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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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.