said it will make some changes to its
Windows operating system in response to a government request to do so.
The changes to the operating system will make it simpler for consumers to
use rival software products for browsing Web pages, listening to music on
competitive media players, and also to use other e-mail and instant
Microsoft said it will include a new icon, which will be more visually
prominent to users, so that they can make changes, if they are interested in
using some competitive software products. The company will go one step
further, providing detailed instructions how to make any changes to the
company’s default settings.
Microsoft’s modifications to its operating system were created as part of
ongoing discussions of implementing its antitrust agreement with the Justice
Microsoft changes are part of its “Set Program Access and Defaults,” which
enables users to choose which software programs they would like to use on a
regular basis. Among the applications that users can more easily adjust,
include e-mail and instant messaging programs, as well as which browser and
media player defaults users prefer.
Microsoft has already made some changes as part of its Service Pack, which
users can download from its Web page. And the latest changes are part of an
effort by the Justice Department to make sure the company is complying with
the provisions of the consent decree it has agreed to with the government.
One component of the latest changes by Microsoft will allow users to remove
the company’s Internet Explorer browser through a simple process from the
Microsoft’s latest changes could provide a boost for some of its
competitors, including AOL Time Warner
and its Netscape
Navigator Web browser and Opera Software ASA and its browser offering. The
changes also are a shot in the arms for RealNetworks Inc.
and its RealPlayer audio and video downloading software.
But Microsoft still controls the market share for both browsers and media
players, and these latest modifications are not expected to create major
shifts in the market.