It’s been a confusing few months for Microsoft’s European customers:
- In February 2009, the European Commission investigated Microsoft for anti-competive practices because Internet Explorer was bundled with Windows.
- In March, Microsoft revealed that IE could be uninstalled from Windows.
- In June, Microsoft announced there would be a special “E” edition of Windows 7 released in Europe. IE would not be provided and it would not be possible to upgrade from XP or Vista.
- In July, Microsoft allowed people to pre-order Windows 7 E at a 50% discount. The OS has received positive press, which resulted in all pre-order copies selling out on day one.
- The EU slammed Windows 7 E; they considered that offering no browser was not an alternative to offering a choice. Microsoft relented, Windows 7 E was abandoned, IE would be installed, but European users would be offered a ballot screen to choose their default browser.
The ongoing EU spat has resulted in a marketing muddle for Microsoft. It’s not possible to order upgrade versions of Windows 7 in Europe — you must purchase the full version. However, it’s been attractively priced because, originally, no browser would be provided:
- On the Amazon US site, Windows 7 Home Upgrade is priced at $120.
- The full version of Windows 7 Home is priced at $200.
- The Amazon UK site is selling the FULL version of Windows 7 Home for just £65 (a little over $106)!
Yes, you read that correctly. The UK price of Windows 7 is significantly less than the US price! EU residents can also choose their default browser, whereas US users must install one manually!
I’m stunned. UK and European residents normally accept they’ll be ripped off owing to various undisclosed shipping and currency conversion ‘costs’. It looks as though the EU investigation has done us a big favor (it’s about time!)
- Microsoft Abandons Windows E and Reveals the Browser Ballot Screen
- Microsoft Backtracks on Browser-less Windows 7 E
- Windows 7 Pre-Orders Sell Out on Day 1
- Microsoft’s Removal of IE from Windows 7 Will Have No Effect
- Internet Explorer can be Uninstalled from Windows 7
- Microsoft to Offer Competing Browsers in Windows?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.