Ronnie05's Blog

IE-free Windows coming to Europe: Microsoft bows to pressure

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on June 14, 2009

Reproduced from http://software.silicon.com/os/0,39024651,39441298,00.htm
Countering pressure from European regulators, Microsoft plans to ship the newest version of its Windows operating system in Europe without its Internet Explorer web browser.
The abrupt reversal comes shortly before the European Commission is due to rule on antitrust charges brought against Microsoft in January, claiming that the world’s largest software company abuses its dominant position by bundling its Internet Explorer browser, shielding it from head-to-head competition with rival products.
Until now, Microsoft has claimed that the browser was an integral part of the operating system and should not be pulled out, but it now plans to do that for a European version of Windows 7, due to be rolled out later this year.
Microsoft deputy general counsel, Dave Heiner, said in a blog post on the company’s website on Thursday: “Given the pending legal proceeding, we’ve decided that instead of including Internet Explorer in Windows 7 in Europe, we will offer it separately and on an easy-to-install basis to both computer manufacturers and users.”
European regulators, which had suggested Microsoft offer a choice of browsers on its operating system to open up choice for consumers, gave a frosty response.
The European Commission said in a statement reacting to Microsoft’s move: “Microsoft has apparently decided to supply retail consumers with a version of Windows without a web browser at all.
“Rather than more choice, Microsoft seems to have chosen to provide less.”
The Commission is still weighing whether Microsoft’s bundling of the browser has been abusive, and what sanctions to bring as a result. It is still possible that the Commission will force Microsoft to include other browsers with its operating system, a move the company has been determined to avoid.
Microsoft’s move could yet be a boon for competing browser makers such as Google, the Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software, whose complaints spurred the European Commission case against Microsoft.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser is used for about 60 per cent of global internet traffic, Mozilla’s Firefox has about 30 per cent, and Opera is at four per cent, just ahead of Google and Apple’s Safari, according to web analytics firm StatCounter.

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