Microsoft Pledge Ends EU Suit

Microsoft has made a binding pledge to allow rival Internet browsers on its systems, ending a European Union antitrust lawsuit. Under the agreement, Microsoft will present users with 12 browser options beginning in mid-March, including its own Internet Explorer, plus Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, and Google Chrome. Computer makers will also have the power to uninstall IE or install an alternate browser. The pledge will last for five years, although the European Commission, which filed the suit after a complaint from Norwegian browser maker Opera, will reevaluate the terms after two years. The suit charged that the company's practice of bundling IE with the ubiquitous Windows software harmed innovation and reduced customer choice. Previously, the European Commission fined Microsoft $2.44 billion for infringement of anti-competition rules.