Microsoft has claimed its decision to allow PC makers to customise computer screens with direct links to its rivals is an "act of good faith".
Earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals overruled a decision to break the company into two parts (CRN, 4 July), but upheld the claim that Microsoft was a monopoly and used unlawful means to thwart competition.
To combat these claims, Microsoft last week announced it will no longer insist that PC makers incorporate links to its Internet Explorer browser on the opening screen.
The decision will apply to Windows 98, 2000, ME and to the company's latest product, Windows XP, due to launch in October (CRN, 4 April).
"We contacted our partners and made sure they knew about the decision before we announced it," said a representative at Microsoft, adding the move was an act of faith on the company's part in response to the antitrust findings of the court.
"This will mean a lot for the industry as a whole as well as businesses and consumers, because it will give greater flexibility within Windows and allow PC manufacturers to put links of their choice within opening screens of a PC," the representative said.
According to industry specialist Dun & Bradstreet, the move represented a significant compromise by Microsoft, as it had "maintained that the browser was an integral part of the Windows operating system".
But Chris Jones, senior analyst at Canalys.com, said: "There is no real competition left in the browser space, and this is the only area really affected by the ruling.
"It will be more flexible for the user, but because so much of the content is based around Microsoft, most users will probably end up sticking with Internet Explorer anyway."
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