For the next five years, Microsoft will be serving an update to all supported Windows clients in an attempt to promote end user choice when it comes down to the default browser associated with the operating system.
The European Antitrust Commission accepted a solution proposed by Microsoft, designed to boost competition on the web browser market on December 16th 2009, noting that the decision it adopted renders legally binding commitments offered by the software giant.
The Redmond company will offer a Choice Screen to Windows users in Europe via Windows Update, allowing them to choose Internet Explorer, or a rival product, as the default browser of their platform.
“Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which web browser they use. Such choice will not only serve to improve people’s experience of the internet now but also act as an incentive for web browser companies to innovate and offer people better browsers in the future,” Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes says.
Via the Choice Screen, EEA customers will have the ability to select one or multiple items from a list of up to a dozen web browsers, including Internet Explorer, but also Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera.
In addition, original equipment manufacturers will have a choice of whether to turn IE on or off, and install another default browser instead, with Microsoft getting no say in this.
Windows 7 already allows users to switch IE8 off and on, and it’s bound that Windows 8 will feature similar functionality.