To placate the eager beavers of the European Union’s anti-competition police (these guys must be really fun at school sports days) Microsoft has agreed to ship a special version of Windows 7 in Europe that does not automatically install Internet Explorer 8 as a browser. It will still be available as an option and PC makers may still choose to install it before you get your new PC. Alternatively other browsers may be installed instead of or alongside Internet Explorer.
Users who buy Windows 7 will be able to choose to install it or pick another browser to use. Although how you browse to choose a new browser without a browser will be one of those chicken and egg problems. Or perhaps a neutral mini-browser will sneak in to help guide users to the right place.
In an ideal world this neutral browser would show the five or six leading browsers and take you to their home pages where the fair-minded user can make an informed decision. It is unlikely that this activity will be repeated elsewhere in the world unless the Australian legislature starts poking a beady magnifying glass in the direction of Microsoft’s activities. However it is good to know that some positive result however tenuous has come from the billions spent hassling the American company over its anti-competitive practices.