It looks like there won't be a browserless version of Windows 7, after all.
Microsoft said late Friday that it won't ship the Windows 7 "E" version of Windows even though Europe has yet to sign off on its revised plan. The plan calls for the company to ship Windows 7 with Internet Explorer, but present a ballot screen in which users in Europe can decide whether they want Internet Explorer or another browser.
The software maker had originally proposed shipping Windows 7 in Europe without a browser at all--the so-called "E" version of the operating system. However, European regulators indicated that might not satisfy its concerns.
Microsoft announced last week that it was open to the "ballot screen," but said that it would wait to can the browserless "E" version until European regulators approved its plan.
The software maker said late Friday that it decided to ship the same version of Windows 7 for Europe after PC makers complained that having to use the browserless version of Windows 7 for a short period of time would be a pain.
"In the wake of last week's developments, as well as continuing feedback on Windows 7 E that we have received from computer manufacturers and other business partners, I'm pleased to report that we will ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that we will ship in the rest of the world," deputy general counsel Dave Heiner said in a statement.
The commission had said it "welcomed" Microsoft's move, also giving the software maker some confidence that it could ship Windows 7 with the browser included. If the commission accepts Microsoft's proposal, it will fully implement that proposed ballot screen to Windows 7 buyers in Europe.
"One reason we decided not to ship Windows 7 'E' is concerns raised by computer manufacturers and partners," Heiner said. "Several worried about the complexity of changing the version of Windows that we ship in Europe if our ballot screen proposal is ultimately accepted by the Commission and we stop selling Windows 7 'E'. Computer manufacturers and our partners also warned that introducing Windows 7 'E', only to later replace it with a version of Windows 7 that includes IE, could confuse consumers about what version of Windows to buy with their PCs."
The move also solved a challenge for Vista users in Europe, who under the previous plan would have had to do a clean install to move to Windows 7. It also allows Microsoft to sell an "upgrade version" of Windows 7 in Europe. Microsoft had previously said it would only sell a full version of the OS, though it had said it would sell that at the upgrade price, at least for a time.
Those who pre-ordered Windows 7 "E" through a recent discount offer will get the full version, as Microsoft had promised. However, Microsoft plans to now sell Windows 7 upgrades in Europe and also offer a higher-priced full version (for those without an earlier copy of Windows)--similar to what it is doing in the rest of the world.