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Microsoft and EU close on browser settlement?

Opera whistlin' positive

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Changes to a Microsoft proposal to let PC users in Europe chose the browser they want with Windows may have won over European regulators.

The European Commission and Microsoft are reported to be close to approving a change in Windows that would give people a choice in browsers, offering them non-Microsoft options.

Reuters has reported that on Tuesday, the Commission will approve Microsoft's revised plan to let people pick the browser they want.

The changes are designed to ensure Microsoft complies with competitive laws in the European Union and - having been found to have flouted them - avoid further, hefty fines. Microsoft has so-far been fined $2.5bn (1.68 billion euros) for breaking European antitrust law.

To remain compliant, Microsoft this summer unveiled a ballot screen featuring five of the internet's most popular browsers and proposed that users be given the ability to download the browser they want to run. The list of browsers would, naturally, include Internet Explorer.

However, browser rival Opera Software complained the ballot screen should not, as proposed, run inside IE and also said browsers should not be listed alphabetically.

Opera has also objected to the continued use of the "e" IE icon, saying this would provide a natural bias towards Microsoft's browser because it's synonymous with Windows.

The company's chief technology officer Hakon Wium Lie told Reuters the changes would be "significant and would be helpful to users" if they had, in fact, gone through. ®

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