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Browser ballot screen isn't just for Windows 7

Mary Jo Foley reports on an interesting tidbit I missed while traipsing around The Netherlands this week: Microsoft's proposal to let EU users choose from competing web browsers isn't relegated to Windows 7. They'll offer this capability on Windows XP and Windows Vista as well.

The “ballot screen” isn’t for Windows 7 users only. Microsoft is proposing that it be allowed to provide the ballot screen to European users running Windows XP, Vista and/or Windows 7.

The ballot screen — which will include a list of browsers including IE, plus a number of choices from  competing vendors — will be delivered to current and future XP and Vista users over Windows Update, according to Microsoft’s proposal.

Microsoft is advocating that the ballot screen include 10 or fewer of “the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the EEA (European Economic Area).” The choice of browsers should be presented “in a horizontal line and in an unbiased way” a display of icons and “basic identifying information” on the Web browsers. The top five of the browsers listed (by market share) will get additional “prominent display,” Microsoft is advocating.

XP and Vista users will get the ballot screen three to six months after the European Commission’s final ruling in the Opera antitrust case. For XP users, Microsoft plans to designate the ballot screen a “high priority” update when it pushes it out over Windows Update; for Vista and Windows 7 users, the ballot screen will be designated “important,” the proposal says.

Here's to hoping that this condition leaves Opera off the list. I'm not sure if I mentioned this here in the blog yet, but I'd advocate a boycott of Opera if I thought anyone was actually using the damn thing. I'm so tired of these complainers. Here's a new example why. The people have spoken, Opera. Please go away.

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