Microsoft has agreed to open up Windows to different internet browsers in order to fend off European Union litigation, the European Commission announced yesterday.
Under the new plan, rival browsers including Firefox (Mozilla), Google's Chrome or Opera by Norway's Opera Software will now be placed before consumers at the point when they set up a new computer's operating preferences.
"Under our new proposal, among other things, European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a 'ballot screen' from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.
"The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice," said an EU statement.
"Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case about the tying of Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser with Windows," the statement added.
It said computer users would be able to "easily install competing web browsers, set one of those browsers as a default, and disable Internet Explorer" from the ballot screen.