No, it is a typo by the BBC. The BBC RSS feed on this story:

No IE onboard Windows 7 in Europe

says, and I quote,

“Microsoft ships IE7 without browser”

Funny how the browser was integral and a drop dead feature when MS was being sued by Nestcape, and now it is something they can actually ship the OS without. Over and over again we see that the European courts are more sensible and in the anti-trust area powerful than the US courts.

European buyers of Windows 7 will have to download and install a web browser for themselves.

Bowing to European competition rules, Microsoft Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer.

I don’t like the phrase “bowing to the rules.” It implies that MS is being chivalrous by actually following the law.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    June 13, 2009

    Considering Win7 will ship with IE8… yeah. The Beeb’s RSS feed often has different titling than the actual articles, and usually the synopsis doesn’t contain the full story either. There’s a big chunk about the middle where the titles don’t match while the stuff at the top or bottom do… again, odd.

    And the fact that they CAN do this in Europe to submit to the rule of law, suggests that they probably SHOULD do it by default everywhere. I hope this sends the message to MS to play by everyone’s rules and not do the dick thing by default then only play fair in some areas where they get their hands slapped.

    I mean, honestly, doesn’t it take more resources to build multiple versions of the same underlying OS? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell Windows, then have a Pro Pack, or a Media Center Pack, or a “Pretty Graphics” Pack for Aero and such, and browsers and media players as separate modules you have the option to download later, or whatnot? Make it modular so you’re not splitting your own internal resources to start off with.

  2. #2 dean
    June 13, 2009

    Should this: “No, it is a typo by the BBC” read “No, it is NOT …”?

    I read the article you linked to: the “bowing to the rules” phrase did jump out at me, probably because your comment was in my mind: however, the first sentence:

    “European buyers of Windows 7 will have to download and install a web browser for themselves.”

    seems to be loaded as well: the inference I can imagine many people drawing from it is that this requirement is essentially a punishment, in terms of extra work to get the system “usable”, for the typical user.

  3. #3 dreikin
    June 13, 2009

    “European buyers of Windows 7 will have to download and install a web browser for themselves.”

    Er – how? Unless you have a spare computer and/or friends willing to let you download something on theirs so you can transfer it to yours, shipping without a browser is not the best idea. It’d be better, perhaps, if they made it optional on install, or shipped a selection of browsers.

  4. #4 steve s
    June 13, 2009

    Yeah. Just shipping Windows without a browser sucks. I suppose you could use Windows Explorer to ftp to mozilla.org, but what a pain in the ass, and out of the range of most people’s ability.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if MSFT is going along with this so users won’t be able to get online and get pissed at the government for causing the situation.

  5. #5 Aaron Luchko
    June 13, 2009

    I think the best approach is to let them bundle whatever they want in the boxed version but to let the OEMs pick and choose what they want to include on their versions.

    It’s hard to tell from the article if this is what the ruling does, and if it doesn’t do this why not. But I get the feeling that MS is going to sell boxed versions without a browser than use that somewhat absurd scenario to claim that the EU is making them ship a broken OS.

  6. #6 Jason Thibeault
    June 13, 2009

    My understanding is that it will ship with the ability to download and install the browser during the initial installation phase, in-line with setting your security settings and hostname. No need to FTP down a browser via Windows Explorer or any of that. It says you’ll be able to select a different browser, so maybe it will automate getting the latest Firefox and installing it as well. …NAH. It’ll probably make installing Firefox possible but way less intuitive than choosing all the defaults.

    I contend that they should go all the way, rip off Ubuntu’s biggest advantage, and ship Windows with nothing but a repository manager; and that repository manager include the ability to download a number of common alternatives off the bat. Maintain an “official Windows Web Installer” where anyone can submit applications to meet their “rigorous” standards before they let the application into their official repository.

  7. #7 Aaron Luchko
    June 13, 2009

    “My understanding is that it will ship with the ability to download and install the browser during the initial installation phase, in-line with setting your security settings and hostname.”

    That would still require a network connection.

