MS agrees to give Europeans Explorer choice | Shanghai Daily

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December 17, 2009

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MS agrees to give Europeans Explorer choice

EUROPEAN Union antitrust regulators yesterday accepted Microsoft's offer to allow users in Europe to choose rival Internet browsers, ending a decade-long dispute and averting a further possible fine for the company.

The European Commission has imposed fines totaling 1.68 billion euros (US$2.44 billion) on the American software giant for infringing EU antitrust rules.

The EU executive said Microsoft's legally binding pledge addressed its concerns that the company may have breached EU antitrust rules by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with its dominant Windows operating system.

"Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which Web browser they use," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

She said the company's pledge was an incentive for Web browser companies to innovate and offer better browsers in the future.

The EU executive in January accused Microsoft of seeking to thwart rivals by bundling the company's Web browser with its Windows PC operating system, thereby harming innovation and reducing consumer choice.

The charge was triggered by a complaint from Norwegian browser maker Opera.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is used for about 56 percent of global Internet traffic, Mozilla's Firefox about 32 percent and Opera 2 percent, just ahead of Google's Chrome and Apple Inc's Safari, according to Web analyst StatCounter.

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