Win7 Euro Edition to Offer Choice of 12 Browsers
It looks almost certain that Microsoft will be redesigning European editions of Windows 7 and its predecessors to offer users a clearer choice of which Internet browser they'd like to use. However, the changes won't be introduced until well past the October 22 launch of the new operating system (OS).
The European Union will soon begin official testing of a menu system designed by Microsoft. The new menu is meant to answer criticisms that the Redmond-based firm has an unfair advantage by including Internet Explorer as the only browser shipped with Windows. If approved, it could mean the company escapes any punishment stemming from the EU's investigation into whether this browser bundling breaches competition rules.
Microsoft to Offer 12 Browsers
Under the proposed system, when people use a new Windows computer for the first time, they'll see a page explaining what a browser is. The user will then be presented with a list of 12 browsers, each with a link to information about what it offers. The user can choose to either install one browser or to install several browsers and designate one as their default option.
Browser Choice to Boost Market Share
The 12 browsers will be the ones with the most market share across Europe. That's something of a surprise, since many had expected only the five most successful browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera) would be included. The decision appears to be a way of appeasing other browser firms who felt the gap in market share would simply be exacerbated by the scheme. (Source: europa.eu)
Interestingly, a demonstration screenshot shown by the EU only displays the five main browsers on screen at once, with the rest accessible by scrolling a horizontal toolbar. This doesn't appear to be coincidence as the five appear in alphabetical order, which would suggest they are being given a deliberate advantage rather than the entire list simply appearing in order of market share. (Source: channelregister.co.uk)
If and when the EU approves the scheme, it will be up to two months later before it starts to appear in new copies of Microsoft operating systems. That should give the company time to clear existing stock of Windows 7, both in boxed copies and on unsold computers.