Today the news out of Europe is that Microsoft and the European Commission have come to an agreement that will allow users in Europe to pick their web browser from amongst approximately 12 when they activate their Windows 7 install on a new PC.

In return the EU Commission will drop the anti-trust lawsuit charges against Microsoft. Microsoft in turn must make the changes and implement the browser choice screen by March 2010.

Two key quotes from the Microsoft Press Release statement about the agreement:

The Web browser measures cover the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows for users in Europe—specifically the region known as the European Economic Area, which includes 30 nations. Under today’s resolution, Microsoft commits that PC manufacturers and users will continue to be able to install any browser on top of Windows, to make any browser the default browser on new PCs, and to turn access to Internet Explorer on or off. In addition, Microsoft will send a “browser choice” screen to Windows users who are running Internet Explorer as their default browser. This browser choice screen will present a list of browsers, making it easy for users to install any one of them. It will be provided both to users of new computers and to the installed base of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 computers in Europe where Internet Explorer is set as the default browser.

The second measure is a “public undertaking” that covers interoperability with Microsoft’s products—the way our high-share products work with non-Microsoft technologies. This applies to an important set of Microsoft’s products—our Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange, and SharePoint products. We believe it represents the most comprehensive commitment to the promotion of interoperability in the history of the software industry. Under this undertaking, Microsoft will ensure that developers throughout the industry, including in the open source community, will have access to technical documentation to assist them in building products that work well with Microsoft products. Microsoft will also support certain industry standards in its products and fully document how these standards are supported. Microsoft will make available legally-binding warranties that will be offered to third parties.

I am sure this is seen as good news for Microsoft as they try to ride the wave of popularity for their latest Windows Operating System, Windows 7, which was released less than two months ago.

As a sidebar to this story but related – Andre Acosta (@adacosta) sent me a tweet today and said he had seen me on TV on DW Journal a German news website.

Here is a screen capture of one of the seconds I was on the video clip:


Here is the entire video (in English). I appear along with my friend Tarun Chachra (@tchachra) from :31 to :34 seconds. The story is about this decision between the EU and Microsoft and runs for 1:19.