It looks like Microsoft's decision to allow end users to remove IE 8 (and other features) from Windows 7 is having a positive effect in Europe. No, nothing official from the EU (yet), but a positive reaction from the EU's former Microsoft monitoring trustee:

Plans to introduce modular features in Windows 7 have been welcomed by the European Commission's former Microsoft monitoring trustee.

Professor Neil Barrett said this would help promote effective competition.

EU regulators have ended full-time monitoring of Microsoft, which was started to ensure the firm complied with an anti-trust ruling.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Barrett said it was a welcome move on all fronts.

"Microsoft did this off their own bat. From their perspective, making the operating system modular is a good thing.

"For competitors, this will allow them to compete on all fronts.

"It also benefits European Commission monitoring, as this will give them a clear understanding of what would be needed in the future should other firms fall foul of anti-trust laws."

Thanks to Timothy S. for the link.