Your Views: Microsoft's browser choice

browser ballot

Bowing to EU pressure, Microsoft has announced plans to advertise competing browsers to its users, ditching plans to ship a European version of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer.

The "browser ballot" will present a webpage to Internet Explorer users, showing them alternatives to Microsoft's own browser in the hopes of appeasing competition regulators at the European Commission.

We asked readers for their thoughts on the situation via our newsletter and Twitter feed.

Dave summed it the feelings of the majority of readers nicely. "Windows 7 is a Microsoft Product; Internet Explorer is a Microsoft Product. Why shouldn't this business bundle its own software together? Having IE bundled with Windows (whatever version) doesn't prevent people from choosing and using another browser if that is their preference."

Andrew agreed: "A computer without a browser bundled is simply deficient. It's Microsoft's operating system so bundling IE is just plain common sense."

Jon said something that shocked us: "I have some sympathy for Microsoft."

He argued that Microsoft needs to include Internet Explorer with its OS not just to download another browser, but because the system uses it for automatic updates.

Julian noted that many people use Internet Explorer because they have to. "Unfortunately, there are still sites that require IE. I work at a college and some aspects of the student interface Blackboard' will only work with IE4 or later."

Should the EU back off?

Dave said the EU should stop its pesky meddling. "The EU should get its nose out of the trough and get into the real world," he wrote. "What will be next? Car manufacturers having to offer a choice of sound systems in the cars they build just in case someone doesn't like Blaupunk or Sony or whatever? It is bureaucracy gone mad in a world that's mad enough!"

Brian agreed. "Why should a bunch of unelected bureaucrats be able to tell me what I can buy? If I want to buy Windows 7 with IE included and Microsoft is willing to sell it to me what's it got to do with them?"

Darren thinks the EU should calm down and find some better tactics. "I think instead of coming down on MS like a ton of bricks, then we should all take responsibility and aim to educate the wider public that a choice does exist and they can download a different browser and try it out."

Dave wonders how much further the EU can go. "What's next for Windows 8? Brussels insisting on a ballot screen for the operating system as well?" Don't give them any ideas, Dave.

Paul suggested the EU's moves might have a different effect than intended. "These idiots in Brussels and their petty muscle flexing makes me like IE all the more."