updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon December 7, 2009
EU likes random browser ballot order
The European Commission has accepted a set of proposed browser ballot changes that would let Microsoft sell Windows 7 without penalty, a trio of sources said Monday. Officials at the European Union regulator are purportedly agreed on the previously leaked proposals, which include a random order for the choice of browsers and the absence of the Windows Explorer label, and barring complications could approve the measure as soon as next week. The implementation could be available soon afterwards.
The agency hasn't confirmed or denied its point of view to Reuters but was under pressure from Mozilla and Opera to mix up the order in which browsers appear in a list intended to give customers a choice on first boot. Initially, Microsoft had proposed a list that always started with Internet Explorer first. It quickly changed this but went with an alphabetical order that would always have favored Apple's Safari and punished both Firefox and Opera by pushing their entries towards the end of the list.
Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie hasn't said if Opera will approve the final measure but has said that hte changes, if true, would be "helpful" in addressing complaints.
Versions of Windows 7 outside of EU member states won't be required to present the ballot, but companies can already setup a different web browser as a default on their PCs. Sony regularly installs Google Chrome on its VAIO PCs.