Microsoft says Vista will allow other search engines as default.I originally had a 12 paragraph reply, which got eaten when my software crashed. I don't have enough time to rewrite it all, so you're going to get the short version this time. I don't expect much complaining about that. :)
"Our goal is to be principled and transparent as we develop new versions of Windows"
Microsoft has a Monopoly, and in a capitalist environment Monopolies have to follow different rules. Microsoft didn't find this easy: the same ruthless business instinct that got them where they were, made it too easy to keep them there by illegitimate means. Several lawsuits later, Microsoft much more carefully watches it's step.
Still, this move, as smart as it is, surprises me because it doesn't seem Microsoft was forceably backed into it. Instead, they used the massive brainpower stored up in Seattle, and realized they probably would be forced to this. So instead they made the ethical, and competitively-friendly decision to allow distributors to preconfigure computers (gasp!).
Alright, this is getting long, and I hope you get the point. Read the article: it's a nice move from Microsoft, which has slowly been turning the ship the last year or two with help from Scoble and the extensive Office 2007 team. Let's see if the new blood and brains can perservere, and clean out the old, dirty corporation...