European Commission Accepts Microsoft’s “No Browser Left Behind” Scheme
Microsoft’s pitched legal battle with the European Union is finally over.
The European Commission has settled its antitrust dispute with the software maker, accepting its proposal for a browser ballot within Windows (see full text below). Under terms of the settlement, Microsoft (MSFT) will rejigger Windows to give users a choice between its Internet Explorer and up to 11 other browsers from rivals like Mozilla, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).
The Commission said this new commitment from Microsoft will be binding for five years, and the ballot, or “choice screen,” will become available in March 2010.
European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes described the accord as an “early Christmas present for more than hundreds of millions of Europeans. 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,” she said.
“The (European) Commission has resolved a serious competition concern for a key market for the development of the Internet,” Kroes continued. “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.”