This functionality certainly isn't included in my earlier build of Windows 7 I have running on my netbook.
According to bloggers who have tried Windows 7 Beta build 7048, the removal also requires two reboots and an additional configuration of the system before it is completed. What's more, the removal is apparently just an erasing of the IE8 executable file rather than a complete program uninstall.
Since Microsoft claims that most of the programs it bundles with Windows versions like IE8 are vertically integrated with the operating system, claims that a completely clean removal of IE8 are sort of plausible.
Then again, the ease with which other popular browsers, such as Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera can be installed and completely uninstalled without problems, begs the question as to why Microsoft would bother to so tightly integrate its own browser in the first place. It would be hard to claim, for instance that IE8 has superior functionality or performance than say Firefox 3.
The answer to Microsoft action is that the company is accutely aware of the opposition it has faced in the past from EU anti-competition regulators, in particular the European Commission. Even for Microsoft, billions of dollars in fines and the overheads involved with continually being ordered to modify its products to comply with local laws is an impost the software company can no longer afford.
It is interesting that the move to enable partial unbundling of IE8 from Windows 7 comes as news is breaking that relations between Microsoft and the EU regulators are on the improve, with the EU indicating that intends to relax its previously eagle eye scrutiny of the software giant's activities.
Some screen shots of the IE8 removal facility can be viewed here.