Microsoft scraps browser-less Windows 7 E

A week ago, Microsoft proposed to do away with the browser-less Windows 7 E and, instead, ship Windows 7 with a browser ballot screen in Europe. The company said it had submitted its proposal to the (seemingly enthusiastic) European Commission, but it would move forward with Windows 7 E until receiving approval.

Well, that plan turned out to be short-lived. CNet News now reports that Microsoft has canned Windows 7 E without waiting for the Commission's backing. Why? Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner explains:

"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."

There's more to it, of course. Windows 7 E wouldn't have allowed European users to do an in-place upgrade from Windows Vista, so Microsoft planned to offer full Win7 licenses at upgrade prices in Europe. Now, CNet News says the company will provide the same choice between cheap upgrades and not-so-cheap full licenses as in North America. More revenue for Microsoft, in other words. EU customers who already pre-ordered the discounted full licenses won't have to pay more, though.

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