REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. said on Monday it will make technical adjustments to its Web browsing software as a result of an August ruling that the software giant infringed on a patent licensed by Eolas Technologies Inc.
Microsoft, which is appealing the ruling and the $520 million federal jury award to Eolas, said the changes will be built into new shipments of Internet Explorer - which comes with the Windows operating system - starting next year.
The browser adjustments are designed to stop Microsoft from infringing on a patent owned by the University of California and licensed exclusively to Eolas. The patent covers technology which allows Web page authors to embed and automatically start certain specialized interactive programs.
The technology allowed for the embedding of small interactive programs such as "plug-ins" or "applets," into World Wide Web documents. Such programs are central today to online commerce as they power everything from banner ads to interactive customer service.
The Explorer changes will mean an extra step for Web surfers who come to a site that employs one of the specialized programs. They will be prompted with a dialogue box asking them to allow the specialized program to run, said Michael Wallent, general manager of the Windows Client Platform.
However, Microsoft also on Monday released suggestions for how Web site authors can update their sites and avoid infringing on the Eolas patent so that users don't have to see the extra prompt, he said. Other companies, including RealNetworks Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., are similarly advising their developers on how to avoid infringing on the Eolas patent.