TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: In Europe, regulators today dropped their antitrust case against Microsoft. That’s after the company agreed to offer customers a choice of rival Web browsers. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson is with us live from our bureau in New York, he’s with us now. Good morning, Jeremy.
Jeremy Hobson: Good morning, Steve.
Chiotakis: So how’s this choice, how will this choice of browser work?
Hobson: Well, all users in Europe who have Internet Explorer as their default browser on Windows will be sent an automatic update. It will give them a choice of whether they want to use Explorer, or Safari or Firefox or a number of other browsers many people have probably never even heard of.
Chiotakis: And this will resolve the E.U’s antitrust concerns?
Hobson: Yeah, the E.U. was concerned that because Windows is on 90 percent of the world’s PCs and automatically installs Explorer that users weren’t being given a choice. As a result, the E.U. said, a lot of Web sites were becoming compatible only with Internet Explorer — and that, they said, further reduces choice.
Chiotakis: And what’s Microsoft saying about this, Jeremy?
Hobson: Well it did avoid fines, so it’s gotta be happy about that. They say they’re looking forward to building on the trust they now have with European officials. But I spoke with a man named William Page, who’s a University of Florida law professor. He’s been following Microsoft’s antitrust problems, and he says this agreement really opens up a can of worms.
William Page: There are literally hundreds of applications that potentially could be installed free on Windows. Are we going to require an elaborate ballot screen for the choice of every application or applet that’s shipped with a new operating system?
And Steve, he calls the agreement very far-reaching — says it’s foreign to American anti-trust law.
Chiotakis: All right, Jeremy Hobson in New York. Jeremy, thanks.
Hobson: Thank you.
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