I'm pickin up what you're puttin' down, and all of that makes sense. So essentially by adding to development cost you're not changing the end price of the product, you're changing your profit margin on said product. Essentially they make less money (however slight the shift is) and avoid trouble with the DOJ. That slight loss of profit, however, would inevitably affect consumers negatively at some point. Microsoft stock may take a slight dip, they may have to lay off a few employees. etc.
Getting back to the core of my question, how does forcing Microsoft to not package IE with windows benefit consumers? If the answer is it will stimulate competition, there's already competition. Mozilla, Opera, Firefox, Safari etc. are all healthy competitors to IE. I would surmise that most consumers when given a choice as in our thought example, would probably click Internet Explorer simply because it's familiar. Just as most consumers use Windows over Linux because it's familiar.
If the answer is it will benefit browsers competing with IE, while that may be true is that really in the spirit of anti-trust law? Microsoft does not have, nor have they ever had a monopoly. It's true they're a HUGE juggernaut, and a difficult organization to compete with... but they have competitors.
To sum up, kudos to companies like Mozilla who have found new ways to compete in an unfair environment, rather than pointing out the lack of fairness in the environment. :-) Capitalism at it's best.