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Report: Final Microsoft browser ballot may include Opera-suggested modifications

The seemingly never-ending antitrust trial in Europe may soon come to a close, if a new report by Bloomberg is on the money. Bloomberg reported on December 3 that the European Commission (EC) may issue its final remedy in the browser-bundling case involving Opera Software and Microsoft by December 15.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

The seemingly never-ending antitrust trial in Europe may soon come to a close, if a new report by Bloomberg is on the money.

Bloomberg reported on December 3 that the European Commission (EC) may issue its final remedy in the browser-bundling case involving Opera Software and Microsoft by December 15. According to the Bloomberg report, which cites two unnamed sources, the browser-ballot screen -- which will allow PC users in Europe to select from a variety of browsers, rather than having to figure out what alternatives to Internet Explorer (IE) are out there and how to download them -- has been modified yet again. Bloomberg is reporting that the final browser-ballot screen that Microsoft will offer to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will include modifications advocated by Opera. (That's according to Opera officials quoted in the story).

Last month, just before the EC-imposed comment deadline, Opera, Google and Mozilla all weighed in with modifications they wanted to see to the latest browser-ballot proposal. Opera officials said they were opposed to the inclusion of the Microsoft logo being at the top of the ballot, fearing undue influence on users. Opera’s CEO also said he wanted to bar Microsoft from displaying a warning if and when users choose to download rival’s software. Mozilla officials said they were opposed to listing the five biggest browser vendors (by market share) in alphabetical order on the browser screen.

Opera lodged its initial browser-bundling complaint against Microsoft in December 2007. The EC has not yet said whether it intends to levy fines against Microsoft as part of this complaint or whether the browser-ballot screen remedy -- which Microsoft agreed to during settlement talks with the EC -- will go far enough to level the playing field in the EC's eyes.

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