August 3, 2009

Windows 7 Users In Europe To Get Choice Of Browsers

Microsoft announced it would give customers in the European Union the option to install its Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser on versions of Windows 7 when the new operating system launches worldwide in October, AFP reported.

The company originally planned to strip IE from the package to avoid breaching EU competition rules, but instead will give users a "ballot" option to decide whether to install IE or another browser.

The European Commission has approved the decision and it received positive feedback from computer makers.

Microsoft had been encouraged by the Brussels-based EU executive, which wields broad anti-trust powers, to open Windows to different Internet browsers in an effort to avoid litigation.

Microsoft deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said he was pleased to report that the company would ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that will be shipped to the rest of the world.

"We're now confident that shipping Windows 7 with IE in Europe, as we will in the rest of the world, is the right thing to do for our partners and for our customers," he said.

Customers who purchase a PC with Windows 7 pre-installed will be prompted with the ballot screen when they first connect to the Internet. Heiner said users could select and then install Web browsers of their choice to replace IE on their computers.

Pending feedback from the European Commission, Microsoft said it could revert to shipping a Windows 7 E version without IE included in the European Union.

Heiner said Microsoft recognizes that there are still several steps ahead in the Commission's review of the company's proposal.

"We will fully engage in that process with the hope that our proposal will be accepted," he added.

January's anti-trust battle with Microsoft prompted the Commission, which is Europe's top competition watchdog, to call for an Internet Explorer opt-out on Windows 7.


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