Updated: Microsoft Pledges EC Browser Separation, EC Carries On Regardless

imageIn an attempt to head off a potential antitrust ruling and hefty fine from the European Commission, Microsoft has announced it will remove its web browser Internet Explorer from its Windows 7 OS software in Europe following long-standing complaints from rival browsers. In a memo sent to PC manufacturers, seen by CNET, MS says: “To ensure that Microsoft is in compliance with European law, Microsoft will be releasing a separate version of Windows 7 for distribution in Europe that will not include Windows Internet Explorer.” It will be up to manufacturers to install IE8 — currently being advertised on US TV — if they want when Windows 7 launches on October 22.

As the software giant’s VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner puts it on the company’s blog: “Obviously, this is a big step for Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). But we