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Modified ballot box proposal accepted by EC

The European Union has now dropped the antitrust charges against Microsoft. The EU has agreed to accept the amended offer from Microsoft that will hit Windows users with a ballot box allowing them to choose their browser.

The antitrust charges have been a long running legal row between Microsoft and the EU. The web browser industry's smaller players have complained for years that the dominance of the Windows operating system allows Microsoft to abuse its monopoly power and effectively prevent other browsers from being used.

Microsoft offered the ballot box for browsers in October after the European Commission asked for the ballot box to be used. There were complaints about the first iteration of the ballot box with competitors claiming it didn’t offer enough information on the alternative browsers.

Earlier this month reports came in that the EC was set to approve the modified proposal from Microsoft that offered more detail on browsers and randomized choices. Today the proposal has been approved. Starting in March, the ballot box will be sent out as an update to Windows computers and will show users a pop-up window that offers the  a browser choice. The ballot box will offer up to 12 other browsers for users to choose from. The deal also allows Microsoft to escape other massive fines as long as it meets the conditions of the deal.

EU competition commissioner Nellie Kroes said, "The (European) Commission has resolved a serious competition concern for a key market for the development of the Internet." She called the deal an "early Christmas present" for Europeans.

Kroes describes the problem with Microsoft's IE browser as, "It is as if you went to the supermarket and they only offered you one brand of shampoo on the shelf, and all the other choices are hidden out the back, and not everyone knows about them. What we are saying today is that all the brands should be on the shelf."

The ballot box pop-up screen will be downloaded to Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 machines that are using Internet Explorer as the default browser.

About 100 million computers are expected to display the ballot box by mid-March with 30 million new machines displaying the ballot box over the next five years. If rival browser makers can’t grow their market share after this deal goes into effect, they have no one to blame but themselves. Microsoft will meet with EC members again in six months to assess how the compliance is going with the new deal.

Yahoo News reports that Microsoft is happy with the deal and general counsel Brad Smith said, "[Microsoft is pleased with] final resolution of several long-standing competition law issues in Europe" [and looks forward to building] "on the dialogue and trust that has been established between Microsoft and the Commission."

Microsoft isn’t completely out of the woods yet in Europe though. Kroes says that complaints from rival software makers that Microsoft is not sharing key information with them that is needed to make their software work with Microsoft products is still being investigated.



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RE: Good...
By StevoLincolnite on 12/16/2009 9:57:35 AM , Rating: 0
To add to that... Microsoft isn't purely an American Company, sure it's ties are stronger in that country than anywhere else but it is indeed a multinational computer technology corporation with a presence world wide.


RE: Good...
By vapore0n on 12/16/2009 11:07:40 AM , Rating: 5
more like, an american company (founded by 2 americans, with headquarters in america) that expanded its business outside of...


RE: Good...
By Solandri on 12/16/2009 6:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's EU revenues are funneled through their Ireland branch to avoid U.S. taxes.


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