Microsoft Agrees to Let XP Alter Browser Icon

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Osiris

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Microsoft Corp. agreed to change its Windows XP operating system to address fresh antitrust concerns that traces of programs that consumers choose to hide still appear on their computer screens, the Justice Department said Wednesday in a court filing.

As part of its antitrust settlement with the government and 17 states, Microsoft agreed to give users the choice of removing links to Internet Explorer if they want to use an alternate Web browser. The company also agreed to give consumers the same choice to remove links to programs such as Windows Media Player or the Outlook Express e-mail program.

The 2001 settlement, negotiated after an appeals court found that Microsoft illegally protected its Windows monopoly, also allowed computer manufacturers to promote rival programs such as RealNetwork Inc.'s RealPlayer.

Under the new agreement, an icon for the new default browser or a generic icon "will replace the Internet Explorer icon in the commonly used parts of the operating system when Internet Explorer is not the default Web browser," Justice Department antitrust enforcers said in papers filed jointly with Microsoft.

"Compliance continues to be of paramount importance to us and we are working diligently to address any questions the DOJ or technical committee" raise, said Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokeswoman. "We are acting quickly and constructively to address these questions."

Also Wednesday, European Union regulators said they would examine Microsoft's latest proposal for complying with a March 2004 antitrust order. Microsoft presented its plan to the European Commission, the EU's regulatory arm, detailing how it would make it easier for developers of free programs to work with Windows
 
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