As from the 1st of March, Microsoft will allow users of its popular Windows operating systems to choose web browsers other than Internet Explorer as it takes steps to comply with an agreement it struck with the European Competition Commission.
According to Dave Heiner, Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, a software update will be pushed to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users and will offer them the choice of getting a new browser of stick to what they have.
The Choice screen, as it is known, will allow more than 100 million European Windows users to potentially have a try at other browsers, all of which can be obtained freely online anyway.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista will lose any pinned Internet Explorer button from the OS's taskbar, assuming another browser is chosen but IE will not be uninstalled.
Opera, Safari, Firefox and Chrome will be offered as options and it will be interesting to see whether there's any significant and permanent shift from Internet Explorer to the alternatives.
Microsoft's browser is still the dominant one with more than half of the market, far ahead of Mozilla's Firefox with the other browsers accounting for less than 10 percent of the overall sector.
BBC's resident geek, Rory Cellan-Jones said that "Millions of people who have never really thought about which browser to use will now be forced to make a choice".
Interestingly, Microsoft did not say whether the rollout will have any impact on systems that have one or more of the alternative browsers already installed. Most of us at ITProPortal towers have all the browsers anyway.