It is totally impossible for Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer from Windows. At least that is the story they gave when confronted by the DOJ in their anti trust trial. Does that mean that Microsoft lied? Or is Microsoft has more fear from the European Union? What ever the case, it is being reported that I.E. will be gone from Windows 7.
In a recent article over at C-Net it was also reported that:
The browser-less versions, dubbed Windows 7 “E”, will be distributed in all members of the European Economic Area as well as Croatia and Switzerland. In addition, Microsoft will strip the browser from the Europe-only “N” versions of Windows 7, which also removes the Windows Media Player from the operating system and is the result of another move by Europe’s antitrust authorities.
In contrast with the “N” version, though, Microsoft will not also sell a full-featured version of Windows that includes the browser.
“Microsoft will not offer for distribution in the European territory the Windows 7 product versions that contain IE, which are intended for distribution in the rest of the world,” Microsoft said in the memo. “This will apply to both OEM and Retail versions of Windows 7 products.”
For computer makers that want it, Microsoft will offer a free “IE 8 pack” that allows them to add the browser back in. It’s a little more complicated for consumers who buy a retail copy of Windows 7. Because the operating system lacks a browser, there’s not a direct way to go to Microsoft’s Web site to download one. Microsoft aims to make it as easy as possible for folks in Europe to get the browser, though, and plans to offer it via CD, FTP and retail channels, according to a person a familiar with the situation.
With Internet Explorer’s base already eroding in Europe, this might not have much of an effect on Microsoft. But it will help to increase the user base of other browsers such as Firefox which is already popular.