European Commission ready to accept Microsoft?s browser ballot proposal

Microsoft nears victory in antitrust row

The European Commission is on the verge of accepting Microsoft’s proposal to give Windows users a ballot choice for web browsers, finally brining the end to an exhausting and protracted antitrust row.

In an attempt to end complaints that it was ‘unfairly’ bundling Internet Explorer as standard with Windows, Microsoft in July proposed that it would release modified versions of all windows packages that included a browser ballot application.

This ballot application will list a range of internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, when new Windows packages connect to the internet. The firm hoped this would bring an end to complaints that IE held an unfair advantage.

Those proposals are more likely than ever to pass, with the European Commission on Wednesday releasing a statement declaring it was satisfied with the proposals.

Microsoft’s ballot proposal gives "a choice between Internet Explorer and competing web browsers and that’s what we were really looking [for]", said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Kroes added she is "very hopeful" the matter will be concluded by the end of the year.

The Commission, in a final move, is seeking feedback from consumers and software companies on Microsoft’s ballot system.

Microsoft said the move was “a significant step toward closing a decade-long chapter of competition law concerns in Europe.”

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