Remember the very detailed proposal Microsoft submitted to the European Commission not too long ago about the browser ballot? This was quite the detailed proposal, covering just about every possible aspect of such a ballot screen. Responses were positive from within the EC, but now it seems that according to the Mozilla Foundation, the proposal is not good enough.
Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, and Harvey Anderson, the foundation’s general counsel, have both blogged about the proposal, with both of them stating that according to them, it’s not good enough. They mostly trip over the fact that selecting another default browser in the ballot screen does not automatically remove the Internet Explorer icons from the desktop and Windows 7 taskbar
To remove these icons, you either have to delete them manually, or uninstall Internet Explorer altogether, as will be detailed how to in the ballot screen. I find this a perfectly acceptable setup, as I see no reason why installing application Abc should remove my shortcuts to application Xyz. I would find it highly inappropriate for a ballot screen to magically remove my shortcuts.
Another issue Mozilla has is that the ballot screen is only about downloading other browsers, and not about installing them or making them the default. Apparently, Mozilla wants the ballot screen to guide the user through the entire process – including installation and making it the default. I personally thought that that would be the task of the browser itself – don’t they all already come with an annoying popup whining about not being the default?
Furthermore, Mozilla is worried about other Microsoft products containing hardcoded links to Internet Explorer. The proposal does state that no other Microsoft products will contain links to download Internet Explorer; I guess only time will tell how that pans out. The proposal does indeed state that the Trident rendering engine will remain to be part of Windows, even after uninstalling Internet Explorer, to accommodate applications that are hardcoded to Trident.
They are also complaining about the order in which the browsers appear in the ballot; Microsoft proposes to order them by market share in Europe, but this is not acceptable to Mozilla, since this means Internet Explorer has the left-most position.
There are more issues in there, so be sure to read the blog posts.
I think this is all getting a bit ridiculous, and I find it sad that Mozilla – who arrived where they are today by building a superior product with superior marketing – has to resort to whining like this. Firefox got where it is today by being a better product, let’s continue on that path instead of whining about icons.