Originally Posted by Zinxe
Didn't Europe pass some law where Windows couldn't force IE on users anymore, they had a choice to install another browser from the beginning without needing IE?
The settlement ended up that MS would have to supply a version to OEMs that was devoid of IE - OEMs could install whatever browser that they chose. So there are retail versions that have IE, and others that do not - but IE is no longer coupled to the system - and an IE version has to have the ability of being uninstalled in lieu of another browser.
In advance, and coupled with the settlement in the US, MS was forced to uncouple IE from the Windows kernel. However, there was some debate about how MS could include other browsers on the distribution disk itself, since the browser makers may not have the same release dates. So they are allowed to include IE on the system, but it can not be a "mandatory" part of the kernel, and can not have hidden hooks that deprive people of running other browsers. It was deemed acceptable as part of the settlement that IE can be included, but must be uninstallable, and can not infringe on the free operation of any other browser product. Nor can the kernel have "hooks" in it that impede "competing products" from having fair access on the Windows platform.
So even that the market lead for IE has eroded, it has lead to a much better OS - because other such hooks that impede other products have lead to the Trusted Computing Initiative, and hence, greater kernel level security, better performance, and less instrusive coding practices. MS is growing up a bit, and though they are maybe second place in browsers - their product is much improved over the crass old days, when their system was filled with spaghetti code, easter eggs, and other impedances.