The Norwegian Company that makes Opera web browser has filed an anti-trust complaint against Microsoft in Europe. This is not the first time Microsoft has gotten in trouble, it was the same thing in the US. After that case Microsoft agreed that it would allow users to install Windows with out, having to install Internet Explorer by default. As I recall you could do that but it was not easy or obvious.
I do not used M$ Windows much any more, and I have not installed it for even longer. However if you are looking to install Windows with out IE ( Internet Explorer ) a company called LitePC has a product for W98 and XP & 2000.
Also see vLite for Windows Vista at http://www.vlite.net/
US vs. Microsoft info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft