Microsoft and EC reach accord in browser dispute

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Safari will be one of 12 web browsers offered to Windows users, after Microsoft and the European Commission (EC) reached an agreement on measures designed to provide a level playing field for browser makers. Microsoft has until mid-March 2010 to develop updates to Windows 7, XP and Vista that will install Choice Screen, an application that presents users with the dozen browsers to choose from, arranged randomly. Choice Screen will be sent to around 100 million Europeans who have Internet Explorer set as their default browser. Users who have changed the default won’t receive the software. Apple’s Safari is likely to be one of the five browsers that will be displayed on the opening screen, alongside Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera. ‘The software will prominently display the Final Releases of the five highest-ranked web browsers based on usage share in the EEA (that is, only these browsers will be immediately visible without requiring any user action under typical user settings),’ the settlement states, adding that those five will be displayed in a random order. The remaining seven browsers will be displayed if the user scrolls sideways and will also be randomly displayed. The settlement also ensures that PC makers can install any browser they choose without retaliation from Microsoft. ‘Today is an important day for Internet users in Europe,’ said Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition Policy. ‘Today, the EC has resolved a serious competition concern in a key market for the development of the Internet, namely the market for web browsers. Now, for the first time in over a decade, Internet users in Europe will have an effective and unbiased choice between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and competing web browsers.’ Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, said he was pleased the agreement had brought the company’s disputes with the EC to an end. ‘We are embarking on a path that will require significant change within Microsoft. Nevertheless, we believe these are important steps that resolve these competition law concerns. This is an important day and a major step forward, and we look forward to building a new foundation for the future in Europe.’


Source of Information : MacUser January 15 2010

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