Microsoft has attempted to dodge the European antitrust bullet by ripping Internet Explorer out of every copy of Windows 7 sold in the European Union. But is this little more than a gimmick?
Opera’s CTO Hakon Wium Lie thinks so:
"Microsoft’s minor technical tweak will not restore browser competition on the desktop."
The European Commission also seems unconvinced:
"If the Commission were to find that Microsoft had committed an abuse, the Commission has suggested that consumers should be offered a choice of browser, not that Windows should be supplied without a browser at all."
I'm unconvinced too. Why? Because when it comes to the OEMs, they are going to install IE on each system pushed out of the door just to keep customers happy (or at least keep them from jamming up support lines). And when it comes to retail sales, Microsoft is already pushing IE8 on CD with Windows 7 sales.
My guess is that Microsoft was trying to ward off EC involvement by pulling IE from Windows, while secretly relying on OEMs to install IE on PCs sold (retail OS customers are left out in the cold, but that's only a small part of Microsoft's business). My best guess is that it won't work and that the EC won't be happy with this remedy.