Microsoft attempts to appease Europe

Microsoft has issued a fresh proposal to European competition regulators in a bid to end the tussle over competitive issues threatening sales of the Internet Explorer web browser.

The software giant has suggested that European buyers of the Windows 7 operating system could be offered a ‘ballot’ of potential rival browsers to select  when  initially installing the software. Windows 7 is due to go on sale from 22 October.

The offer comes a month after Microsoft announced that European buyers of Windows 7 would have to download a web browser.

The move came despite that European competition  regulator ruling against pre- bundling of browsers in January.

The European Commission said it welcomed the proposal and is investigating its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice.

In June the Commission said that it was concerned that, should Microsoft's conduct prove to have been abusive, Microsoft's intention to separate Internet Explorer from Windows, without measures such as a ballot screen, would not necessarily have achieved greater consumer choice in practice and would not have been an effective remedy.

Last year Microsoft was fined €899 million by the European Commission for a litany of anti-competitive practices.