Should Microsoft be forced to offer alternative default browsers?

It ain't always easy being the big guy, apparently. In Europe, Microsoft is going to have to start offering users of Windows 7, XP and Vista a choice of default browsers, thanks to a ruling by the European Commission after a complaint by a rival browser, Opera, back in '07.

Under the new plan, current Windows users will get a notification when they fire up Microsoft's own Internet Explorer, suddenly barraging them with 12 different browsers to choose from. The first five on the list will always be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera — the top five browsers by market share — though they'll be listed in a random order.

While it may seem like an odd thing that Microsoft can be slammed for not including browsers it doesn't make on an OS it does, Windows' dominance in the OS market translates into a massive market share for Internet Explorer, a chunk so large that it lends weight to anti-competition arguments leveled at Microsoft.

Still, there's nothing stopping users from migrating to other browsers if they so choose, and some of the browsers on the list — such as Apple's Safari — already have support from separate operating systems.

Europe has already made clear what its stance on the matter is, but how do we feel? Is it Microsoft's obligation to give consumers a choice up front, or should the company be allowed to use its OS to support its own products? Sound off in the comments, and be sure to hit up our poll directly below.

Via The Guardian