Opera slams Microsoft for 'minor tweak' of Windows 7

Opera Software has slammed the way Microsoft will remove IE8 from Windows 7.


The company that sparked off the EU's antitrust investigation into Microsoft in Europe, Opera Software, has slammed the way that Microsoft will remove IE8 from Windows 7.

Last week, Microsoft shared a bit of technical information about how it is stripping IE8 from Windows 7 to create the "E" editions for the European Union market.

"The only functional difference is that the Internet Explorer 8 component is not available," said Arik Cohen, a Microsoft program manager in a Q&A on the company's Windows blog. "This is the same component that your users can turn off in the 'Turn Windows features on and off' control panel in the Windows 7 RC build."

All other parts of IE will remain in the E editions, said Cohen, "since they are part of the Windows core."

The "Turn Windows features on and off" feature refers to the kill switch option Microsoft added to Windows 7 in March. Then, Microsoft managers confirmed that the new operating system would offer user settings for disabling, but not deleting, a host of bundled applications, including IE8.

"If a feature is deselected, it is not available for use," said Jack Mayo, a program manager on the Windows team. "This means the files (binaries and data) are not loaded by the operating system and not available to users on the computer."

Files are not actually deleted from the PC, however, so users can later reactivate the disabled applications, said Mayo.

Flipping a switch to simply make IE8 unavailable is not enough for Opera, the browser builder that complained to EU regulators in late 2007. Its complaint led the government's antitrust agency to charge Microsoft in January with shielding IE from competition.

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