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Approval expected as early as today

Microsoft has been facing legal problems for years that stem from the bundling of its Internet Explorer browser with the Windows operating system. The bundling of IE with the OS has long been called unfair by other browser makers.

Back in October, Microsoft presented the European Commission with a proposal that would have Windows 7 offer users a ballot box to choose the browser that they want to install from IE and competing offerings like Opera and others. The proposal received some complaints from other browser companies who believed that the ballot screen didn't offer enough information about the browsers available among other complaints.

Reuters reports that three people familiar with the situation have said that the European Commission is expected to approve a new proposal from Microsoft as early as today. The new proposal from Microsoft will use the same ballot screen, but rather than presenting the browsers in alphabetical order the browsers will be randomized.

If approved, the new proposal will let Microsoft escape another massive fine. The software giant has already been fined $1.35 billion for violation of EU antitrust rules in 2008. The Commission still reports that it is assessing the offer and comments made by Microsoft. Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said, "The Commission will not accept any commitments unless consumers are ensured a real, viable choice."

Feedback on the Microsoft proposal had been sought by Microsoft rivals until November 7 reports Reuters. Opera was one of the companies with complaints against Microsoft that helped start the inquiry in 2007. Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie told Reuters, "Those two changes, if indeed it appears to be the case, are an improvement on the previous proposal. They are significant and would be helpful to users."

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RE: .
By drycrust on 12/8/2009 1:51:39 PM , Rating: 5
Good point. This does raise two important questions:
1) Who decides what is and what isn't a browser? For example, should a text only browser like Lynx be included? According to Wikipedia's article "Comparison of Web Browsers" there are arguably 18 current browsers for "Windows". And what happens if a criminal organisation builds their own browser (which includes an option (default setting "yes") to feed "user information" back to the developer so they can "improve their product")? Will MS be forced to include that with their software?
2) Who decides where the browsers will be sourced from? While it makes sense that most will be on the HDD, why should a user have to pay for 17 browsers to waste space on their hard drive?

Oh! I forgot, that is the price of freedom of choice.

I wonder how long it will be before the EU start to look at other operating systems e.g. Ubuntu, OSX, because most currently come with just one default browser. Will they have to include a "ballot" so a user can choose which browser to use?

RE: .
By damianrobertjones on 12/8/2009 1:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
I can see it now, "We've contacted a solicitor today as we've lost market share due to not appearing on the MS ballet screen"

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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