Microsoft says the best way to resolve its dispute with European Union competition regulators may be an election. The software giant spelled out late on Friday Brussels time plans for an election-style ballot to decide the question of which browser consumers use in Windows.
The forthcoming Windows 7 operating system would offer a "ballot screen" that lets consumers turn off Microsoft's own Internet Explorer (IE) and instead use rival browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari Google Chrome or Opera Software.
There are two obvious issues with this approach: 1. Most consumers rely on default settings and rarely change their browsers once they are installed. Will more than a small percentage of users elect to change browsers at the moment they are installing Windows?
2. But the big question is whether the majority of consumers who haven't had much choice of using Internet Explorer over the past decade will find that their favourite Web sites work with other browsers. Sure, all the major browser alternatives are designed to support Web standards. But the issue will be the degree to which Web site developers themselves have played along and supported alternatives to IE. Of course the latest modern Web sites will work. But what about the hundreds of thousands of sites built for lazy IE users?
EBAY COURTS BIG RETAIL
eBay is set to announce on Monday plans to make the online auction site a more attractive place for large merchants to dispose of unsold or out-of-season inventory in another move away from its roots as an online flea market or garage sale, AuctionBytes says. EBay isn't commenting directly on the plan. But last week, Mercent, an indepenent developer of marketing systems for retailers, appears to have jumped the gun by saying it was offering a product listing platform for large merchants selling on eBay.