Microsoft is planning an upgrade that allows XP users to replace its software with rival program. The upgrade will make it easier for consumers to use other companies’ email, web browser and instant-messaging tools. The US government demanded the action as part of the anti-trust settlement signed last year.
Microsoft will offer the changes in a 40 megabyte service pack, which will probably be available in August.
The upgrade causes PCs to behave as if Microsoft’s own tools were removed.
Consumers will receive the upgrade either as a download via Microsoft’s website or from disk
Lawyers for the US Justice Department and the nine states that agreed to the settlement will review the plans in the coming weeks.
The company also says that it will use the update to crack down on software piracy. The upgrade will be designed not to load on machines running unlicensed copies, and offending users will be barred from downloading future upgrade patches from its website.