European Commission okays Microsoft browser proposal

The European Commission's investigation into Windows browser bundling won't end with a massive fine, it looks like. According to the Associated Press, the Commission has finally approved the browser ballot screen proposal Microsoft submitted in July.

As the AP notes, Microsoft initially hoped to appease the Commission's worries by releasing a browser-less version of Windows 7 in Europe. After that idea received criticism, Microsoft came up with the ballot screen approach, which essentially involves letting users pick among a panel of popular browsers when they first start the system. Microsoft chose to move forward with that plan in early August before getting the Commission's final nod of approval.

The AP says Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith views the Commission's assent as a "big step toward ending the company's antitrust conflicts in Europe."

It ain't over yet, though. Regulators in both Europe and the United States still need to approve the search deal Microsoft struck with Yahoo in late July. As part of that deal, Yahoo intends to use Microsoft's Bing search engine to power its own web portal. The AP says regulators will determine whether the partnership might quash competition in the online advertising market.

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