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Windows 7 will come with IE8 'off button'

Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 8 can now be dumped from Windows 7

We don't know exactly when Windows 7 will hit the streets yet, but we do know this weekend that Microsoft will respond to criticism of its shoehorning Internet Explorer into every PC by allowing users to effectively switch it off.

IE8 joins the list of other, lesser programs that Microsoft has allowed users to dump since Windows Vista came out. Windows Media Player is also on the list published by the company on Friday.

Choice and balance

Microsoft's Jack Mayo explained: "We want to provide choice while also making sure we do not compromise on compatibility... We also want to strike the right balance for consumers."

The inclusion of IE8 on the exclude list will lead to inevitable claims that Microsoft is resigned to other browsers, such as Firefox or Chrome, eating into its market share.

Antitrust claims

Although formal and informal accusations of being anti-competitive have long dogged Microsoft, it now seems inevitable that it will have to bow to the will of the masses and open up a little.