If you're still using Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser on Windows XP or Vista, prepare to receive a Windows Update that prompts you not to.
It's the latest about-turn Redmond has pulled in its ongoing battle to stop being beaten about the head by the European Commission, which believes the bundling of Microsoft's own browser with Windows is tantamount to monopolistic abuse at the expense of fair competition with other browser makers.
Earlier this week, Microsoft proposed to let users choose what browser to install when they first setup Windows 7. But Ars Technica spotted a further detail in the proposal sent to the EC -- that a similar choose-what-browser-you-want screen could be pushed out as an update to Windows XP and Vista machines, prompting users still using Microsoft's browser to try a different one.
Up to ten browsers will be offered, and obviously this will include Internet Explorer. The other choices will comprise up to nine of the most popular Windows-based Web browsers, which must have more than a 0.5 per cent share of the European browser market. This should include Firefox, Opera, Apple's Safari for Windows and Google Chrome.
Users will be given a screen listing each browser, their logo, an installation button and a link to read further information about each browser. Of course, you can choose to ignore this screen and never see it again if you're happy with Internet Explorer.
Windows 7 users should see this ballot screen from the day Windows 7 is released, which is . XP and Vista users could see the screen before the end of the year, or early 2010, depending on how long it takes for the EU to agree to Microsoft's proposal.
Opera fans are likely to herald this news as a storming great victory; the catalyst to their beloved browser enjoying wider adoption. Though let's be honest here, they're probably wrong. As long as Internet Explorer appears to be the main choice on the ballot screen, users who recognise the name and logo will just exercise their right to stick with what they're familiar with.
On the other hand, it could do wonders for Chrome -- most people recognise the Google name and logo.
What do you think?