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Microsoft doesn’t have to advertise Chrome or Firefox in Windows anymore

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The European browser ballot is over

Microsoft’s decision to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows has led to a number of headaches for the company over the years. In particular, an EU ruling has forced it to provide a browser ballot screen for European copies of Windows. The requirement has now expired after five years, meaning Microsoft no longer has to advertise copies of Chrome, Firefox, and 10 other browsers inside Windows. "The obligations imposed by that decision have expired, and as a result the Browser Choice Update will no longer be delivered to new users," says Microsoft in a support article detailing the change.

Microsoft was fined around $732 million last year after the company broke the 2009 EU agreement. Microsoft blamed a "technical error" for failing to include the ballot box for some users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and the fine amounted to more than 3 percent of the company’s profit for 2012. The European Union’s ruling was part of an investigation into Microsoft’s bundling of Internet Explorer in copies of Windows, a central issue that also saw Microsoft face a similar US antitrust case back in 2001. With the EU obligations over, Microsoft’s browser is now competing against Chrome and Firefox to win back market share after dominating the web five years ago.