Google: Windows 7 users should be able to choose any browser, any time

In its first statement in response to Microsoft's decision announced over the weekend to enable Windows 7 users to deactivate and/or uninstall Internet Explorer 8 after the operating system's setup installs it, a spokesperson for Google, which makes the Chrome browser, told Betanews overnight that not only should Windows users be given the option to choose their browsers during setup, but to do so every time they turn their machines on.

"We have not yet been able to see the planned new features of Internet Explorer but are looking forward to examining them when they are released. The Internet was founded on choice and openness and this requires a level playing field with multiple options for accessing it. From the moment a computer is turned on, people should be able to access a range of browsers easily and quickly," the spokesperson stated.

Google thus officially joins Opera, whose CEO, Jon S. von Tetzchner, in an interview with Betanews Monday, made clear in no uncertain terms that the Norweigian browser maker would not be satisfied until Windows openly offers its users a menu of alternatives during setup.

This morning's Google statement comes as the European technology news service Euractive led with the headline this morning that the European Commission was not impressed by Microsoft's decision. However, a close read of the actual statement from EC spokesperson Jonathan Todd to Euractive actually says the EC had nothing to say on the matter -- at least not until Microsoft follows up with a response to its Statement of Objections sent in January.

"Microsoft has not told us anything so far. If they think it is relevant, they will presumably include the measure in their response to our Statement of Objections," Euractiv quotes Todd as saying. However, Todd has previously told the press that the intention of this latest round of objections is to compel Microsoft to offer customers an unbiased choice of Web browsers. Google's statement makes it clear that it would prefer that choice to be offered continually.

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