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Microsoft drops plans for Windows 7E in Europe

Betting that European antitrust regulators will approve its latest browser proposal, Microsoft Corp. has abandoned plans to ship a version of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer for European customers.

It now intends to offer a choice of rival browsers in Windows 7 in Europe.

Microsoft first proposed the Europe-only Windows 7E version, one of several concessions it has made to European regulators, nearly two months ago. The new “ballot screen” would provide download and informational links to rivals such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome and others.

“We will ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that we will ship in the rest of the world,” said Dave Heiner, Microsoft's deputy general counsel.

But the company isn't happy about giving equal time to rivals. “It was not easy to accept the idea that we would essentially promote directly competing software from within our flagship product,” Heiner said.

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