Microsoft’s support site, giving advice to system administrators on how to turn off the ballot screen.

At the time of the requirement coming in to force, it is believed that around 70% of people in Europe used IE. It is now estimated that the figure has declined to between 20 and 25% of people accessing the internet from a desktop PC. Around 20% are believed to use Mozilla Firefox, with Google’s Chrome browser, which was only released in 2008 and has been heavily promoted by Google, believed to be the most popular web browser with around 50% of the market share.

ECL is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist. For help and advice relating to Microsoft products or other IT or computer related issues, please visit http://www.computer-support-essex.co.uk/ or call us on 01268 575300.

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