Browser

A petition to Microsoft: Give everyone Internet browser Choice Screen

Microsoft will soon give European users a choice of Internet browsers through a Choice Screen. What about the rest of us?

According to a report from CNET's Lance Whitney, the European Union has resolved its Internet Explorer antitrust case against Microsoft and it appears Microsoft will be giving Windows users (at least European ones) an Internet browser buffet. Whitney wrote,

"As part of the settlement, Windows PCs sold in the European Economic Area will now present users with a Choice Screen, allowing them to install alternative browsers beyond Internet Explorer.

The Choice Screen will offer users the ability to install up to 12 of the most widely used Web browsers that run under Windows, including Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera. Users can download as many of the browsers as they wish or stick with Internet Explorer. Additionally, computer makers and users in Europe will be able to turn off IE totally and set up other browsers as the default. As part of the settlement, Microsoft is also prohibited from preventing the choice of different browsers through any contractual or technical means."

While not the best solution for Microsoft, which undoubtedly wants to promote its own Web browser above its competitors, this is a real win for users. I'm not against Microsoft or IE in any way, but I am for choice. I don't want my operating system to restrict me from installing (or uninstalling) an application or to "push" me in a specific direction. (Of course nearly every company does this with their products. Promoting your competitors isn't usually a smart business decision.)

Users not in European Economic Area left out

In a statement about the EU decision, Microsoft wrote:

"It [the browser choice screen] will be provided both to users of new computers and to the installed base of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 computers in Europe where Internet Explorer is set as the default browser."

So my question is this --  If the browser Choice Screen is good enough for European users, what about the rest of us? I want the ability to choose which browser I want during the Windows install. I want the ability to totally turn off IE. Sure, I can already install another browser and set it as the default, but wouldn't the Choice Screen be an easier option?

How to sign the petition

If you're like me and you would like Microsoft to give every Windows user the Choice Screen, you can sign the petition virtually by responding to the discussion thread of this article. Click "Post a Reply" with "Yes" as the title and your name as the body of the message.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

441 comments
evagergely
evagergely

YES -YES - YES - No question Microsoft should give up its monopoly of deciding for me / us. eva

tehpea
tehpea

Could IE be worse?

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

We do not need another choice, all the other broswer beside Internet Explorer software just does not cut it.

D. Bone
D. Bone

We would like a screen to choose the internet browser. We choose our carrier. We choose our software. Just be fair. Thank you.

sarbjit87
sarbjit87

Why to offer this only for Europe?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

many of the respondents are NOT fully aware of the background behind the reason for the choice screen. The EU did NOT insist on a choice screen as their first option, that has been forced upon the EU and MS by MS refusing to de-integrate IE from the OS and offer it as an application to be installed after the OS, the way they did when with the first four version of IE. It was an application to be installed later, and NOT part of the OS, for some years. I still have my CD copy of MSIE 4 I bought to install it on my Windows system of the time. Court cases in the US and the EU have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that MS deliberately built IE into Windows, during the mid 1990s, as part of their campaign to take market share of the browser market off Netscape and cause Netscape to fail as a commercial venture. History has shown that their actions did do this, but the legal system did make them pay up in the end, even though it took a decade to do so and was too late for Netscape. The EU wanted IE removed from the OS and MS refused, but offered to include the options screen so they could get approval to sell within the EU - otherwise that market would have been closed to them. This was the minimum MS could get away with to be allowed to sell Windows within the EU. I find it interesting that MS have gone to the added expense of making two versions so they do NOT have to offer this option to anyone outside the EU. It would be easier and cheaper to make the one version that suits both sales areas, but MS do NOT wish to offer people any choices unless forced to by the government.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Also, a browser should NOT be part of the OS, regardless of if they give other browser options or not.

