Microsoft's new browser ballot screen, which is supposed to randomly scramble the positions of the top five browsers, instead gives Google's Chrome the best chance of landing in the preferred first spot, an IBM software architect said today.

"This was a rookie mistake," said Rob Meir, who works for IBM and has a degree in astrophysics from Harvard University. "I was definitely surprised to see an error of this type [in the ballot]."

The browser ballot, which began to show today in the Windows Update queues of European users, was mandated by an agreement Microsoft reached last year with European Union antitrust regulators, nearly two years after Norwegian browser maker Opera filed a formal complaint. The ballot appears on Windows PCs where Internet Explorer (IE) is set as the default browser, and lets users download and install rivals, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and others.

Full story: Computerworld