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Friday, June 12, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: No IE onboard Windows 7 in Europe

European buyers of Windows 7 will have to download and install a web browser for themselves.

Bowing to European competition rules, Microsoft Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer.

I must confess, of all the criticisms leveled at Microsoft, the fact that they bundled IE with Windows was one that never made a lot of sense to me. Yes, it means that it becomes the likely default browser for most people, but one suspects that it will remain such even if people have to download it as it is made by the same people as the dominant operating system. Indeed, under compliance with the EU’s rules, one suspects that a new Windows machine will have a tool to download IE (a distinction without a difference, in many ways) even if IE itself isn’t on the harddrive, since it is possible that the machine might not even have a web browser on it to start with (which would be a real pain, come to think of it).

And I say all of this as someone who downloads Firefox as one of the very first acts performed on a new Windows-based computer. Indeed, come to think of it, I consider IE my Firefox Download Utility, as apart from a handful of work-related functions that only work in IE, I never open it up after downloading Firefox.

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4 Responses to “No IE in European Windows 7”

  1. Brett Says:

    I remember back in the Windows 95 day, Windows computers came preloaded with a folder called “Online Services” which allowed people to sign up for the ISP of their choice. It seems to me that implementing this sort of thing for web browsers would be the most sensible alternative for Microsoft to combat its anti-trust concerns. In other words, create an option in new computers for users to select their browser from the most popular (IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome). I think Microsoft would much more easily solve this problem by including all these browsers with its OS than by including none.

    I also think MS is probably leaving out the web browser entirely to make a point, as it will be very difficult for people to download an alternative browser without a default browser. In a certain sense, this would prove the folly of having an OS with no default browser.

  2. Windows Ships Without IE - How to Download Firefox? Says:

    [...] Steven Taylor points to a BBC report that, in response to EU complaints about its monopsony power, Microsoft will ship Windows 7 to Europe minus Internet Explorer.  In addition to thinking, as I do, that the whole thing is rather silly, he wonders about the practicalities of this: [O]ne suspects that a new Windows machine will have a tool to download IE (a distinction without a difference, in many ways) even if IE itself isn’t on the harddrive, since it is possible that the machine might not even have a web browser on it to start with (which would be a real pain, come to think of it). [...]

  3. nevrdull Says:

    I also think MS is probably leaving out the web browser entirely to make a point</blockquote
    while i think that they won’t supply/sell the OS coupled with IE 7/8, they will probably still make it an option in their online update function, which can be run without a pre-installed browser.

    also, as far as i remember, the issue of the case against MS wasn’t that they sold XP/Vista in a package with IE, but rather that you could not remove the browser from the system (i.e. uninstall it). -which is still a technical issue, but it also forced the typical user (who may lack the ‘net-proficiency to download firefox/opera/safari, et al.)to use IE, thus giving MS a quasi monopoly in this ‘market’.

  4. Ratoe Says:

    Yes, it means that it becomes the likely default browser for most people, but one suspects that it will remain such even if people have to download it as it is made by the same people as the dominant operating system.

    This is totally the case for old fogies who don’t know anything about computers. My mother-in-law kept on thinking her Windows machine was broken because of the typical annoying windows-related update pop-ups so I put Ubuntu on it.

    Her first question was, “why didn’t you put google on here”? She thought that IE was “google” since that was the (preinstalled) homepage on IE.

    It took about an hour to convince her that firefox was her new “google.”


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