Microsoft has insisted that the UK has chosen Internet Explorer, with the company launching IE8 into what it terms a 'competitive market'.
There is ongoing controversy over the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows – the world's most popular operating system - with the European Commission looking into a complaint by rival browser maker Opera that the practice is anti-competitive.
Microsoft has indicated that it may include an option in Windows 7 that will allow people to choose to switch off IE and opt for another browser, but John Curran – who is Windows Business Group Lead in the UK – said that this has yet to be confirmed.
Choice already exists
"Windows 7 is still in development," he told TechRadar. "There are certain topics of conversation to be had in terms of how it manifests itself and we are working through all of that and will have more as we get closer to the launch.
"What I would say on the question of choice is that choice exists right now. "Fundamentally we see market share movement in the UK market share of plus or minus a per cent a month and so it's a highly dynamic movement.
"The ability for choice is there today."
UK Choosing IE?
Despite Firefox becoming far stronger in the market over the past year, and Internet Explorer accused of benefiting from being a default in the Windows OS, Curran insisted that the UK is 'choosing IE'.
"For us we have people using everything from IE5 to IE8 right now, so fundamentally we have people choosing to go from IE6 to IE7 and so on, so people are making the decision to go to IE - that's a conscious download for those people," said Curran.
"In the UK we have 80 per cent of browser share so if you ask are more people moving away or moving to [IE] then someone looking at that share would draw a logical conclusion that the movement goes more in one direction than the other."
"Year on year we're down slightly and I do think that that's a sign of a competitive market," confirmed Curran when pressed on the decline in market share.
"IE7 is getting on in age. For a lot of people back on IE6 or IE5 then [those products] are certainly getting on and you've got a lot of competitive offerings out there.
"We are developing and we think IE8 is a product that people will choose to go to and our job is to get people onto it because we think that when people get on to it they are going to love this product and so fundamentally that's our approach."