Even a giant can develop a limp. Perhaps spurred by their recent fiscal nosedive the megacorporation that everybody loves to hate has made substantial concessions to the EU. Earlier this year, the European Commission demanded that Microsoft give users a choice of browsers with its OS, rather than ship Windows with just IE. Today, Microsoft has stated that they will put competing browsers on Windows for the EU.
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Microsoft offered earlier to ship Windows 7 without IE, in order to comply with the EU. Unfortunately for them, the commission stated that this was not enough. In a rehash of the antitrust debate that has plagued Microsoft for years, the EU claimed that they just weren't offering consumers enough choice in browsers.
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Ceding to these sort of demands is a new move for Microsoft. Normally they'd fight such attacks tooth and nail with every lawyer at their disposal. Unfortunately the current poor economic situation means that Microsoft has less wiggle room than ever before. They want those European sales badly, and they're willing to compromise in order to get them.