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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 foolsgambit11 on 10/7/2009 7:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well, Capitalism really only states that the means of production are privately controlled. It doesn't necessarily give people carte blanche to sell whatever they can produce, or sell it however they want. Laissez-Faire Capitalism (popular here in America) does tend to support the idea that businesses can do what they want, within very loose limits.

But we tend to forget that Capitalism is a means to an end, and not an end in and of itself. Its tenets should only be followed as long as they help us to reach the end. That's why we have labor laws, product safety laws, and competition laws. In fact, if you look up 'monopoly' on Wikipedia, under the heading 'Laws', it specifically mentions product bundling as anti-competitive behavior that is frequently prohibited in monopoly situations.

RE: Capitalism
By Alexstarfire on 10/8/2009 6:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
Ohh damn, then the makers of twinkies should be sued. What if I want some other brand of creme filling? How dare they not give me a choice.

Probably not the best example, but it's all I could think of off the top of my head. It's a bit late/early after all.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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