Microsoft offers glimpse of ballot system in Windows 7
In the same blog post that Microsoft vice president Dave Heiner revealed the company was abandoning Windows 7 E edition in Europe, he also confirmed what the ballot system would look like (click on the picture, left).
“The ballot screen would make it obvious to Windows users that they have a variety of choices when it comes to Web browsing software,” claimed Heiner.
According to Heiner’s post, users will simply to have to click a link that will “connect users directly to the appropriate Web servers to download the various browsers”.
There are a number of things to note about this system, not least of which being that it’s still a proposal – the EU hasn’t yet accepted it, even if its initial response was positive.
Note, for example, that Internet Explorer 8 remains in prime position. It appears that Microsoft has chosen the order in which they appear to match current market share, with Mozilla Firefox in second place, Safari in third, Google Chrome fourth and Opera fifth.
There also appear to be placeholders for other web browsers, though these aren’t named.
Heiner’s post also suggests users will be offered this browser choice “shortly after new Windows PCs are set up by the user”.
Interestingly, if a user has another web browser set up as a default then they won’t be offered the ballot screen.
Coupled with the fact that PC and laptop manufacturers are free to select their own choice of web browser as the default at time of shipping, this could lead to a bidding war by, say, Google to ensure Chrome is in place.
As such, it would be in an even more powerful position than Internet Explorer, as users won’t be prompted to select an alternative.
The ballot screen, Heiner confirms, won’t just be applicable to new PCs, but will be confined to Europe.
“If our proposal is accepted by the Commission, we will update Windows XP and Windows Vista machines throughout Europe with the consumer ballot screen.
“Once installed, the consumer ballot screen will work as described above – users with IE set as their default will be presented with the browser choices, others won’t.”