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Group wants Microsoft's browser ballot to go global
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 19:11

From Computer World

Microsoft's rivals urge antitrust regulators worldwide to mimic EU

A lobbying group composed of Microsoft rivals today called on antitrust regulators worldwide to pressure the company into offering a browser ballot screen to their citizens.

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) urged officials outside the European Union (EU) to push for a ballot similar to what Microsoft began serving yesterday to European customers via Windows Update. "Consumers deserve the same unbiased browser choice on all the world's more than 1 billion personal computers," the ECIS said in a statement Tuesday.

The browser ballot was mandated by an agreement Microsoft reached last year with EU regulators, two years after Norwegian browser maker Opera Software filed a formal complaint. The ballot appears on Windows PCs where Internet Explorer (IE) is set as the default browser, and lets users download and install rivals, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and others.

"The European initiative will help spur competition, but leaves most of the world's computers with operating systems that are tied to Internet Explorer," said Thomas Vinje, ECIS's lead counsel. "We call on competition authorities around the world to look closely at what has happened in Europe and to act on behalf of their consumers."

Members of the ECIS include Opera, Adobe, Red Hat, and long-time Microsoft rivals Oracle and IBM.

Opera made the same suggestion last year after it reviewed Microsoft's initial offer to provide a ballot. "We would like to see this happen outside of Europe as well. We think everyone should be offered a choice of browsers," said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's chief technology officer, in a July 2009 interview. [More...] [Comments...]



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