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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.
The company said it would make it easy for PC makers and users to get at and install the web browsing program.
In response Brussels expressed scepticism over the move and whether it went far enough to ally accusations of it abusing its market position.
[edited by: engine at 11:48 am (utc) on June 12, 2009]
This kind of downright stupidity is exactly what feeds euroscepsis from both inside and outside the EU.
On a similar vein, what would happen if Microsoft, in a flash of generosity, decided to bundle Office with every install of Windows? Would they actually be denied this for the sake of the competition?
I agree with everyone else here. This is dumb.
I know there is a lot of bias. Choose your OS (or application) of choice, and imagine that some governmental body dictates to the developer of that OS or app that they can't include certain features, regardless of how (non)functional they may be.
The EU could pass a law requiring all new computers to be sold with a choice of certain core applications such a browsers, media players, etc. Microsoft could happily ignore the law, because they don't sell computers, but retailers would have to abide by that law - in other words, Microsoft looses - and looses big time.
>Government stupidity has no borders.
Let's clear up some of the more blatant implicit mis-assumptions:
Hey, guys, note that this was NOT AN EU REQUIREMENT.
Having been convicted in the EU (as in several other continents) of illegal bundling, Microsoft, on its own initiative, promised to start doing this thing. The EU, for ITS part, has already responded publicly--rather negatively; they claim this will not resolve, let alone redress, the legally-demonstrated harm.
And how about that easy assumption that Microsoft will actually do what Microsoft has promised to do, even though they have so signally failed to follow through before ... and this was what in fact they swore to the US court COULD NOT BE DONE. Well, I KNOW they were lying in the U.S., and would never assume they're telling the truth anywhere else.
And just to put this in context, Microsoft has tried this particular sleazy gambit before. Remember when they agreed to provide a version of Windows without their illegally-bundled media applications in Europe? And did ... at exactly the same price as the bundled version. (Nobody bought the unbundled OS.) Not only will the EU not be fooled this time, the workers can't help but be outraged by this easy assumption that they're so stupid as to fall for THAT trick again.
My assumption is that the Chief Hurler of Chairs will be looking at another 9-digit fine, larger than it would have been had his minions not tried such a blatantly raw scam.
If they are willing to include a browser download method (during installation) why not make that offer to the EU Commission?
Of course, Microsoft can appeal when the time comes, but this is a war that they cannot win if the EU Commission stands firm. Others might disagree, but I consider the first rule of battle to be "never fight a war you cannot win".
There is absolutely no financial advantage to be gained by Microsoft by fighting the EU on this - it's just childish petulance.
So the question is, when faced with two different versions of Windows, one with IE and one without