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Microsoft and the European Union finally seem to be on the verge of working out their differences, with a new Windows 7 balloting proposal.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)
The European Commission and Microsoft appear to finally be on the verge of resolving an antitrust dispute over Windows 7's browser

Microsoft has long packaged its Internet Explorer browser with Windows.  The bundling has given Microsoft's browser a dominant position in the marketplace, despite promising alternatives including Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.  That cozy position could soon change, though, thanks to action by Europe's antitrust watchdog and business regulatory body, the European Commission.

The EC demanded Microsoft offer a ballot selection screen to allow users to pick their browser of choice with Windows 7.  Microsoft at first refused, saying it would not include IE 8 in European copies of Windows 7.  In the end, though, Microsoft came around and agreed to a ballot screen.

The EC had some minor complaints about Microsoft's first proposal -- mainly its lack of information to users about what the browsers were to help them make their selection.  Under the new proposal, which the EC calls much "improved" users could find out information on what a browser is from the ballot screen.  They would also have access to additional information about each browser they could install, to help them make their decision. 

Under the new proposal, the balloting system would work for five years after purchase on any new install.  Windows 7 and all future versions of Windows would implement this scheme.

EC showed Microsoft some love, with a regulator stating, "The commission's concern has been that PC users should have an effective and unbiased choice between Internet Explorer and competing Web browsers to ensure competition on the merits and to allow consumers to benefit from technical development and innovation both on the Web-browser market and on related markets, such as Web-based applications."

Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft stated that his company was "pleased by today's decisions."

Microsoft and Europe have had a rocky relationship, with Microsoft fined 899 million euros ($1.35 billion) in 2008 for antitrust violations.  Brad Smith says that situation has greatly turned around, though.  He gave Europe some love back, stating, "It's heartening to see the much better relationship that exists today."

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RE: Capitalism
By omnicronx on 10/7/2009 1:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
I 100% agree.

As said in another post, it is becoming quite apparent that the EU has a vendetta against big American companies in the tech industry. They want to split them up, and they want real competition. In the case of the OS industry, the only way to do that is to allow the competition to have something that MS cannot. (IMO)

In many other markets this may not be a good idea, but in the OS market, (especially in the business market) having an industry standard is a GOOD thing.

RE: Capitalism
By fatedtodie on 10/7/2009 1:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
The point that was trying to be made from what I can tell is he dislikes the crapware applications that are installed by default with all their inbred virus goodness that makes buying a prebuilt machine such a beauty of an experience.

Basically if he dislikes the crapware of one, his only other choices are the crapware of the next in line. Your argument that they use this crapware to leverage a price decrease is incorrect as that would mean the price to build your own (minus crapware) is more expensive with exactly the same hardware... this is false, and thus your argument fails.

RE: Capitalism
By fatedtodie on 10/7/2009 1:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
Okay what i clicked reply to, and what it replied to are different posts, please rate this down i guess

RE: Capitalism
By afkrotch on 10/8/2009 6:14:37 AM , Rating: 2
Your argument that they use this crapware to leverage a price decrease is incorrect as that would mean the price to build your own (minus crapware) is more expensive with exactly the same hardware.

Build the same box as a $400 Dell for $400. Don't forget the OS too. Good luck, cause it's almost impossible to do.

These large OEMs receive a good chunk of change to bundle in these free bloatware. They use the extra money to lower the retail costs of their PCs or simply gain some kind of profit on them. Majority of your $500 or less PCs have small profit or no profit for a large OEM. If it weren't for tagged on extras, like software, accessories, support, they may not get any profit.

As you get into your $1200+ PCs, the cost savings is mostly negated, as they start increasing the price of the parts. Charging you an extra $10 here and there, versus building your own machine. In this case, yes, you can easily build a cheaper PC than an OEM counterpart.

RE: Capitalism
By Danish1 on 10/8/2009 2:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% that the whole browser issue is way out of line and it should be entirely up to MS to decide which browser their OS ships with.

but that being said you sound like an ignorant butthurt American when you claim the EU has a vendetta vs. big American companies, the EU has fined a lot of European corporations for monopolistic and cartel behavior as well.

RE: Capitalism
By afkrotch on 10/8/2009 6:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the EU doesn't have a vendetta against big US companies. They simply need any large company to funnel wads of cash into their accounts. Be it Microsoft, Intel, whatever that Spanish ISP was, etc. Only way to try to solidify that weakness that is the EU.

They should have stayed seperated. Seemed to work better.

RE: Capitalism
By Alexstarfire on 10/8/2009 5:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
It might be a good idea to have an industry standard, but when a company that makes the product is the one setting the standards you start having problems. Many times it's going to mean that you have to buy only their product to make sure everything works. It's hard for other companies to provide better products, or even equal products, if the standard could change at any time. It's the reason why we have web standards set by some third party. Everyone knows how the web sites should be coded and so everyone can make web browsers to run it properly. If something like IE6 ever happened again, what with it basically making it's own standard, then other browsers get screwed because they will no longer be coded to the web standards, but to the way a specific browser displays the web site just so that it works properly. That is something that just shouldn't be done.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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