RealTime IT News

Microsoft Comes to Terms with DOJ

Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice settled a dispute resolving the computer company's compliance with a court order enjoining it from forcing computer makers to include Internet Explorer with licensed Microsoft operating systems.

According to the agreement, Microsoft will offer computer manufacturers two options as to the installation of the Windows 95 operating system.

The first option will allow manufacturers to install Windows 95, but delete MS Internet Explorer icons. Microsoft claims that removing these files will affect a few features of Windows 95, all of which are related to Internet access.

The second option, favored by Microsoft, removes the IE icons but leaves the browser installed on the platform. Because all Windows 95 files get installed under this option, fewer features of the operating system are impaired.

"Today's resolution preserves Internet Explorer as a part of Windows 95. This is very important for software developers who create applications that rely upon Internet Explorer, and for customers," said William H. Neukom, Microsoft senior vice president for law and corporate affairs. "Under any of the new options announced today, software developers can continue to write programs that call upon our Internet services."

In accordance with the preliminary injunction ordered by the DOJ December 11, Microsoft began enabling computer makers to license the installation of the Windows 95 operating system without IE; however, as Microsoft had warned, this brought about nonfunctioning operating systems. The court, recognizing this factor, agreed the best solution would be to hide the IE icons, rather than removing IE entirely from the system.

Although the compliance issue has been resolved, Microsoft is still pressing the court for an appeal, scheduled to be heard April 21.

"While we are pleased to resolve this compliance question, Microsoft will continue to defend the software industry's right to update and enhance products without unnecessary government interference," said Neukom.