Page last updated at 00:09 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Microsoft offers browser choices to Europeans

Advertisement

How to install a new web browser: Rory Cellan-Jones follows the trail set by Microsoft for people in Europe

Microsoft is to ask millions of users across Europe if they want to use a web browser other than its own.

Windows users will be offered the choice as part of a deal Microsoft struck with the European Commission.

The agreement resolves a long-running case in which the software giant was accused of abusing its market position.

A pop-up window will prompt people to choose and install one of 12 different browsers or let them stick with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Install options

The browser choice software will be delivered from Monday as part of the Windows Update system Microsoft usually uses to distribute security patches.

BROWSER CHOICES
Avant
Chrome
Firefox
Flock
Green Browser
Internet Explorer
K-meleon
Maxthon
Opera
Safari
Sleipnir
Slim

Although the update has been prepared for Windows XP, Vista and 7, not all users will see it.

It will not pop up in front of those who already run a different default browser, such as Firefox, Safari or Chrome.

Users guaranteed to see it are those that have Internet Explorer (IE) set as their default browser and have taken the option to let Windows automatically download and install updates.

Those that have this option turned off will be prompted to download, install and run the software.

Those that have automatic updates turned off can go to the Windows Update site and run a "Check For Updates" to get it.

When it runs, the software will present users with a window that says in bold text "An important choice to make: your browser". It also asks people to ensure they are connected to the internet.

Once the "OK" button is clicked, they will see a screen that lists the 12 browsers available.

The Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer browsers are randomly ordered on the first section of this screen.

Screengrab of opening browser choice screen, Microsoft
The browser choice comes as part of an anti-trust deal

Another seven browsers, namely Sleipnir, Green Browser, Maxthon, Avant, Flock, K-meleon, and Slim, will be randomly ordered on the rest of the screen. They can be viewed by scrolling sideways.

Below each listing will be a button giving more information. Another button lets users install one of the browsers.

Alternatively, users can opt to ignore the selection and make a choice later. If they do this a shortcut icon will appear on the Windows desktop that gives access to the browser choice window at any time.

The choice screen will keep appearing until a user has made a choice.

Anyone wanting to stick with IE will be prompted to upgrade to the latest version.

Microsoft said that Windows 7 users who have fixed or "pinned" IE to their taskbar will have it unpinned by the update. Right clicking the icon for any browser will let users pin that program to the taskbar.

It is not yet clear what effect the browser choice will have on Internet Explorer's market share.

Although exact estimates are hard to find, web stats firm Net Applications said IE is used by 62% market share. Its closest rival is Firefox at 24%.

Some fear the browser choice system will confuse people. Already some who have been confronted with the choice screen have been worried that their machine has been taken over or fallen victim to a virus.

Browser market share, BBC Infographic



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Microsoft offers browser choice
19 Feb 10 |  Technology
Deal in Microsoft-EU browser war
16 Dec 09 |  Business
Pressure mounts to phase out IE6
02 Feb 10 |  Technology
Microsoft patches Explorer hole
21 Jan 10 |  Technology
Microsoft in new EU browser offer
24 Jul 09 |  Business
EU slaps a record fine on Intel
13 May 09 |  Business
Microsoft loses anti-trust appeal
17 Sep 07 |  Business
Microsoft is accused by EU again
17 Jan 09 |  Business
Microsoft contests $1.4bn EU fine
09 May 08 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific