The European Commission has issued an official statement suggesting that Microsoft’s announcement that it will offer Windows 7 in the European Economic Area (EEA) without Internet Explorer (IE) may not be sufficient to remedy alleged infringements of European competition rules.

The Commission stated that it had doubts that this action would give consumers a genuine choice of web browsers and therefore it may not be sufficient to remedy Microsoft’s alleged abuses of its dominant position in the computer operating system market. With regard to retail sales of Windows 7, the Commission said that Microsoft’s decision appears to further limit consumer choice. However, the Commission’s statement on sales to computer manufacturers was more positive. It noted that this decision should give manufacturers the ability to choose whether to install IE, another browser, or multiple browsers.

The Commission’s investigation into whether Microsoft has abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market by tying IE to Windows is on-going.