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Microsoft pushes ballot screen to EC, waits for the nod

Microsoft has signed off on the Windows 7 code, and they've already begun pushing it out to manufacturers. Now if they could just get that pesky little situation sorted out with the European Commission...

First they offered to perform an Explorerectomy on the new OS, which would have made it a little annoying for the average user to install a browser on their new system. Not so much for geeks like you and me, who probably have at least one browser installer on a flash drive somewhere in the bottom of our sock drawer.

That proposal was met with a hearty Bronx cheer from Opera brass and EC regulators, so it was back to the drawing board for Microsoft. The new take - pretty much the exact ballot screen setup the EC proposed a while back.

A proposal which led Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner to say "My impression is that the Ballot Screen is the EC's preferred solution and that this will work. Microsoft understands that this solution will work and they are desperate to avoid it."

Apparently not that desperate. In the grand scheme of things, shipping what is possibly the most hyped and most anticipated piece of Microsoft software ever released on time is a much higher priority than "playing a game with the EC," as Tetzchner put it.

MS PressPass has the full details of the new proposal in .DOC format. There's also a .PPT illustrating how the ballot screen will work. Rather, there's a .PPT containing the one image you see above. While I don't understand the point of presenting a single slide instead of a JPG or PNG, it's pretty obvious how things would work.

On first run, Internet Explorer will redirect users to the ballot screen website. Microsoft has included the top 5 browsers and sorted them based (nearly) on their ranking in browser share. There's even room for my "you have to list every possible browser, not just the big ones" scenario - additional options available with a little horizontal scrolling.

Will the EC welcome the proposed screen? Who knows. What I do know is that Microsoft wishes they were in the position to demand a speedy verdict so they can get on with getting Windows 7 deployed. But they're not, so they'll have to sit on their hands and wait on the EC now.

All that's been said so far: ""The Commission welcomes this proposal and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice."

Tags: antitrust, browser-ballot, ec, eu, european-commission