Compaq to Give AOL Edge

Compaq Computer Corp., in one of the first breaks with Microsoft Corp. by a major personal-computer maker, said it will give AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Internet services an exclusive position on most of its home PCs running Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows XP software.

Compaq said America Online or CompuServe will become the first Internet services that users see when they initially start new PCs. The deal illustrates the changed climate for PC makers in the wake of a U.S. Court of Appeals finding that Microsoft holds monopoly power with its Windows operating software. Microsoft subsequently announced it would give PC makers greater freedom to decide what to put on the start-up screen of its operating systems.

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