Dave Heiner, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, has confirmed that Windows 7 will be stripped of key functionality in preparation for its European release.
In an effort to comply with European law, Microsoft's upcoming operating system will reach European stores without the inclusion of Internet Explorer 8 and will be denoted as Windows 7 E. A second version, dubbed Windows 7 N, will also be absent of Microsoft's Windows Media Player.
According to reports, the standard and fully-featured global release on October 22nd will not be made available in European Union countries, leaving Windows 7 E and Windows 7 N as the only options for European users.
In an effort to ensure users have an out-the-box web-capable experience, Microsoft is recommending that OEMs pre-install Internet Explorer 8 or a browser of their choice on pre-built systems.
That countermeasure, however, won't be of use to consumers carrying out in-house upgrades. Windows 7 E won't include a web browser and in order to help European users get online, Microsoft will be providing Internet Explorer 8 via FTP and on CD-ROMs at retail stores.
Furthermore, we understand that Windows 7 E will require a clean install. Unlike standard editions of Windows 7, users won't be able to carry out upgrades from Windows Vista.
Commenting on the matter, Dave Heiner issued the following statement:
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," Microsoft deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said in a written release.
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.
We're committed to launching Windows 7 on time in Europe, so we need to address the legal realities in Europe, including the risk of large fines. We believe that this new approach, while not our first choice, is the best path forward given the ongoing legal case in Europe.
Stay tuned as HEXUS.channel editor Scott Bicheno is in talks with Microsoft and the European Union to help discover the finer details of Microsoft's European Windows 7 launch.