updated 01:30 pm EDT, Thu June 11, 2009
Win 7 in EU wo Browser
Windows 7 will ship to Europe without a copy of Internet Explorer, a leak has revealed this afternoon. Since confirmed by Microsoft, text obtained by CNET shows that PC builders will have to include a browser themselves, including Microsoft's, and will have the option of installing more than one. The new version should be titled Windows 7 E and would ship both to all EU countries as well as Croatia and Switzerland.
For those who want to download Internet Explorer 8 afterwards on systems without web browsers, Microsoft plans to offer it both on CDs in stores as well as through FTP transfers.
The move is a direct reaction to accusations by the EU's European Commission that it was abusing its control of the OS market by requiring that Internet Explorer come pre-installed, even if previous rulings in the US have required that Microsoft allow users to set another browser as the default. Microsoft has publicly objected to the ongoing European antitrust case but is releasing Windows 7 E to ensure that the new OS launches in Europe at the same time as it does in other countries.
Commission officials haven't yet reacted to the gesture, which would head off likely fines and forced changes in software policy. The continental legal body has already said that a successful ruling would likely require a choice of browsers on first boot or a similar choice for buyers. Firefox creator Mozilla, as well as Chrome developer Google, have been cooperating with the Commission and accuse Microsoft of shutting them out of the market.