Looks like Microsoft will be forced by the EU to include third party browsers with Windows. Furthermore, the software giant will also be required to provide support to third party browser makers to make them interface with Windows components like Windows Explorer as efficiently as Internet Explorer.
The ruling is set to apply to both desktop Windows operating systems and to the mobile Windows Mobile.
Browsers that will be considered for inclusion in Windows are Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera. Microsoft has until March to draft a formal response to the EU's latest charges.
Jonathan Todd, spokesperson for EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes states, "If the Commission's preliminary conclusions as outlined in the recent statement of objections were confirmed, the Commission would intend to impose remedies that enabled users and manufacturers to make an unbiased choice between Internet Explorer and competing third party web browsers. (Microsoft will have to allow users) to choose which competing web browser(s) instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer they want to install and which one they want to have as default."
EU officials propose a ballot screen when first using the OS which will tailor it to a specific browser of the user's choice. Another possibility, it says, is for Microsoft to negotiate with its OEMs who manufacture computers or phones with Windows and have them select the third party browsing software. Among the browsers considered as candidates are Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera.