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Microsoft Windows 7 decison may defuse EU case, says lawyer

Microsoft's decision to release its latest operating system in Europe without its Internet Explorer browser is a sensible step, according to a leading law firm.

Microsoft said yesterday that Windows 7 will be released in Europe without a browser to enable PC makers and consumers to install a browser of their choice.

The move seeks to remove the European Commission's ability to attack them for bundling, said Adam Collinson, partner at international law firm Eversheds.

European anti-monopoly authorities have charged Microsoft with harming browser competition by bundling IE with Windows.

Microsoft could face punitive action, including a hefty fine, by the European Commission when competition commissioner Neelie Kroes rules on the case later this year.

Even though Microsoft's competitors say the unbundling measure does not go far enough, it does put the onus on PC manufacturers or consumers to choose a browser, said Collinson.

"If manufacturers still elect to incorporate Microsoft browsers, then on the face of it the decision is not one which can be attributed to any anti-competitive conduct on Microsoft's part," he said.


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