LONDON (CNN) -- The European Union said Wednesday it is dropping antitrust charges against Microsoft after the company agreed to give users the choice of other Web browsers with its Windows operating system.
Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) will also allow computer manufacturers to install competing Web browsers, set them as the default browsers, and turn Microsoft's Internet Explorer off, the EU said in a statement.
"Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which Web browser they use," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in the statement. "Such choice will not only serve to improve people's experience of the Internet now, but also act as an incentive for Web browser companies to innovate and offer people better browsers in the future."
Microsoft agreed with the EU that over the next five years, it will give European users of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 a "choice screen" allowing them to choose which browsers they want to install in addition to, or instead of, Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
The competition commission sent a statement of objections to Microsoft in January, saying Microsoft was abusing its dominant position in the market through the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows.
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