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Microsoft agrees to antitrust tweaks of XP

Internet Explorer's icon will become less visible. Meanwhile, Microsoft and the Justice Department discuss Longhorn.

Microsoft has agreed to make modest changes to Windows XP in response to criticism from an antitrust compliance committee.

In a court filing on Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department and some states charged that Web-related resources, such as saved HTML files, continued to be denoted by an Internet Explorer icon, even when it was not the default browser. Also, the filing said, disabling Internet Explorer in XP does not automatically delete user-created shortcuts pointing at the application.

Microsoft said in the same filing--which was jointly submitted to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly--that it will modify XP to respond to those concerns.

The Internet Explorer details were unearthed by an oversight committee that was created as a result of an antitrust settlement agreed to by Microsoft and the federal government in 2001, and approved by Kollar-Kotelly in late 2002. Last June, a federal appeals court upheld the settlement and rejected Massachusetts' bid for stiffer penalties.

As previously reported, the Justice Department and the states are holding frequent discussions with Microsoft concerning the successor operating system to Windows XP, currently code-named Longhorn.

The antitrust oversight committee is reviewing the features of Longhorn and Internet Explorer 7 by testing builds of preliminary versions of the software.

A compliance hearing on the 2001 settlement is scheduled to be held before Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

This process is unrelated to another proceeding taking place before the European Commission.