In what seems as major respite to Microsoft, the European Commission has stated that it is satisfied with Microsoft’s plans to facilitate competition in the browser market through a browser ballot system.
In order to address concerns raised by the European Commission related to web browser choice in Europe, Microsoft had come up with the idea of a ballot screen, wherein a user who has Internet Explorer installed in their system by default will be show options to install alternate browsers.
Expressing her satisfaction at the developments, Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition Policy said that "Microsoft's proposal in particular recognises the principle that consumers should be given a free and effective choice of web browser. It would empower all current and future users of Windows in Europe to choose which browser they wished to use."
She went on to add the browser ballot has already gone through some informal testing and the Commission had asked Microsoft to make some changes which the company has duly made.
The arrangement with the European Commission comes at a good time for Microsoft as it will now be able to ship its new Windows 7 operating system with Internet Explorer installed (ed: that's coming in two weeks' time); moreover the arrangement also allows OEM vendors the choice to install whichever browser they want.
Good timing for Microsoft and this finally clears the last hurdle for the software giant as the deadline for the release of Windows 7 nears. The ballot is by far the simplest solution to allow other users to try alternative browsers. Forcing Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer from Windows would have been counterproductive and complex.