The European Commission has buried the hatchet with Microsoft after Redmond agreed to offer European consumers the choice of alternative browsers in Windows. In turn, the EC agreed to drop charges filed against Microsoft back in January.
The EC alleged Microsoft's decision to ship Internet Explorer with Windows gave Microsoft's half baked browser an unfair advantage over the competition. Of course, users were always able to download and use alternative browsers, but most simply didn't bother. In all fairness, migrating to Firefox back in IE 7 times made quite a bit of sense, but recently Microsoft has greatly improved its browser and many users were contempt with IE 8.
Under the terms of the agreement Windows versions shipped in the EU will feature a pop-up screen that will ask users to choose one or more browsers they would like to install on their PC, including IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Frankly this doesn't seem like a high price to pay for getting those pesky, money grabbing European Commission bureaucrats off one's back.
However, there is a catch. If Microsoft doesn't abide by the agreement for at least five years it could face an automatic fine of up to 10 percent of its yearly global turnover.
Currently Microsoft's IE holds a 64 percent global browser market share, trailed by Firefox with 25 percent, while Cupertino's Safari and Google's Chrome hover around 4 percent each.
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