Windows 7 Upgrades Hit Europe

Microsoft's nixing of plan to deliver special version of OS means consumers on the Continent can also purchase Family Packs.
A Microsoft official said Monday that the company plans to make its Windows 7 upgrade editions, already announced for the U.S. and other markets, available in Europe.

Windows 7 screen shot
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The move is a result of the software maker's reversal on a plan that would have seen it release a special version of the operating system for the Continent to meet regulatory concerns.

Microsoft earlier this year said it would release a version of Windows 7 in Europe that does not include the Internet Explorer Web browser after receiving complaints from the European Commission that bundling Explorer with Windows violated competition rules.

The company recently backtracked, however, and proposed a bundled offering that includes a "ballot screen" that allows consumers to easily switch to a third-party offering—such as Mozilla's Firefox—as their default browser.

Microsoft said that offering a version of Windows 7 in Europe that is essentially the same as that sold elsewhere in the world allows it to offer upgrade editions of the OS in that market as well as its Family Pack offering, under which consumers can run Windows 7 on multiple computers at a discounted price.

"I can now tell you of several more countries that will have a chance to take advantage of this great deal," said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Monday.

LeBlanc said upgrade and Family Pack editions of Windows 7 would be made available in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The software is available for pre-order in those countries on Sept. 1 and will be publicly released Oct. 22nd.

LeBlanc said Microsoft would also offer in Europe a version of Windows 7, called Windows 7 N, that does not include the Windows Media Player. Microsoft stripped WMP from some European versions of Windows Vista in response to antitrust complaints.

Windows 7 is available to consumers in the U.S. on Oct. 22nd. Upgrading from XP to Windows 7? Here's a step-by-step guide.