Microsoft has responded to the EU's antitrust investigation into its bundling of its browser with Windows by saying it will ship Windows 7 in Europe without Internet Explorer 8 installed.
The move stems from a complaint that Web browser developer Opera filed with the European Commission last year saying that Microsoft gets an unfair advantage by tying IE with Windows. Mozilla then joined Opera in the suit. By shipping Windows 7 without the browser, Microsoft avoids potential requirements to delay shipment or other sanctions.
The memo says that Microsoft will offer the computer makers a way to add the browser onto computers before they are sold.
Our decision to only offer IE separately from Windows 7 in Europe cannot, of course, preclude the possibility of alternative approaches emerging through Commission processes, Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner said in the blog.
But Heinen said that Microsoft believes its move puts it in compliance with European law.
We believe that this new approach, while not our first choice, is the best path forward given the ongoing legal case in Europe, he wrote. It will address the 'bundling' claim while providing European consumers with access to the full range of Windows 7 benefits that will be available in the rest of the world.