Microsoft plans to release a European version of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer 8, called Windows 7 E, to appease EU regulators who say that inclusion of the browser could violate antitrust laws.
plans to release a European version of its upcoming Windows 7 without Internet
Explorer 8, in a bid to appease European Union regulators on the lookout for
any semblance of an antitrust violation.
Microsoft plans on offering the same versions of Windows 7 to both Europe
and the United States
when the operating system launches on Oct. 22. The European version will
feature an "E" at the end of the product name-i.e., "Windows 7 Home
Premium E"-and include all the features of Windows 7 minus Internet
However, manufacturers installing Windows 7 on their customers' machines
will be able to include Internet Explorer as part of the package, meaning that
European end users could never notice the difference. The key point, according
to Microsoft, is choice.
"Computer manufacturers will be able to add any browser they want to
their Windows 7 machines, including Internet Explorer, so European customers
who purchase new PCs will be able to access the Internet without any
problem," Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel for
Microsoft, wrote on the Microsoft On The Issues blog on June 11.
"Consumers will be able to add any Web browser to their PCs, to supplement
or replace the browsers preinstalled by their computer manufacturer."
Microsoft reportedly plans on offering Internet Explorer 8 on a CD-ROM for
users, aiming to make a workaround as simple as possible. As pointed out by
multiple sources online, however, users looking to upgrade to Windows 7 E from Vista
could encounter an issue insofar as switching operating systems could leave
them browserless, as Internet Explorer present on Vista
would be eradicated in the course of the changeover.
However, Microsoft seems spooked enough by the possibility of EU regulation
to warrant the move. The company will not be offering a version of Windows 7
with IE bundled in the EU.
issues with the European Union over antitrust extend far back in time, with
both entities arguing over the software company's degrees of compliance with
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.