Windows 7E: Special Edition Ships in Europe, Sans IE

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has received more plenty of flak from its competitors and European investigative bodies over its inclusion of the Internet Explorer browser with each copy of Windows. Now it appears the Redmond-based company has decided to make things right, sort of, by not including IE in a 'special' version of Windows 7.

According to reports, Microsoft will call the special version of its much-anticipated operating system Windows 7 E. This IE8-free edition of the OS is a reaction to antitrust investigations into Microsoft's traditional inclusion of Internet Explorer with its uber-popular operating systems, a tradition that hasn't been sitting well with competitors from Mozilla and Opera. The browserless Windows 7 E will ship to every member of the European Economic Area, and both Croatia and Switzerland as well. (Source:

N-othing New for MS European Policy

This isn't an entirely new tactic for Microsoft, which a few years back offered something called Windows XP N and then later Vista N without its Media Player software. That too was a response to antitrust allegations. However, most European consumers were unimpressed with this tactic, and successfully lobbied retailers and OEMs to include the media player with most PCs.

Before you ask, no -- there won't be a European version of Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 8 available. Reports are that Microsoft will make sure that not a single copy of Windows 7 is sold in Europe with IE8 automatically on board. Consumers can opt to have it installed, but will have their choice of others, too.

Only IE8 AWOL, Microsoft Assures

In a statement, Microsoft tried to assure European consumers that this does not mean the overseas edition of Windows 7 is a lame duck. "The E versions of Windows 7 will include all the features and functionality of Windows 7 in the rest of the world, other than browsing with Internet Explorer," the company noted. (Source:

The new policy is to leave the decision up to consumers buying a new PC. Given the household recognition of the Microsoft name, this whole scheme could have a rather marginal impact on IE's popularity.

Still, for rising competitor Mozilla and small-timers like Opera, it's a start.

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