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Microsoft rejiggers EU browser ballot after complaints
Category : General 10 Mar 2010 11:43 AM | Insider News
From 1 March, the browser choices have been popping up on the screens of millions of Europeans who have Internet Explorer as their default web browser. The browser choice screen is designed as a single panel. Scrolling to the right reveals all twelve browsers on offer.
Last week, news agencies reported that the JavaScript used in Microsoft's browser ballot led Internet Explorer to appear most often in the rightmost spot among the top five browsers. Other browsers also were more likely to appear in other spots.
Microsoft said that the browser choice screen was drawn up to be compliant with the deal agreed with the European Commission. As part of a deal with the European Commission, which was investigating antitrust complaints against the company, Redmond is now asking EU Windows users which browser they'd prefer. IBM's Rob Weir - a longtime Microsoft critic - complained that the screen was favoring some browsers over others.
But over the weekend, after some retesting, Weir announced that Microsoft had updated its algorithm and that the screen was producing truly random choices. In a statement tossed to The Reg, Microsoft acknowledges the change.
“We can confirm that we made a change to the random icon order algorithm in the browser choice screen for Europe," reads the canned statement from Kevin Kutz, director of public affairs for Microsoft. "We are confident the algorithm change will be an improvement. As always, we are grateful for the feedback we get from developers, and we thank those who commented on the topic and suggested changes.”