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Windows to promote random browsers from March 1

Web browser choice screen coming via automatic update

Microsoft has revealed that Internet Explorer users will be given a choice of which browser they want to surf the web with from March 1.

The 'web browser choice screen' is part of a proposal by the software developer to help settle the EU's antitrust investigation, which was sparked by a complaint filed by Norwegian browser developer Opera in December 2007.

Microsoft said Windows 7, XP, Vista users would be offered an automatic download of the browser ballot screen, which provides a choice of five browsers and is currently undergoing internal testing, over the next few weeks.

"We'll begin a limited roll-out externally next week, and expect that a full scale roll-out will begin around March 1, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule," said Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, in a blog.

Microsoft said anyone running Internet Explorer as their default browser would see the screen, which offers more information and links to download Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera, as well as IE.

Microsoft said the list is presented in random order, in keeping with the company's agreement with the European Commission.
"Users who get the choice screen will be free to choose any browser or stick with the browser they have, as they prefer," added Heiner.

According to Net Applications, Internet Explorer is the most-used web browser, accounting for 62.2 percent of the browser market in Janaury this year.

See also: EU approves Microsoft ballot screen


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