roger
roger

Roger Searle

pcteky2
pcteky2

At least 50% of all users have no idea what they're doing or what they are using. These are the ones who, when asked what OS they are using say Microsoft Office xx, or when asked what spreadsheet, or word editing program they are using say Microsoft Windows. These are also the same people who have 5 different toolbars installed into every web browser that is installed on their machine and each one of them has a pop-up blocker enabled, which causes God knows how many compatibility problems. I'm sorry, but a very large percentage of users are almost to stupid to be using a computer. For these people Microsoft IE is the best choice, because it is integrated into the OS. By no means am I a dedicated Microsoft flunkie either, but I believe that if you are smart enough to corner 90+ percent of the desktop market you have deserved the right to install your own browser and NOT have to market anyone else's. I cant get a Ford transmission in my GM car and I cant get GM to install a Ford engine in my GM car either. That's just the way it is, but there's nothing stopping me from installing either one myself.

stefano.benni
stefano.benni

I'm a European user (italian) but I think it's right to choose throughout the world stefano

PJL1941
PJL1941

No way - Internet explorer is the best and always has been. I have just tried google chrome - what a waste of time

Rodney.Owen
Rodney.Owen

It seems to me that all these people are arguaing a mute point. Sure IE comes as part of the Windows OS. But this does not stop anyone from using another broweser to surf the Internet. In fact you can use multiple browsers at the same time if that floats your boat. This just seems yet another let me show you how smart an IT person I am by bashing Microsoft. Perhaps we need to learn a bit more about the computers we use before we go shooting our mouths off!!!

firstaborean
firstaborean

As it has been ever since Windows 95, everyone has a choice whether to install another browser or not, and no IT expertise is required. Europe is just responding politically to Opera, who would rather whine than make something so good that a lot of folks would want it. In the U. S., Netscape tried that approach, too. How many persons now choose to install a Netscape browser? The only reason lots of users use Firefox is that it's good. No need to petition anybody or to enlist government agencies really exists. The market (the consumer) rules in the end, anyway.

DamianB76
DamianB76

MS has every right to make the default browser in thier OS whatever they want. It is up to the user, if they do not like the default to get the one they prefer. Next we are going to see MS get sued over having paint as default picture editing program and tell them they have to offer gimp as an alternative. Give me a break people, find something more useful to petition.

cricket4b
cricket4b

Everyone deserves the same choice, why should they have it different in Europe than here. Microsoft should have learned a lesson. Don't force yourself on your "customers". Last time I checked the customer should come first. chris

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

First of all web browsers are pretty easy to install and if your worried about security switch OS it's not the only one out there. Second you know it's a Top Dog scenario if Mac or Linux was the most used OS we would still be have this same blog about it and whats wrong with it. Everybody likes to pick on the Top Dog! Signed: Just an opinion

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

IE will not (not does not, [u]will not[/u]) run under Linux except inside a VM, and even then it has problems. That's my experience running Ubuntu 10.04 with XP inside VirtualBox. Edit: Remember all the reasons MS gave for not being able to remove IE from Windows?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the approved industry standards and not the variations MS have put in place in IE 6 and IE 7 but MS have now moved to the industry standards for IE 8. Mind you, the ones you say can't cut it are the ones that IE copied from, and lost performance in the translation. Or do you mean by 'cut it' they don't have the built in vulnerabilities of IE - in that, case you're correct. All the others a better made, so much so the last three implementations of IE have been poor attempts to catch up with what the others have been doing. Mind you, the others don't need to use predatory marketing practices to get market share, in fact, they get market share despite such practices by MS.

jfbyers
jfbyers

If you owned a company would you? If you don't like IE then install another one and make it the default. Seems to me, that Linux comes pre-loaded with something, why don't they give me an option, like the ability to use IE. Mac comes with something other than IE, wow I what options from them also to run IE. You pay for the carrier, you pay for the OS and Software, its part of the package, if you don't like IE then like I said install another one and make it the default. Simple.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

MS act fairly with other software companies. Especially the ones that created a market MS was NOT interested in until AFTER they saw others making a profit from it, so MS then stole the technology and put it out as their own.

