Microsoft to Sell Windows 7 in Europe Without Browser

Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer in Europe, in an effort by Microsoft to offer the product on time and without running afoul of competitive regulations in Europe, the company said.

Microsoft on Thursday confirmed a Cnet story quoting from a memo that the software giant sent this week to PC makers.

The move stems from a complaint that Web browser developer Opera filed with the European Commission last year saying that Microsoft gets an unfair advantage by tying IE with Windows. Mozilla has joined Opera in the suit. By shipping Windows 7 without the browser, Microsoft avoids potential requirements to delay shipment or other sanctions.

The memo says that Microsoft will offer the computer makers a way to add the browser onto computers before they are sold.

But it's unclear how people who are upgrading to Windows 7 will be able to get IE. A Microsoft spokesman said the company is preparing a blog post that should go live Thursday that will offer more details about the decision to remove IE from Windows 7 and about how Europeans will be able to get the browser.

The EC's browser case follows a landmark antitrust ruling against Microsoft in 2004, resulting in fines of more than US$1 billion. Part of that case dealt with the bundling, or tying, of Media Player to the Windows OS.

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