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Microsoft Scraps Windows 7 E For Europe

Gordon Kelly


Offical: Microsoft Scraps Windows 7 E For Europe

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.


Press Release


August 3, 2009, 8:00 pm

when will they start implementing Flash, adobe reader, rar, quicktime, realplayer etc etc into Windows?

A clean install of Windows has never been hassle free.


August 3, 2009, 8:02 pm

@xbrumster baby steps ;)

If you want all that sort of stuff installed from the start you're probably better off with Linux. In fact, much as I love Windows 7 in about 5/10 years I'm sure we'll all be better off on Linux!


August 3, 2009, 8:03 pm

Kelly, ah-ha, he can save everyone of us! :p


August 3, 2009, 8:06 pm


Damn. Just before I clicked on "...more" for the rest of your comment, I thought you were going to say we'd all be using Google Chrome OS ;).


August 3, 2009, 8:06 pm

@Simon - well Flash's first name was Gordon ;) Superhero or gin billionaire... choices, choices!


August 3, 2009, 8:08 pm

@drdark - well Chrome is Linux based and Google may well be the company which can finally tie the distros together but I can't see it affecting the mainstream for some time yet.


August 3, 2009, 8:19 pm

Hurrah for common sense.


August 3, 2009, 8:44 pm


>'Oh and once more for the cheap seats, my proposed solution to Microsoft on 12 June was:'

Crikey. For a second there I thought I was going to be able to read the entire article without a Gordo-plug, but lo and behold, one turned up right at the end ;)


August 3, 2009, 8:48 pm

MS doing the sensible thing. You know maybe this Ballmer kid isn't so bad after all.

Realplayer? Come on who uses that these days? I think that's the problem, there's so many things out there that many people use, but plenty don't. It shouldn't be up to MS to bundle all these apps. It'd be a nightmare to keep on top of the latest versions and for a lot of people it'd just be unnecessary bloat. Keep it simple.


August 3, 2009, 9:12 pm

I hope they redesign that page, having different browsers showing depending on screen resolution is likely to prompt another complaint from the EU, this time a perfectly sensible one.


August 3, 2009, 9:13 pm

@Chris - to be fair when I get things very, very wrong I quote myself too ;)

Ben 3

August 3, 2009, 9:52 pm

According to CNET (I think) anyone who has pre-ordered Win 7 to date will get the full version as that is what it was advertised as.

Hamish Campbell

August 3, 2009, 10:44 pm

Lucky Google Chrome came out of beta just before this, can't image beta software would be included in the selection.


August 3, 2009, 11:28 pm

@Ben - that's what we understand. You can't order a full version and be given an upgrade, it simply won't be usable for some people. The real question is what price upgrade editions will be or if there will be available at all initially?


August 3, 2009, 11:41 pm

I love the info text below each browser, which I assume will be left for the browsers to market themselves. I can see this being where the battleground will be fought. I'm looking forward to the first slamming IE.


August 3, 2009, 11:58 pm

@xbrumster: No thanks, we really don't need Windows bundled with (outdated) additional apps for specific things. Flash I can understand, but it's still going to be outdated before it's even out the door, so it doesn't solve much of a problem.

David Ashby

August 4, 2009, 3:06 am

About time, european policy is making everyone in europe sound like idiots, as if us users have not got the brain power to download our preferances as far as browsers.

I for one prefer anything to IE, safari, chrome, firefox but if there was only IE with windows I would download all the fixes that will be out when we eventually get and install Win 7 then once all setup would download one of the others and IE would just sit there defunked.

I dont need brussels telling me that I should have a choice its there for all to see.


August 4, 2009, 3:23 pm

@David Ashby: This isn't really aimed at you then is it. It is for the 90% of users who buy a new PC and don't realise there is an alternative to IE or indeed do not actually even know what a browser is. Unfortunately not everyone is as universally informed as you. Here's some research Google did for Chrome OS:



August 4, 2009, 5:15 pm

so imagine if that new pc had no browser at all,thats what europe agreed to


August 5, 2009, 6:37 am

I still think a browser is a browser and if you strip it all back they all let you surf the net perfectly competently. I use firefox but in all honesty apart for the half second quicker it takes to load pages it is the same as IE.

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