Microsoft has made a breakthrough with the European Commission over its ability to ship Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system.
The Commission has agreed to market test Microsoft's proposals, which allows PC manufacturers to install any browser on top of Windows, and make any browser the default.
Brad Smith, General Counsel at Microsoft, said We're very pleased by today's decision. We welcome the announcement by the European Commission to move forward with formal market testing of Microsoft's proposal relating to Web browser choice."
As part of the agreement with the Commission, PC users in Europe will be presented with a screen that will allow them to easily download and install another browser if they would like, for the next five years.
Microsoft will now be able to ship the same copy of Windows 7 globally, but Smith said, "Consumers in Europe will receive shortly after they get a new PC or install Windows 7 an update that will be delivered to them over the Internet via Windows Update, and it is that update that will launch the code that will display this consumer choice screen or ballot screen."
Microsoft will also be required to support certain industry standards in its products, and to document how these standards are implemented. Smith said Microsoft will support industry standard file formats in Office, including the standard that Microsoft developed, Open XML, as well as ODF, the Open Document Format used in MS Office rival, Open Office.