by Anton Shilov
07/27/2009 | 01:29 PM
Microsoft Corp. and the European Commission agreed that the software maker will ship its next-generation Windows 7 operating system with Internet Explorer browser included, however, end-users will be given an option to use third-party browsers too that will also be featured in the OS. Earlier Microsoft said it could not install Internet Explorer in the European edition of Windows 7.
The European Commission said that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case about the tying of Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser with Windows. This followed extensive discussions with the Commission which centered on a remedy outlined in the January 2009 Statement of Objections whereby consumers would be shown a "ballot screen" from which they could – if they wished - easily install third-party Web browsers, set one of those browsers as a default, and disable Internet Explorer. Under the proposal, Windows 7 would include Internet Explorer, but the proposal recognizes the principle that consumers should be given a free and effective choice of Web browser, and sets out a means – the ballot screen - by which Microsoft believes that can be achieved.
In addition OEMs would be able to install competing web browsers, set those as default and disable Internet Explorer should they so wish. The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice.
As the Commission indicated in June, the Commission was concerned that, should Microsoft's conduct prove to have been abusive, Microsoft's intention to separate Internet Explorer from Windows, without measures such as a ballot screen, would not necessarily have achieved greater consumer choice in practice and would not have been an effective remedy.
Microsoft has also made proposals in relation to disclosures of interoperability information that would improve the interoperability between third party products and Windows and Windows Server. Microsoft's proposals will be published in full on its website.