A web designer, Richard Quick, has filed a complaint with the EC about the browser ballot screen that is rolling out, offering users a choice between which software they use to navigate the Web. He says that half the options on offer are just Internet Explorer clones.
Browsers differ in two main ways. There's the interface - the way you interact with the browser - and the rendering engine - the way the browser interacts with the Web. While there's a myriad of interfaces out there, there's just four rendering engines - Trident, used by IE, Gecko, used by Firefox, Webkit, used by Safari and Chrome, and Presto, which Opera employs.
As you might have seen in our comparison of the lesser-known choices in the ballot, a good chunk of them use the Trident engine - Avant, Maxthon, Slim and Greenbrowser. Sleipnir offers a choice between Trident and Gecko, and Flock and K-Meleon use the Gecko engine. As a result, Quick claims that users aren't getting as much choice as they originally thought.
Microsoft's response pointed towards the documents that laid out exactly how the choices were made. Clause 10 says: "Nothing in the design and implementation of the Choice Screen and the presentation of competing web browsers will express a bias for Internet Explorer", and Microsoft isn't allowed to feature any other browser based on Trident and funded, even partially, by the company.
The choices in the list, Microsoft says, are based on the 12 most widely-used browsers which run happily on Windows 7.