On the eve of the US Justice Department?s latest antitrust spat with Microsoft, the software giant has announced that it will allow PC manufacturers to ship a version of Windows 98 with the ?active channel bar? feature hidden.
The channel bar directs users to Web sites chosen by Microsoft, a process known as ?first boot?, and so allows the company to tightly control the content users see when starting up their computers.
In a letter to the Justice Department, the Software Publishers' Association took issue with this ?first boot? requirement, which it believes is anti-competitive.
The letter stated: "These restrictions have nothing to do with the functionality of the operating system and serve as a type of tying arrangement that decreases consumer choice and provides Microsoft with a stream of income in other products and services as a condition for licensing Windows 98."
Microsoft would not commentfurther on the reason for its decision.
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