Microsoft is to give Windows users in the European Union the option of choosing another web browser to replace the default Internet Explorer (IE) from 1 March.
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The move is in line with a December 2009 agreement with EU competition authorities, who ruled that bundling IE with Windows abused Microsoft's dominant position to entrench its web browser.
The ruling followed an investigation by the EU in response to a complaint by Norwegian browser developer, Opera Software, that other browsers cannot compete with IE because of its bundling with Windows.
From 1 March, existing Windows users with IE set as the default browser will be presented with a ballot screen with a choice of alternative browsers, according to reports.
The ballot screen will be rolled across the whole of Europe as an automatic download in Windows Update for XP, Vista and Windows 7, but is already available in the UK, France and Belgium through Windows Update.
Microsoft has also committed to allow PC makers and consumers in Europe to turn IE off, to allow PC makers to ship any browsers of their choice with no restriction on the default.