Opera Software today announced that Web users are the winners upon the completion of the European Commission’s investigation into Microsoft’s browser-bundling practices. Microsoft will now offer users of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 a screen presenting a choice of Web browsers. In December 2007, Opera Software urged the European Commission to investigate Microsoft’s abuse of its dominant market position and the company’s bundling of Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system.
The new “choice screen” (or “ballot screen”) enables users easily to select and install Internet Explorer alternatives, which are safer, faster and more standards-compliant browsers. By giving consumers a genuine choice of browsers, the door is now open for increased Web compatibility and equal access to Internet content.
“This is a victory for the future of the Web. This decision is also a celebration of open Web standards, as these shared guidelines are the necessary ingredients for innovation on the Web,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Opera has long been at the forefront of Web standards, which ensures that people have equal access to the Web anytime, anywhere and on any device. We see the outcome of the EU’s investigation as a testament to our mission.”
After vigorously pursuing the bundling issue upon Opera’s initial complaint in 2007, the European Commission accepted Microsoft’s commitment to a Web browser choice screen, and the investigation was brought to a close. This browser choice agreement will have a term of five years and includes a semi-annual review of its effectiveness. Currently, the browser choice screen will be available to only European consumers.
“The days when companies could use poor standards support to tie down users are over,” said Håkon Wium Lie, Chief Technology Officer, Opera Software. “The browser choice screen will give users access to better browsers with better support for Web standards.”