Windows 7 goes IE-free

Microsoft has apparently cooked up a solution to avoid any multi-million euro fines from European regulators, with the announcement that it is dropping Internet Explorer from Windows 7 when it is released later this year

Tags: Microsoft Corporation
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By  Mark Sutton Published  June 14, 2009

Microsoft has apparently cooked up a solution to avoid any multi-million euro fines from European regulators, with the announcement that it is dropping Internet Explorer from Windows 7 when it is released later this year.

While the move is obviously intended to placate the regulators, one of their biggest problems with Microsoft was the bundling of browser and OS, its hard to believe that Microsoft's latest move will really make a difference to the browser market.

For a start, its highly unlikely that consumers or businesses will be able to go out and buy a PC without any browser at all - and why would you want to? Internet access is taken as given now for many applications, for both registration and activation. Instead, what Microsoft has said it will do is provide Windows 7 to retailers and PC manufacturers without a browser, and then let them decide what to provide.

Many commentators think that will mean IE plus one other, in order to avoid overloading the user with browsers. In that instance, I can't see it making very much difference at all for the average user - those that currently use IE because its the default, and because they don't realize they have a choice. Give them a choice and they are still most likely to stick with the familiar.

It has been suggested that PC makers could sell the browser slot on a new PC, which could be an opportunity for 'commercial'  browsers like Opera, Apple's Safari, or most likely Google's Chrome, but its still likely that the uneducated users will just regard the unfamiliar as yet more crapware.

In short, Microsoft seem to have come up with a ploy that should go a way to getting the regulators off its back, without drastically affecting its dominant position in the browser market. In the meantime, Firefox's functionality is still building its market share, most recently against Safari, while Chrome gains traction with the speed freaks.

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