Microsoft: Ballot page provided by Windows Update

IE8 - will ship on Windows 7 disks
IE8 – will ship on Windows 7 disks

Microsoft's ballot page to choose a default browser will not show up in Europe until a user runs Windows Update for the first time.

Speaking about the way in which its ballot page proposal will be delivered, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith confirmed that the EC was to allow the company to push on with its Windows 7 proposal.

This will see all European customers offered the choice of a different default browser through a ballot page.

Windows Update

TechRadar can reveal, however, that the ballot page will not be present in the original software. Instead, it will be activated by a code sent out the first time someone in Europe runs Windows update.

"This announcement means Microsoft will continue to be able to ship the same version to all consumers," said Smith in a conference call.

"This is a significant step for us and certainly something many PC manufacturers made very clear was important to them."


Smith believes that consumers will benefit from getting a "vanilla" or unaltered version of Windows 7.

"[It] means the European consumer has all the benefits that consumers elsewhere get but... in addition, shortly after they get a new PC, an update – which will be delivered via Windows Update – will launch code which will show the consumer choice or 'ballot' screen.

"That's an important part of this proprosal.

"It's a creative and important step to come to together with the European Commission and focus on Windows Update as the delivery mechanism.

"By using Windows Update it will simplify life for PC manufacturers, who can continue to configure PCs how they want to configure them, with another browser if they prefer, or they can turn IE off.

"If it's not the default then code will display the consumer choice or ballot screen when update is run."

The benefits for Microsoft are also clear – the company can ship its preferred option without worrying about European versions with the ballot screen present.

It remains to be seen if the proposal works out in the way in which the EC believes it will.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.