A complaint of browser developer Opera that Microsoft has undermined competition by integrating its own Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system is currently being investigated by the European Union. If Microsoft is found guilty the company could face hefty fines and be forced to untie Internet Explorer from its next operating system installment Windows 7.
The latest build of the operating system Windows 7 (build 7048) which leaked to the Internet earlier this week apparently includes an option to uninstall Internet Explorer 8. While this uninstallation does not remove the tie-in of the web browser in the operating system, it does remove the Internet Explorer executable from the computer system.
Users should keep in mind that the Internet Explorer rendering engine is being used for various integral parts of the operating system, and that it most likely would require a rewrite to untie it completely.
It is unclear if the option to uninstall Internet Explorer has been added because of the complaint. It certainly looks that way considering that the option to uninstall Internet Explorer was not available in the beta build of Windows 7.
The real question is if it will be enough to please the European Union. Most end users will probably never make use of this option as it does not make a huge difference for most users. Many experienced users will install an alternative web browser like Firefox or Opera immediately after finishing the installation of the operating system.
Removing only the executable will not have an impact on system performance at all. What's your take on this? Should Microsoft offer an option to remove Internet Explorer from the Windows operating system?
Update: Windows 7 has launched in the meantime and while you cannot remove Internet Explorer physically from the hard drive of the system, it can be disabled.
Microsoft furthermore added a browser choice option to the operating system that users could make use of to install a different web browser with little effort on it as well.
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