Microsoft in new EU browser offer

Friday, July 24, 2009


Microsoft has made a new proposal to European competition regulators that it hopes will end their row over the firm's Internet Explorer web browser.
It proposes that European buyers of its new Windows 7 operating system will be offered a list of potential browsers when they first install the software.
The move comes a month after Microsoft said European buyers of Windows 7 would have to download a web browser.
Brussels ruled in January that pre-bundling Explorer hurt competition.
The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness
Commission regulators
Microsoft said its proposal meant that users would be able to "easily install competing web browsers, set one of those browsers as a default, and disable Internet Explorer" from a "ballot screen" of alternative browsers.
"We believe that if ultimately accepted, this proposal will fully address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows," said Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith.
'Investigate'
"The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice," said Commission regulators.
They added that Microsoft was also proposing to disclose more interoperability information about Windows to external software providers.
Last year Microsoft was fined 899m euros ($1.4bn; £680.9m) by the Commission for separate anti-competitive practices.
This penalty - the largest ever from the European Commission - came after Microsoft failed to comply with a 2004 ruling that it abused its market position.
Windows 7 is due to go on sale from 22 October.

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