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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 Alexstarfire on 10/8/2009 5:53:05 AM , Rating: 3
Perhaps because it's valid. Sure, Windows has a bigger market share, but the companies are doing the same thing: packaging a browser with an OS. Is that wrong? No. Does it matter? Yes. I don't believe that Microsoft should be forced to provide other web browsers in it's OS. That makes no sense what-so-ever. I do believe that if MS is forced to do so then all other OSes sold in retail stores should be forced to as well, namely Mac OS. And while I believe MS shouldn't be forced to provide other web browsers in it's OS I do believe that it's web browser should be help to a higher standard than others. I don't believe this to be much of an issue now, but just take a look at IE6. Probably the most dominant web browser of all time, even if it's not now. So dominant that it has pretty much become the de facto standard for making web sites. This wouldn't be a problem if IE6 followed the web standards, but it didn't. As a result pretty much every site was made to run under IE6 and other web browsers which followed the standards pretty much got boned, and hard. That is something that shouldn't be allowed. When you screw over competition using your market share it becomes a problem. I know web browsers are free, which is why I believe MS shouldn't have to bundle others with it's OS, but we do have standards for a reason. If you just go around making your own standards just because you can you effectively control the whole market giving competition no chance.

RE: Capitalism
By BZDTemp on 10/8/2009 4:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
How can you that whole rant about MS not having to follow special rules due to market dominance and then end with
If you just go around making your own standards just because you can you effectively control the whole market giving competition no chance.

Your last sentence is exactly why Microsoft needs to be controlled. Just look at their new "open" document standard and the trick they pulled to get approved. And now they are already manipulating it!

If the EU was not going after Microsoft then it would de much worse. Remember this is not a thing that was initiated just months ago - we are talking years and what we have now is a more cooperative Microsoft.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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