Microsoft announced that it will stop requiring its business partners to exclusively promote Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on their World Wide Web sites. The concession came as Microsoft lawyers were preparing to meet with Justice Department officials today in an attempt to stave off a new government antitrust suit over the company’s business practices.
The software giant said it would allow news and entertainment companies that advertise their Internet sites on the “desktop” of Microsoft’s Windows software to promote Internet-browsing software made by other firms, specifically rival Netscape Communications Corp. The companies’ Internet sites are listed in a “Channel Bar” that is added to a user’s desktop when they install version 4.0 of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.
Under contracts Microsoft has with the “content provider” companies, they have had to tpromote Microsoft’s browser exclusively on the Internet sites.