Ah, those wacky Europeans. They think nothing of stripping down and jumping into the Mediterranean in the altogether or, at most, those skimpy man sacks they call swimsuits.
Now Microsoft has announced it's going European. Next fall, copies of Windows will be bumming around the continent without their browsers. If the company has its way, users across the pond will be treated to Windows 7 E -- with the E standing for Excluding Explorer, or possibly just "Eff you, you cheese-loving snobs."
[ More Microsoft shenanigans, through the eyes of Cringely: "Is Bing worth a fling?" | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
As Microsoft veep Dave Heiner puts in his lawyerly way:
We’re committed to making Windows 7 available in Europe at the same time that it launches in the rest of the world, but we also must comply with European competition law as we launch the product. Given the pending legal proceeding, we’ve decided that instead of including Internet Explorer in Windows 7 in Europe, we will offer it separately and on an easy-to-install basis to both computer manufacturers and users. This means that computer manufacturers and users will be free to install Internet Explorer on Windows 7, or not, as they prefer. Of course, they will also be free, as they are today, to install other Web browsers.
Remember the mid-90s when Microsoft "crushed" Netscape by bundling IE with Win 95? Back then Microsoft told the DOJ's antitrust folks it wasn't possible to separate the browser from the OS. Apparently they managed to fix that problem. Are these guys innovators or what?
The problem? Nobody asked Microsoft to decouple IE from Windows. They went ahead and decided to do this all on their lonesome, those big-hearted galoots.