Microsoft Corp. has agreed to modify an online shopping feature in Windows, clearing up concerns that it might be a breach of the company’s landmark antitrust settlement with the U.S. government, the Justice Department said on Thursday.
Microsoft will modify the “shop for music online” feature so that it will no longer automatically invoke the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser even if a computer user prefers a different one, the department said.
Microsoft expects to have the changes available to customers by February or March in the form of a Windows update that it will offer for download, the department said.
Justice Department officials have been charged with monitoring compliance with the settlement since it was endorsed by District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in 2002.
The pact is designed to give computer makers greater freedom to feature rival software on their machines by allowing them to hide some Microsoft icons on the Windows desktop.
It also aims to give Windows users the freedom to choose non-Microsoft software for functions such as Web browsing.
The music-shopping feature gives Windows users a way to go quickly to the Internet to buy compact discs from retailers.
Microsoft has already made several concessions to the department to resolve questions about compliance with the antitrust settlement.
Last year Microsoft agreed to make it cheaper and easier for rivals to license computer code needed to make server software work properly with its Windows operating system.
Microsoft also agreed to give more prominent display to a button in Windows that allows computer users to remove Internet Explorer.
Company spokeswoman Stacy Drake said Microsoft decided to make the changes “for business reasons” and did not concede that the feature was violation of the settlement.