Today the European Commission adopted a decision that represents a settlement in its current tying case against Microsoft. The settlement is similar to the version made available for comment some time back, with some changes resulting from the comment period.
The settlement articulates a number of principles relating to Microsoft protecting the choice of a different browser after a user has switched. (In the past it has been very difficult to avoid using IE, or to avoid repeated instances where IE keeps opening for certain tasks, or what appeared to be repeated efforts on Microsoft’s part to push people away from their choice and back to IE.) The settlement also requires Microsoft to include a “Choice Screen” offering users a choice of browsers in specified circumstances.
While the ballot mechanism represented by the choice screen has received the most attention, Mozilla is most pleased with the core principles Microsoft will be adopting that protect the choices a person has already made. These principles won’t be obvious to a person using Windows. That’s the point — once a person has chosen an alternative browser, IE should not keep reappearing. These principles are expressed in several components of the commitments and together should result in a greater respect for individual human decisions.
Mozilla’s non-profit mission is focused on self-determination and individual empowerment; we are gratified to see these principles appear in the settlement.