updated 01:35 pm EST, Fri December 4, 2009
MS would randomize browser ballot
Microsoft has agreed to make some final changes to its web browser ballot system to accommodate requests, a tip indicated Friday. Following pressure on the European Commission from Google, Mozilla and Opera, the company has said it will randomize the order of the browser choices to provide an even playing field and will blank out the "Windows Internet Explorer" text in the title bar to avoid bias towards Microsoft's own platform.
The changes described by the New York Times would come primarily after rivals complained that an originally proposed alphabetical order would automatically favor Apple. While still required to pass by the Commission before it can be implemented, the change could be approved in the few remaining weeks of 2009 and rolled into trial of the ballot system soon afterwards.
EU officials had demanded the implementation of a ballot-like system after threatening Microsoft with further action for always including Internet Explorer in Windows even when it was not the default browser. The American developer had originally tried to placate the Commission by planning a browserless version, but it had been rejected as it would have made browsing too difficult and unfairly favored whoever could afford to make retail copies available.