  8. #8 Jason Thibeault
    June 13, 2009

    I grant you that. Don’t know what good a web browser is without a network connection, unless you contend that reading local HTML files is a common use for home users that might not have network connections. It does, however, mean that this installation wizard must be accessible after the setup as well, if MS is capable of any sort of foresight. Someone might not have a network connection when they set up the OS initially.

    Also, they might get around the whole “pre-bundled” thing by including the installer cabs on the Windows install, but not installing it explicitly until you choose the defaults in the opening screen. In fact, it might just give you the options between “install IE 8″ and “don’t install a web browser”, unless the OEM includes installs for Firefox or co-branded proprietary OEM nonsense.

  9. #9 anon
    June 13, 2009

    “Funny how the browser was integral and a drop dead feature when MS was being sued by Nestcape, and now it is something they can actually ship the OS without. ”

    I love when bloggers who don’t know a mouse from their own ass write about technology matters. The euro version of windows7 will ship without the IE8 BROWSER. The underlying rendering engine that is intergrated into windows explorer is still there.

  10. #10 Sevesteen
    June 13, 2009

    I seem to remember that the EU said shipping with IE only wasn’t allowed, and wanted them to either ship with Firefox, or allow vendors to ship with Firefox. Microsoft decided that instead of allowing Firefox, they would offer a “no browser” version.

  11. #11 Jason Thibeault
    June 13, 2009

    And why is an HTML renderer an absolutely drop-dead feature of an operating system? Considering all the other proprietary rendering aspects of the system, why is HTML absolutely necessary outside the context of a web browser? Especially considering all the other potential uses, e.g. the help rendering system, already have proprietary file formats and rendering?

  12. #12 Doug
    June 13, 2009

    Is there a difference between Windows coming with IE and OS X coming with Safari? With XP I thought it was something to do with the fact that IE was so integral that it couldn’t be uninstalled. Now I’m just lost.

  13. #13 Jason Thibeault
    June 13, 2009

    Yes, it’s a lot like that — while shipping with Safari by default is “okay” because Mac OS X doesn’t have a monopoly position on the home PC market, theoretically Safari has preferential placement in the Mac OS stack. For a good while, though, Macs didn’t come with a browser, and you had to get IE for it (or have it preinstalled or come with the ISP setup disk). IE by the way is available only up to 5.5 for Macs — Microsoft has decided to stop updating them with the latest version. Since Safari, Opera and Firefox / Mozilla are all cross-platform though, there is as much competition on the Mac. IE isn’t exactly competitive.

    Also, Safari’s HTML renderer (which by the way is based off of KHTML, KDE / Konqueror’s open-source renderer) is not tied into the operating system the way that IE’s is. Microsoft made a design choice to reuse the HTML renderer for a ton of other features like their Windows Explorer. While that’s a valid choice, it’s technically tying the core of their browser to the OS so that the browser itself is essentially a way to store bookmarks and load add-ons on top of the existing OS. This is anticompetitive by its very nature, because even if you rid yourself of the browser, the rendering engine (and all its flaws) is still part of the core of the OS. Tangentially, tying the OS to the rendering engine gives the rendering engine far more ability to compromise your system than it, by rights, ever should. This is the real reason most spyware targets Windows vectors — integration is putting all your eggs in one basket so someone with a hammer can more easily smash all the eggs at once.

  14. #14 Dan J
    June 13, 2009

    An anonymous coward wrote: “I love when bloggers who don’t know a mouse from their own ass write about technology matters. The euro version of windows7 will ship without the IE8 BROWSER. The underlying rendering engine that is intergrated into windows explorer is still there.”

    If you had actually read Greg’s post, you would know that the typo comes from the BBC’s original report: “Microsoft ships IE7 without browser”

    And if you actually read this blog with any regularity, you would know that Greg has a great deal of technical knowledge when it comes to personal computers. Would you care to make a relevant comment next time?

    I like the fact that Ubuntu comes with Firefox as the default browser, but I also make use of Epiphany, the default browser for Gnome. The Safari version for Windows works under wine if you jump through a few extra hoops during install.

    I’m still waiting to see a really great rendering engine. I do like Safari’s support of more CSS3. Upcoming Firefox releases promise more of this, but it still lags behind.

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