Microsoft has changed contracts with Internet service providers that have been under investigation by the European Commission competition authorities.
Microsoft's European public affairs director, John Frank, confirmed the changes following a statement yesterday from European competition commissioner Karel Van Miert, which said that Microsoft "seems to be ready" to provide remedies for issues of concern to the EC (see yesterday's story).
"We received a request about Internet Explorer licensing last March and provided the Commission with a bunch of information," Frank said. "Since then, apart from Van Miert's public comments, we have not had a statement of objections. They may be thinking about one but have not communicated it to us."
Despite the absence of EC contact, Microsoft has "proactively" looked at its contracts with ISPs to take account of the "expanding business relationship", Frank claimed.
"The business people wanted to change the programmes and we looked at the contracts to see if there were any problems. We decided to change some terms and conditions to make sure there was no controversy."
The changes to the 1998 contracts affect "conditions relating to cross-promotional arrangements" on the browser preference offered to end users.
"There is a variety of things that make up what it is to be the preferred browser and we adjusted that as well as other changes," Frank said, noting that the changes were notified to the Commission at the end of 1998 and that, while no meetings are planned, Microsoft "will continue to maintain an open dialogue with the Commission about these and any other issues."
The EC has been investigating 24 contracts between Microsoft and ISPs to see if the browser aspects breach EU competition rules.
Frank said the contracts involve a fraction of one per cent of the company's revenues.
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