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Microsoft Scraps Windows 7 E For Europe

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Praise be...

The rumours Microsoft was to drop Windows 7 E have been confirmed. Speaking on its 'Microsoft on the Issues' site David Heiner, the company's VP and Deputy General Counsel stated:

"A week ago the European Commission said it welcomed our proposal to provide Windows users a "consumer ballot screen" {official - if low res - image now provided} to select the Web browser of their choice to surf the Internet. We believe this approach addresses the Commission's previously stated competition law concerns regarding our inclusion of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser in Windows."

Getting to the juicy part Heiner explained: "In the wake of last week's developments, as well as continuing feedback on Windows 7 E that we have received from computer manufacturers and other business partners, I'm pleased to report that we will ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that we will ship in the rest of the world. If the Commission accepts our recent proposal, we would then fully implement all of its terms. As proposed, we would use the Internet to deliver a ballot screen update to customers who purchase Windows 7 in the European Economic Area, either as part of a PC or as a retail upgrade product. "

Heiner goes on to list a number of reasons why shipping a distinct version of Windows 7 in Europe was troublesome, such as SKU problems and customer confusion but he misses out the most obvious one: it was idiotic. Consequently Microsoft will once again bundle Internet Explorer with a ballot screen on all versions of Windows (including XP and Vista) though users who have already specified a different browser as default will not be interrupted.

"As you might imagine, it was not easy for Microsoft to accept the idea that we would essentially promote directly competing software from within our flagship product, Windows," continued Heiner in a commendably honest announcement. "Still, we believe that this approach is better for all concerned, including computer manufacturers and browser vendors - and most of all consumers - than an approach focused on removing Internet Explorer from Windows. This consumer ballot approach will make it easy for users to choose any browser."

Questions still remain, namely:

  • Will upgrade versions of Windows 7 now be available in Europe?
  • How does this affect those who have pre-ordered Windows 7 E? Do they get the full version?
  • Will the
  • Windows 7 Family Pack edition now be available at launch given a 'SKU issue' was blamed for its European delay previously?
I've requested answers to these already from Microsoft so hopefully we'll have a response before too long. Oh and once more for the cheap seats, my proposed solution to Microsoft on 12 June was:

"Bundle Internet Explorer but the first time it runs make it load a web page highlighting the other browser options on the market. Since this is a web page the links can be kept up to date with the latest browser versions and market players. The presentation and wording of this page can be set by the European Commission."

Next up: world peace.

Link:
Press Release

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