Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Internet Explorer Removed From Windows 7 In EU

We all have heard the news that the European Union made the “suggestion” that Microsoft should bundle additional web browsers with their upcoming operating system Windows 7 to make up for failings in the past and to embrace competition. Many users felt that this move was entirely unnecessary as users who wanted a new web browser were able to get one minutes after finishing the installation of the Windows operating system. The success of the Firefox web browser in European countries demonstrated as well that it was possible to compete with Internet Explorer without having to be supplied with an operating system.

While the intention might have been good the whole suggestion was clearly aiming for troubles. Some questions that came up where about the web browsers that should be supplied with the operating system. Who would pick the ones that would be supplied, who would make the decision to not supply a web browser and why.

It seems though that the suggestion has backfired as Microsoft announced that they will not ship Windows 7 with a version of Internet Explorer in the European Union which in turn means that the operating system will ship without web browser at all. Veteran Internet users might be reminded of times back then when web browsers were supplied on floppy disks or CDs and this is apparently going to happen in 2009 again. History repeats itself so to say, at least in the EU.

The browser-less versions, dubbed Windows 7 “E”, will be distributed in all members of the European Economic Area as well as Croatia and Switzerland. In addition, Microsoft will strip the browser from the Europe-only “N” versions of Windows 7, which also removes the Windows Media Player from the operating system and is the result of another move by Europe’s antitrust authorities. 

“Microsoft will not offer for distribution in the European territory the Windows 7 product versions that contain IE, which are intended for distribution in the rest of the world,” Microsoft said in the memo. “This will apply to both OEM and Retail versions of Windows 7 products.” 

“To ensure that Microsoft is in compliance with European law, Microsoft will be releasing a separate version of Windows 7 for distribution in Europe that will not include Windows Internet Explorer,” the software maker said in the memo. “Microsoft will offer IE8 separately and free of charge and will make it easy and convenient for PC manufacturers to preinstall IE 8 on Windows 7 machines in Europe if they so choose. PC manufacturers may choose to install an alternative browser instead of IE 8, and has always been the case, they may install multiple browsers if they wish.”

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