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Microsoft offers Europeans choice of web browsers

Following a settlement with the European Commission last December, Microsoft will give millions of W

The browser-choice screen will prompt users to choose and install one of a dozen alternative browsers other than the company's own offering, the highly popular Internet Explorer.

The Commission accepted Microsoft's offer of rolling out a web browser 'ballot box', resolving a long-running case in which the company was accused of abusing its market leadership position to push its own browser.

Popular web browsers such as Firefox, Opera, Safari and Google's Chrome are among those listed by Microsoft alongside Internet Explorer.

Another seven browsers - Sleipnir, Green Browser, Maxthon, Avant, Flock, K-meleon, and Slim - make up the rest of the random choices available to users.

It is not yet clear what effect the browser choice will have on Internet Explorer's 62 per cent market share. Its closest rival is Mozilla's Firefox at 24 per cent.

The update is already being tested in Belgium, France and the UK, with a full-scale roll out across 30 European countries expected around 1 March.

The ruling applies across the European Economic Area and will remain in effect for five years.