EU antitrust regulators are set to accept next week an amended offer by Microsoft that would allow PC users in Europe to choose other web browsers, two people familiar with the situation said on Monday.
The decision would end the U.S. software giant's decade-long dispute with the European Commission over charges it breached EU antitrust rules, which has to date seen the company fined a total 1.68 billion euros ($2.5 billion).
Microsoft amended its proposals for the second time after rivals such as Norwegian browser market player Opera and Google complained to the European Union executive that the remedy announced on October 7 would not be effective. [ID:nL7701914] A decision could come as early as next week during the last meeting of the college of commissioners for this year, one of the people told Reuters, adding Microsoft had made two changes.
The order of the browsers will be randomly presented instead of alphabetically in the original proposal. The presentation of the ballot screen is as neutral as possible, the person said.
The commission is assessing Microsoft's commitments in light of the market test. The commission will not accept any commitments unless consumers are ensured a real, viable choice, commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said.
The commission had until November 7 sought feedback from Microsoft's rivals, computer makers and other interested parties on the company's proposed ballot screen, amended after an informal market test.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)
($1 = 0.6720 euro)