Sparticus_123
Sparticus_123

Look, if you don't like Microsoft quit buying their product. You can get by with the other options out there. Watching this discussion go on is insane, does giving you an option screen make Windows 7 better? No, so get on with your lives.

dwdino
dwdino

... on so many levels. Netscape was a dependent - always a bad place to be. But the overwhelming fact is, if I build it, I can decide what goes in it. If you don't like it, go find another. That is free market. If my choices are hated and my product left on shelves, then I will fail. But I do not have to invest in efforts to create opportunities for my competitors. Like the reference earlier to GM and Ford. Imagine the government stating that all Ford vehicles must present the choice of steering wheels and seats from other manufacturers. c'mon...

stefano.benni
stefano.benni

I'm a European user (italian) but I think it's right to choose throughout the world stefano

pcteky2
pcteky2

Actually Opera is now better than IE in almost every aspect. I would suggest that you install and try out Opera before condemning it. I pretty much run MS everything, but I've started using Opera as my "browser of choice" over the past 6 months. It's faster and has features that no other browser has including Firefox AND it's almost crash proof. I run IE, Firefox, and Opera together everyday and Opera is the only one that does not lockup or crash.

Slayer_
Slayer_

"Hey, take this browser, it's free and you need it to browse the net" Can I use a different browser "Yes, just use this one briefly to go download the browser you want" Cool Honestly people, take braincell 1, rub it against braincell 2, a thought might appear.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Ubuntu gets installed with Firefox - where was my choice?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

choose if you don't like the default browser. Also, Linux does NOT integrate it into the operating system and bump up the price of the operating system for doing so.

Technous285
Technous285

You don't "pay" for the OS nor do you "pay" for the programs (unless they are commercial ones like Cedega), what you DO pay for with Linux (especially Red Hat) is the tech support and cost of CD's to get them and have them shipped out to you (otherwise if you download the version of Linux you want, it'll only cost you about 600MB of bandwidth and a 50c CD). As for the browser Linux comes with, that itself varies if you go with Gnome or KDE (K Desktop Environment), not to mention to change it, it's as easy as opening the package manager, telling it to uninstall Konqueror (or whatever Gnome comes with) and install your favourite browser without ever opening a webpage (done all through a little thing called FTP). Besides, all this stuff about being able to choose a different browser is aimed at Micro$h*t because they're practically a monopoly and such a huge target to aim at in comparison to Apple and the few companies that 'sell' their personalised version of Linux (most of what they're selling the the tech support and contract for support side of stuff).

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the option screen is there, is that it? I don't buy MS products any more, but I do still object to the FUD put out by the MS fan boys and MS. Win 7 has nothing new and is no better than half the earlier versions of Windows, so what - MS = GIGO with plenty of GI.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

apply it fully to what MS are doing and being brought up short on here. MS promote Windows as an Operating System, which is: - An operating system (OS) is an interface between hardware and user which is responsible for the management and coordination of activities and the sharing of the resources of a computer, that acts as a host for computing applications run on the machine. As a host, one of the purposes of an operating system is to handle the resource allocation and access protection of the hardware. This relieves application programmers from having to manage these details. Yet MS Windows then goes on to include applications within it, and charges a lot more for doing so. Now, lets take that to the motor vehicles. MS Windows is the equivalent of Ford and GM putting out a four wheel drive one and a half tonne truck with utility tray, boosted suspension, heavy duty off road tyres, bull bar, tow bar, revolving orange light on top, hydraulic lifter at the front of the tray, CB radio, police scanner, fishing rod holders, roof bars, and sun roof and then marketing it as a basic city or estate car. It then uses it economic might to interfere with anyone making anything else from making cars like little hatchbacks or basic sedans, and anyone who makes the sort of accessories MS puts on their vehicle from making them to fit to MS vehicles. On another tack on the same analogy line, the government already tells GM and Ford how to make cars and what to put in them as there are whole swags of government regulations as to what they can put in a vehicle and call it a car, another lot on what they can call a light truck, and lots more on different types of trucks. There are industry standards about what constitutes an Operating System and how it should talk to the hardware, and MS violates those standards all the time. We should have the standards supported by hard laws, the same way we do for motor vehicles, if we did, all the stuff MS is getting into trouble for would be automatic fines for doing and not allowed to sell.

chippsetter
chippsetter

Careful, the US Government might decide to do just that to make use of their GM and Chrysler branches of government.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]...take braincell 1, rub it against braincell 2, a thought might appear. [/i] Thoughts require synapses, not just synapse. :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

MS offered the browser choice screen in the EU to avoid a fine of quite a few Euros. To be honest, most private users I know don't even know there's an alternative to IE. A good many of them, in fact, just refer to IE as 'the Internet'. To most of them, discussions about alternate browsers are just so much noise, much the same as listening to car fanatics debate carburetor size or fuel injector capacity.

