Microsoft has revealed a few more details about Windows 7 E, the version of their next operating system that will be released in Europe without Internet Explorer. The information is primarily focused at developers who may be affected when creating applications that use Internet Explorer based controls but also provides some more general information.
The details, posted on the Windows 7 for Developers blog, reveal that using Windows 7 E will be similar to using the full version of Windows 7 but with the Internet Explorer component disabled. This is also how they suggest that developers can test their software for compatibility with Windows 7 E, as builds of it are currently unavailable to testers. However, regardless of which version of Windows 7 you are using and whether you have Internet Explorer enabled or not, Microsoft report that "[t]he Internet Web Platform components (for example, WebOC) are still installed and available" as they are built into the Windows core.
Microsoft has also been carrying out their own compatibility tests with Windows 7 E. These tests found that "the vast majority of applications work on Windows 7 E editions without any changes. This includes applications that use many of the Internet Web Platform embedding methods (including WebBrowser control, hosting Trident, and HTML Help)." The blog post lists more details about three different types of incompatibilities found and includes some solutions and code samples to help developers overcome these issues.
There is also confirmation that the various editions of Windows 7 E will be available on MSDN at the same time as the standards editions of Windows 7. This is expected to be shortly after the RTM, however soon that may come. If you end up running Windows 7 E and an OEM has not already installed Internet Explorer on your PC then you will still have the chance if you want to install it yourself using the Internet Explorer 8 Feature Pack for Windows 7 E. This will be available sometime after Windows 7 becomes generally available on October 22 through the Microsoft Download Center, presuming that you have another browser installed to access it with.