As an olive branch offering to the European Union antitrust regulators, Microsoft has announced that it is leaving its Internet Explorer Web browser out of the version of Windows 7 it will offer for sale in the European Common Market countries. EU regulators have already said that bundling the browser with the operating system violates the group's antitrust rules. However, Microsoft acknowledges that this strategy may not fully satisfy the EU regulators on antitrust issues.The case against Microsoft was originated by Opera, the company out of Norway that makes the cross-platform Opera browser. That case has since been joined by Mozilla and Google, both makers of alternative browsers. Microsoft has also announced that it will sell IE in the EU market in retail outlets, for a price to be determined. It will also give computer makers the option to install IE on Windows 7 computers sold in the EU. To those who may remember Microsoft's insistence in its US antitrust trial of more than a decade ago, IE was an integral part of the Windows operating system and could not be removed without irreparably damaging the OS. This move comes tinged with more than a little bit of irony.
This was first published in June 2009