Europe has generally emerged as a much more forceful player in anti-trust law than regulators in the US (despite their tough rhetoric). Some people believe, in fact, that in Microsoft’s case Europe has treated the company with a very heavy hand and turned it into the equivalent of a cash machine, imposing billions in fines. Others might see Europe standing up to Redmond where the Americans did not.
Now the EU regulatory authorities and Microsoft have struck a deal over browsers. The deal requires Microsoft to offer consumers the choice of many browsers on the Windows OS. According to the NY Times:
European regulators dropped their antitrust case against Microsoft on Wednesday after the software maker agreed to offer consumers a choice of rival Web browsers. The settlement averted a second costly legal battle for the American software giant.
EU consumers will get to choose from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, AOL and six other lesser-known browsers.
IE reportedly has approximately 60 percent of the market across Europe. But see StatCounter data for slightly different numbers below. Opera was the source of the complaint that was concluded with this settlement.