Microsoft To Open Windows 7 In Europe To Rival Browsers

Microsoft could for the first time ever rescind its divine rights on its operating system, Windows 7, and allow competing browsers to be bundled by default, in the OEM and retail versions in Europe only.

The European Commission said on Friday that it received a new offer from the software company as the latter tries to settle the ongoing antitrust case regarding claims of uncompetitive behaviour. Last year, the Redmond-based company was fined a whopping 899 million Euros for being monopolistic.

A spokesperson for the commission said that "The Commission welcomes this proposal and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice". The EC said that it will be publishing more details on its website.

The proposals will see Windows users in European countries being allowed to select their default browsers from a ballot screen when they first configure the computers.

Microsoft had, in the past, categorically refused to remove Internet Explorer from Windows, and had preferred to sell its latest operating system in Europe without its browser rather than allow rivals to be offered.

There are no details as to what browsers are going to be included in the official versions of Windows 7 which will be released on the 22nd of October. Microsoft could potentially customise its own version of Firefox as well as Chromium which are both open source package - although that would be a tad far-fetched.

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The new agreement also means that computer makers like Dell may also be allowed or even paid for (perhaps by Google), to preload alternative browsers.

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