Shaunny Boy
Shaunny Boy

Let's be fair. Understandably, there is a lot of hate for M$, and it's not because (or just because) Mr Gates once had the fattest wallet. There are fundamental problems with Win OS, which has been I suppose regrettably has be introduced, integrated and embedded, namely Explorer. On the flipside however, there are numerous OS that also have pre-installed web browsers, most popular alternatives being Linux, Tiger OS, and we can extend this on to mobile devices, such as the iPad and iPhone... or how about the ever stringent Apple Marketplace?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

When McDonald's offered the double cheeseburger, they charged more for it, but still offered the standard cheeseburger at a price lower than the double. What if they just upped the charge and put the extra slice on, and told you that's it bud, that's the way it comes? We decide it's going to get more on it and charge you more, and you can't take it off at all. Unlike MS, McDonald's allows you to have it without the onion, if you want. You just try and get Windows with IE totally removed, not just the icon taken off - can't do it. And they didn't throw IE in there for free, they tacked a bit more onto the price, just like McDonald's do for the extra slice of cheese on the double cheeseburger.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

With bumping up the price is hilarious. If I go to McDonald's and order a double cheeseburger, but I tell them to hold the onions do you think they'll discount the price of my double cheeseburger? I guess, with your twisted logic, McDonald's is screwing me over since they've decided that everyone wants/needs onions and have included that into the price and there's nothing I can do to avoid it. I'm starting a petition to sue McDonalds...freaking monopoly!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

(or would) come up with when told by the EU courts to totally remove IE from Windows or they wouldn't be allowed to sell Windows in Europe. After much diplomatic work, they got the EU to accept leaving IE integrated in Win 7 and putting the option screen in. Having done that, I don't see why they couldn't make that available to everyone, except it would mean allowing people in the US to have some choice as well, and that's against the MS ideology in their unlawful EULA and Trusted Computing concept.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Since it doesn't remove the integration. i wouldn't be surprised if it does nothing more than delete the IE icon from your desktop. Afterall a lot of programs still rely on it. I still click the new postings in programs and have it randomly fire IE even though Orca is my default. At work we use IE integrated into your system so that we can auto browse websites to get information that we can't grab system to system.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

at all, but there is no reason why the company that provides the operating system cannot provide them to be installed AFTER the operating system is installed. However, the applications should NEVER be installed as apart of the operating system and inside the security barrier, as this will leave the whole system open to many vulnerabilities of many types - as seen with Win 98, Win 2000, Win XP, etc. If all those apps you mention above are, in your view, needed to qualify as an operating system, then MS Windows has not provide an Operating system before Win 7. Actually, advocating an OS to have all those apps as part of the OS itself is like saying the only vehicle that should be sold is a five berth Winnebago, as it has all the accessories you could ever want in a vehicle.

chippsetter
chippsetter

Most home users really only do email, websurf, and basic stuff and do NOT want to have to go buy more stuff.

dwdino
dwdino

I am not looking for "just the engine". I want a complete vehicle. If I need to customize or add options, I can do so. But the "Operating System" should provide most basic needs - browsing, basic document, basic imaging, basic audio/video, basic etc. Onto that I can add advanced imaging, advanced document capabilities, etc. I think most users, if presented with "just an OS", would walk away. The basic expectations have risen.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

wheel turns, the seat you sit on, the drive shaft, and the chassis all that's connected to. Yet Windows, the operating system, is supposed to be ONLY the engine for you to place in a chassis and attach the rest to after you buy it from elsewhere. I suppose to take the Windows car analogy to the most exact level you would need to compare Windows to a Cummins engine and not a car from Ford.

dwdino
dwdino

I have yet to find any of that in my version of Windows 7. All I got was the steering wheel. Darn.

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