Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will sell a European version of Windows 7 sans Internet Explorer. The decision to ship these specialized “E” versions of Windows 7 arises from a January decision by the European Commission that determined the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows violated European competition law. The new E versions will be available in 23 different languages and are projected to launch at the same time as regular versions of Windows 7. One side benefit of this “un-bundling” is that computer manufacturers will be able to install their browser of choice on Windows 7 systems. Mozilla, Opera, Google; get to courting… Hooray for fair business practice, umm, if that’s what this is.
Microsoft announced the availability of Internet Explorer 8 today and the preliminary reactions around the net have been pretty good. While betas and RC versions have been floating around for quite a while, the final version of IE8 will be available for your download at Noon EST. With its promised security enhancements, color-coded tabbed browsing and the incorporation of add-on accelerators, IE8 may be worth a try for those who have not already sampled the beta or RC1 versions. Let’s hope Microsoft’s servers can stand up to the demand this time.
Microsoft’s Engineering Windows 7 Blog posted details on some of the new features users will see in the release candidate version of Windows 7. One of the more interesting notes is the expansion of the “Windows Features” control panel, which allows users to enable or disable certain functionality within Windows 7. Along with the typical applications listed in Vista and Windows 7 Beta version, the list has been expanded to include the following applications:
- Windows Media Player
- Windows Media Center
- Windows DVD Maker
- Internet Explorer 8
- Windows Search
- Handwriting Recognition (through the Tablet PC Components option)
- Windows Gadget Platform
- Fax and Scan
- XPS Viewer and Services (including the Virtual Print Driver)
No, you did not misread the list. Microsoft is indeed allowing its users to disable Internet Explorer 8 along with Windows Media Player, Windows Search, Windows Media Center and more. Microsoft does clarify that “disabling” does not equate with “removal” — the application’s components will remain an integral part of the operating system and can not be removed. This is not the complete removal option many have been waiting for Microsoft to implement but it is, nonetheless, a step in the right direction.