Windows 7 in Europe: no upgrades, no IE, up to 2X the price

According to Computer World, things are not looking good for European fans of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer. Microsoft has decided to remove Internet Explorer from versions of Windows 7 to be sold in Europe, the company is not offering an upgrade path from Vista. Also, although international exchange rates vary, the prices of Windows 7 do not look good for people paying in euros or pounds.

In an effort to quell EU concerns over anti-trust issues, Microsoft preemptively removed Internet Explorer from Windows 7. Many have speculated as to why the company made this move. Some have suggested that the ploy was inspired by the company's earlier EU-agreed removal of Windows Media Player from the so-called "N" versions of Windows Vista. However, in that case, Microsoft's concession (offering the "N" versions of Vista) did nothing to harm their bottom line or to increase competition in media players. OEMs simply demanded the non-"N" versions of Vista, and the "N" versions became a minute fraction of copies sold.

This time Microsoft is going for broke by removing Internet Explorer from all versions of Windows 7 to be sold in Europe. OEMs in this case may choose to include it, however, in their Windows machines, just as they add so-called "crap-ware", "crippleware" and teaser anti-virus suites. This is what it would appear Microsoft is hoping for. The European Union's preferred solution remains a sort of pop-up voting screen offering users a choice of browser installs the first time they fire up a new Windows 7 machine. The EU may have its way in the end, even with Microsoft seeming to be trying to pull the rug out from under their feet.

This state of affairs has nothing to do with the pricing of the various versions of Windows 7 in Europe, or does it? Windows 7 Home Premium is slated at €119.99 ($169.19 at today's rate) in countries using the euro and £79.99 ($132.28 at today's rate) in the UK. People in the US will be paying "only $119 for the same software after a two-week pre-order sales discount expires July 11" according to Computer World. Plus, US customers will receive Internet Explorer as part of the default install.

Even more surprising, Windows 7 Ultimate, which will retail for $219.99 in America will cost around 90% more in euros and 50% more in pounds, at current rates. It's worth remembering that the versions listed for comparison are full versions in Europe and upgrade versions in the US as Microsoft hasn't announced when upgrade versions will be available in the EU. Without the initial choice on October 22 users will have no choice but to purchase the full versions or wait until Microsoft has the upgrade versions ready for the EU.

Article update - to reflect the fact that pricing is based on Full edition in Europe as Microsoft will not be supplying upgrade editions initially.

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