Apple’s at the top of the pack when it comes to choosing which browser you want to use with Windows in Europe – and Mozilla is furious at the deal done for detente in the EU’s spat with Microsoft.

Microsoft has proposed inclusion of a ballot screen through which customers get to choose which browser from a list of five they want included on their Windows installation, ending the company’s insistence on bundling Internet Explorer with MS-powered ‘puters in Europe.

Under the proposals, browsers will be listed alphabetically by company name, putting Apple’s Safari (for Windows) at the top of the list. This has given Firefox developer, Mozilla, what we in the UK colloquially express as “the hump”, with FF user experience designer, Jenny Boriss, complaining that inclusion of Safari at the top of the list will give Apple an unfair market advantage.

Available browsers include IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox with Opera at the bottom of the list.

"This ordering is about the worst option possible," said Boriss. "Microsoft wrote in their proposal that ‘nothing in the design and implementation of the Ballot Screen and the presentation of competing web browsers will express a bias for a Microsoft web browser or any other web browser,’ but this is exactly what the current design does. Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: IE because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item."

"The disproportionate advantage to Safari is what really makes this design poor," she said, "Frankly, Safari is a good browser for Apple computers, but Apple hasn’t put much effort to make it competitive on Windows. It’s just not their priority. So, by listing Safari first, the ballot is presenting as the recommended item the browser that is least likely to be the one the user wants."

She instead proposes browsers be listed by marketshare, with IE placed last as a reaction to the EU’s finding that Microsoft has so far violated antitrust laws by tying its browser to its operating system.

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