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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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By Alexstarfire on 10/8/2009 6:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are confusing a web tablet with a laptop. Why would I bother to carry around a web tablet indoors when I could very easily just use a far superior PC?

It seems to me that people really just want an all-in-one device. Something that can function as a PC, a phone, an eReader (very similar to the PC part), as a remote control for everything in their house, and can sync with pretty much anything. It's not very hard to figure out that people want as few devices as possible most of the time. Less to carry around means less time messing with stuff, less time wasted. Only problem is I don't see much of it happening yet since carrying around a computer like device is going to be limited. The screen is a big factor much of the time and anything that's going to be worth using, like a full blown laptop, are simply going to be too big to carry around all the time. The only way this will change will be when we find a new display/monitor. Our current ones just aren't advanced enough to make a true portable all-in-one device.

I could see the use of a web tablet for sure, but I really don't see it being any better than a netbook unless the price is something like < $150 for such a device, but I have a hard time believing that will ever happen.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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