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Microsoft offers browser choices to European consumers

Also promotes interoperability between third party products

By CBR Staff Writer

In order to settle the long-running European Union antitrust case, Microsoft has proposed that European PC consumers can use a browser of their choice.

Under the new proposal, European consumers who buy Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could, if they wished, install competing browsers from the web. The users will have the flexibility to set the selected browser as their default browser, and disable Internet Explorer (IE).

If this proposal is accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world.

Microsoft said it is currently providing PC manufacturers in Europe with E versions of Windows 7, which are compliant with the European law. Reportedly, PCs manufactured for the European market need to continue shipping the E versions until the commission fully reviews its proposals and determines whether they satisfy obligations under the European law.

Microsoft said it will begin implementation in conjunction with PC manufacturers, if the commission approves this new proposal.

As the European Commission announced, Microsoft’s proposal includes a public undertaking designed to promote interoperability between third party products and several Microsoft products, including Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange, and SharePoint.

Like the IE proposal, the interoperability measures that it is offering are reportedly build on the Interoperability Principles it announced in February 2008. They were based on extensive discussions with the commission, and include new steps including enforceable warranty commitments.

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The company claimed if the proposal is ultimately accepted, it will address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of IE in Windows and interoperability issues with their high-volume products.

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