Microsoft plans to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 7 E, the European edition of its upcoming operating system, but Opera Software is arguing that the move isn't enough to satisfy anti-competition concerns.
Hakon Wium, CTO for Opera, told Reuters on June 12 that, "I don't think what Microsoft announced is going to restore competition ... I don't think it will get them off the hook."
Despite the company's skepticism over Windows 7, Opera Software's relationship with Microsoft is somewhat symbiotic; the company's newly released Opera Mobile 9.7 beta is designed for Windows Mobile-equipped smartphones. Although the traditional Opera browser ranks behind Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome in market share, the mobile version of the application is currently ranked first in usage.
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 versions, however, will require that either the PC manufacturer or the end user install Internet Explorer on the system themselves.
For those end users, Internet Explorer 8 will be offered on a free CD-ROM. The larger issue may come for those upgrading to Windows 7 E from Vista, which could leave them browser-less due to the complete erasure of the previous operating system from their drive.
Microsoft has previously tangoed with the European Union over antitrust concerns, and the Windows 7 E situation seems to be another step in that particular dance. However, a European Commission official also told Reuters that it never suggested Microsoft cull features from its operating system.
"We never suggested that they have to sell Windows without Internet Explorer," the official reportedly told the newswire. "We suggested that they might have to give the possibility to customers to [choose] between different browsers."
The European Commission has fined Microsoft to the tune of roughly $2 billion; it has also leveled massive penalties against other companies, including Intel, which it saw as violating the competitive spirit.