For those of us who believe in the importance of freedom of choice, this week is very special. In the past, European PC users were only given Microsoft’s choice of browsers — Internet Explorer. But now, thanks to the European Commission, users can choose their browser from twelve of the top browsers available in Europe. As part of Microsoft’s anti-trust settlement with the Commission, these twelve browsers will be presented to users of the Microsoft Windows operating system. This presentation, referred to as the Browser Choice Screen, was launched this week and will be delivered to 192 Million PCs within 27 European countries over the next 90 days. Flock is thrilled to have been selected as one of the top twelve browsers.

The fact that millions of users can now choose a browser that fits their needs is the good news. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news too. A representative mock-up of the actual window that is now being delivered to PC users in Europe by Microsoft is available for you to see at http://www.browserchoice.eu. Unfortunately, this Choice Screen design leaves most users unaware that there are more than five of the largest browsers to choose from. So it doesn’t achieve the European Commission’s stated objective to provide “information on the 12 most widely-used web browsers and to allow users to easily download and install one or more of these web browsers”.

Flock has joined forces with five other browser companies to present an urgent petition to the European Commission so that a simple fix can make all the browser choices readily apparent. Last night, we formally submitted our Petition to the European Commission.

As you can see in the petition, what we’re fighting for on behalf of users is very straightforward. We want them to know about the wide range of choices they have when they select a browser. Whether they need a social browser, such as Flock or any of the other eleven options. We can all agree that everyone deserves the opportunity to make the most informed choice possible.

The European Commission quickly acknowledged our submission, and we are hopeful that we can engage in a dialogue about a simple, quick fix that would help consumers make an informed choice.

Browser choice is important because it encourages innovation. And fixing the current Choice Screen design means Internet users in Europe will have an effective and unbiased ability to select the browser that best meets their needs based on the merits of all 12 browsers, and not only the “Big 5” on the main screen.

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