Dropping 'Exclusivity' Gains Microsoft European Entry

As the U.S. antitrust trial against Microsoft Corp. resumes, reports out of Europe show that the Redmond, Wash.-based company is flexible when it comes to promoting its Internet Explorer Web browser. The company removed controversial "exclusivity" clauses from contracts to win clearance from the European Union (EU) for its software licensing agreements. The licensing agreements were challenged two years ago after European Internet Service Providers (ISPs) complained Microsoft prevented them from promoting browser software not written by the company. Under the revised arrangements, ISPs can promote and advertise browser software from Microsoft's competitors. EU officials insist that their move is unrelated to Microsoft's continuing trial in the U.S., which also hinges on whether or not the company unfairly squashed fair-market competition for its browser.

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