Microsoft to tweak XP's music link

The software giant will alter Windows XP's "Shop for Music Online" feature in response to criticism from the U.S. government.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
Microsoft will alter a Windows XP music-purchasing feature in response to criticism from the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

In a notice filed with the federal judge overseeing Microsoft's compliance with its antitrust settlement, the Justice Department said it concluded that XP's "Shop for Music Online" feature unreasonably invokes Internet Explorer even when the user chooses other Web browsers, such as Opera or Mozilla.

Microsoft has agreed to change XP, prompting the Justice Department to say it is "pleased with the removal of the override and firmly believes that it is the appropriate outcome." The update is expected to be available in February or March through the Windows Update mechanism.

Controversy over the "Shop for Music Online" feature became public in October 2003, when the Justice Department said in a legal filing that it might seek the help of U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, if the dispute could not be amicably resolved.

Under the terms of the settlement approved in November 2002, Microsoft must respect the wishes of Windows users who choose to use Web browsers other than Internet Explorer.