Europe, Antitrust Powerhaus, Strikes A Browser Deal With Microsoft

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.

Neelie Kroes, the European competition commissioner, said the agrrement with Microsoft was an “early Christmas present for more than hundreds of millions of Europeans” who would get “effective and unbiased choice” between competing browsers.

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.

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Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Legal: General | Microsoft: Business Issues | Microsoft: Outside US


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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