Microsoft Gives In On IE Bundling Issue

    July 24, 2009

"You win, European Commission," Microsoft seems to have said.  Following months of fines and accusations, the Redmond-based corporation agreed today to offer Windows users access to browsers other than Internet Explorer from the very beginning.

This development doesn’t officially mark the end of some long-running antitrust probes; the European Commission still intends to "investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice," according to an official statement.  But since the Commission also "welcomes this proposal," it looks like we’re getting there.



As for the details, "Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case . . . .  [C]onsumers would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could – if they wished – easily install competing web browsers, set one of those browsers as a default, and disable Internet Explorer."

It’ll be interesting to see how this affects Internet Explorer’s market share in Europe.

Microsoft also has to worry about the possibility that other regional powers and/or countries will demand the same ballot screen.  Still, given the disastrous nature of its earnings reports yesterday, Microsoft might have been smart to avoid an expensive fight.