Microsoft will ship the full Windows 7 with Internet Explorer in Europe, instead of the previously proposed “Windows 7 E” version without any browser.
In June, Microsoft had announced that they would remove Internet Explorer from Windows 7 in order to “comply with European competition law” as they said. As a side effect, users in the EU would not have been able to do an in-place upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. This decision caused protest from columnists, consumers and also from the European Union.
As a result, Microsoft dropped their plans for the “E” version and will instead ship the full Windows 7 in Europe. However users (only in Europe) will be presented with a “ballot screen” where they can select an alternative browser instead of Internet Explorer. You can read more about this (including a screenshot of the ballot screen) in Microsoft’s legal and policy blog.
It’s good to see they found a consumer friendly solution, although I find it strange that Microsoft is required to advertise their competitors’ products.
I wonder if other companies will now follow Microsoft and also offer ballot screens. For instance Adobe, who always offer Google Toolbar to me, whenever I download Adobe Reader or Flash player, should give me a choice of other browser toolbars. Or – maybe better not. I’d prefer Adobe, Apple, Sun and everyone would get rid of these toolbars they bundle with their software.