Microsoft Removes Internet Explorer From Windows 7 In EU

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 12, 2009
Updated • Jun 6, 2014
Internet Explorer, Windows 7

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 demonstrates as well that it is possible to compete with Internet Explorer without having to be supplied with an operating system.

While the intention may have been good the whole suggestion is clearly aiming for trouble. 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 may 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."  (via Cnet)

Update: It appears that things have not been as drastic as they appeared before the launch of Windows 7. Microsoft displayed a Browser Ballot on first run of the operating system that users could use to pick a browser they wanted. Included were popular choices such as Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer.


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  1. Transcontinental said on June 13, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I’ll eat my hat if I find here (in France) any PC manufacturer who will have preinstalled Firefox (or any other browser than IE 8) on Windows 7 machines!
    But I’d be very happy to eat that hat if Firefox got to be preinstalled :)

    The European Union has here the bad role, because people nowadays tend to dislike banners, but one must admit that Microsoft is definitely monopolistic. So to say, I agree with the European Union behaviour on this topic.

  2. Dave said on June 12, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Amazing. And how will the average Windows user manage to download any browser without a browser available? Even if you include an ftp client or similar downloader, any URLs you give the user will be seen as roundabout bundling and then Windows 8 will have to be shipped without URLs!

    Personally, I think MS has dominated the calculator market for far too long. Where is the protest against MS being allowed to bundle calc?

    1. Craig said on October 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm

      How about a simple tool that offers users a choice from all the popular browsers and then downloads their selection via HTTP. Some people get confused at the slightest complication.

  3. darkkosmos said on June 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    “will make it easy and convenient for PC manufacturers to preinstall IE 8 on Windows 7 machines in Europe if they so choose”
    Well the EU can’t stop it anyway, most manufacturers will choose to install IE8 on windows 7. >.> Anyway it would be funny if this backfires and everyone in the EU got 7 without browsers, deserve it for appointing retards into the anti monopoly area.

    1. Craig said on October 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm

      I’m afraid you are the retard. Windows 7 has a utility included to select and download a browser from a list, which means users don’t require a pre-installed browser in order to find and download a new one.

      Did anyone honestly think they would force people to install a browser from CD. Fucking retards. Why would Microsoft add such a hindrance to usability and tarnish their own OS.

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