We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,678 News Articles

Microsoft alters Windows license policy

IE icon no longer integral to the operating system

Software giant Microsoft yesterday pledged to change its licensing agreements following a seven-year court battle with the US government.

The dramatic step will loosen Microsoft's control over how its operating system is configured for different hardware, allowing manufacturers to remove the Internet Explorer icon from the Windows desktop, an action which previously would have breach Microsoft's trading practices.

"We recognise that some provisions in our existing Windows licence have been ruled improper by the Court, so we are providing computer manufacturers with greater flexibility," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a press statement.

Although the US Court of Appeals ruled against an earlier decision that Microsoft should be split, it did uphold allegations of illegal behaviour befitting of a monopoly.

Microsoft said its actions to alter licensing agreements do not take the place of any settlement discussions with the US government.

The changes will come into effect immediately, permitting manufacturers of new machines running Windows XP to pick any browser icon to appear on the desktop.

But Microsoft was quick to stress its decision only affected Internet Explorer, so icons for Windows must remain clearly visible.

But some analysts still believe this is a tiny step and still not enough to give other internet browsers a fair chance.

"It's a little too late for Netscape," Chris Le Tocq analyst at Guernsey research in Los Alto, California, told our News Service. "Why would an OEM remove Internet Explorer when most of their customers expect to do it anyway?"


IDG UK Sites

Motorola Moto G vs Nokia Lumia 530 comparison: What's the best budget smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Everything you need to know about Apple's iPhone Camera in iOS 8

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't trust password managers

IDG UK Sites

How to make an 'Apple iWatch' using an iPod nano and a 3D printer