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MS, EU Agree on Name for Windows Sans Media Player 468

Posted by timothy
from the first-name-seemed-honest-enough-to-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has agreed with European Union antitrust regulators on a new name for Windows software sold in Europe. Officials at the U.S. software giant said they had accepted the European Union's offer to call the European version of Windows sold without Media Player "Windows XP Home Edition N" - with "N" standing for "not with media player." Microsoft's "XP Professional Edition" will also include the "N" for versions sold without the media player. The prior name for the OS was Windows XP Reduced Media Edition." News.com also mentions the choice.
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MS, EU Agree on Name for Windows Sans Media Player

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  • How about (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:32AM (#12073917)
    Windows Reduced Monopoly System?
    • by FidelCatsro (861135) <[fidelcatsro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:35AM (#12073933) Journal
      Windows RMS has a very nice ring to it in a GNU kind of way
    • Re:How about (Score:4, Interesting)

      by iamlucky13 (795185) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:18AM (#12074464)

      Last time I bought a car, it came with a stereo already in it, yet, this wasn't an antitrust or monopoly concern. All of the other car manufacturers also had the opportunity to include some form of music player in their cars, and in fact, most or all of them did so. I recognize that the media player is a great selling point for Windows, and it's hard for the smaller companies and to grab a piece of the market share, but that's the way it works. Kia and Hyundai didn't get into the US car market by forcing Ford and Chevy to sell cars without radios. They did it by targeting a slightly different market group and by underselling the larger competition.

      The bottom line is, that in spite of my distaste for Microsoft, I don't see how bundling Windows Media Player with Windows fits into the category of antitrust. If they were after Microsoft for all those nifty contracts they've got with computer manufacturer's to ship computers with Windows pre-installed, I'd understand that. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some shady dealing in getting those contracts, and you can definitely argue that they harm other OS's distributions. I think the EU is addressing their concerns about Microsoft in the wrong way.

      • Re:How about (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @07:53AM (#12074753) Homepage
        The argument about cars doesn't really apply, car manufacturers don't have any control of the roads or fuel etc, one car maker can't make the roads or the commonly available fuel incompatible with competing cars, and they cant make it difficult for existing users of their cars to send their car to the scrapheap and buy a competitor vehicle. This is exactly what microsoft do.

        But your right about the EU going about this the wrong way, file formats, API's and network protocols need to be opened up fully so that competitors can write their own apps that are fully compatible.
      • by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:14AM (#12075528)
        So um, the OS is the car, the radio is Media Player (or viable substitute thereof, eg. Pioneer), the gas is the file format (but it's common to all cars??), the road is the Internet...

        No wait, the GPS anti-theft is the Internet...

        I mean... wait, Microsoft has a proprietary gasoline format that won't run in other stereos?!

        Ok, so if I buy a car from Microsoft and replace the stereo with a Mac, I can't run Linux on it? And I have to pay Ford to drive it on their roads?? And I have to be digitally signed to be the car's driver?!

        I'm lost...
      • Re: How about (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vadim Makarov (529622)
        Your analogy isn't valid. The stereo in your car is a physical product where each copy of it costs the manufacturer money. The player in the OS costs nothing, zero, nil to include into additional copies of Windows. Yet it effectively kills competition on the media player market. This is why the government shall interfere.
      • Re:How about (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Auckerman (223266)
        "Last time I bought a car, it came with a stereo already in it, yet, this wasn't an antitrust or monopoly concern."

        This analogy completely fails.

        1. No one has a monopoly on cars.
        2. The stereo that came with your car has standard plugs so that it can be swapped with another stereo from another manufacturer from another store
        3. The stereo you bought plays standard media, a standard that developed in a competitive and open market. This inherently allows number 2 to happen.

        "The bottom line is, that in
  • Whaaaa? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And with a name like that, nobody's gonna buy the non-media player version.
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:32AM (#12073919)
    Now when can we get Windows XP Reduced Internet Explorer edition?
    • by krunk4ever (856261) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @08:08AM (#12074800) Homepage
      It'll be called Windows XP Home Edition N^2 (N-squared)
      not with media player
      not with internet explorer
  • by unsinged int (561600) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:33AM (#12073921)
    Windows XP Home Edition Neutered
    • how about... Windows XP Home Neutering: Where Do You Want To Surf Today?
    • by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:56AM (#12074027) Homepage
      Jeez Louise, how much government manpower did it take to haggle this one out? I guess "Microsoft XP Euro" and now let's get back to working on more important problems would be too simple.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:07AM (#12075474) Journal
        Do you even know what happened there? Nah, it's more fun to jump at a wrong conclusion, eh?

        The fact is more simple than that. The EU didn't as much "haggle", it just rejected Microsoft's idea of calling it "Reduced Edition". Th-th-that's all, folks.

        So:

        1. It didn't even involve much manpower.

        2. If MS didn't want to haggle or tie up "government manpower", it could have simply not picked a name that showed outright contempt to the court's decision.

        MS wasn't even ordered to change all Windows XP copies it sells, it just was ordered to _also_ sell a version without the media player alongside with the normal version. In a way that doesn't discourage people from buying that version. (E.g., no charging twice for the non-MP version.)

        I'd say that MS got off pretty easily there.

        It seems to me that slapping a name on it that basically says "don't buy this one" is if anything just a way to show contempt there. So it just got told "nope, that won't do. Pick another one."

        That's all the "haggling out."

        It's that simple.
    • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:03AM (#12074424) Journal
      Home Edition Neutered

      I'd like to be the first to mod down this part of the name as redundant.
    • I think that goes well (or not) with

      Windows XP Professional Edition N aka

      Windows XP ProN!
  • by Sanity (1431) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:34AM (#12073928) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it amazing that just as one part of the EU is recognising and addressing the dangers of Microsoft's monopoly, others within the EU are pushing for software patents which would allow Microsoft to create not just one monopoly, but thousands?

    What is even more amazing is that Microsoft's lobbyists seem to be having an impact on some of our so-called representatives in the European Parliament.

    Take, for example, Spain's Manuel Medina MEP, who appears to have bought completely into their propaganda. In a recent article [ffii.org] he writes:

    In the United Stated, computer patents have on the one hand allowed to innovation to thrive in this area and on the other hand make Bill Gates the richest man in the world.
    He goes on to tell us that software authors (of whom he claims there are few in the EU, presumably because we haven't had the benefit of software patents) support patents, while only those self-interested "network users" oppose the directive.

    If you live in Spain and care about this issue I ask you to contact Mr Medina and politely provide him with some counter-arguments to this pro-software patent FUD. His contact info is:

    email: mmedina [at] europarl.eu.int fax Bruselas: +32 (0)2 284 9882 fax Estrasburgo: +33 (0)3 88 17 9882 mail: Europe Parlament , Rue Wiertz ASP 11G351 B-1047 BRUSELAS
    • by FidelCatsro (861135) <[fidelcatsro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:45AM (#12073980) Journal
      I must also urge any other people in the EU to also write to their local MEP about this issue. They do listen if we should loudly enough.
      Oh and please point out the Lies Mr Medina is spouting to them , FUD propigates through ignorance , Whilst i am synical at heart I do belive some of the MEP may have the brains to realise they do not want to cripple local industrys .
      The MS decision on the windows media player free Windows version shows us that the EU does at times have the brains to strike against abusive monopolys and has yet become totaly polouted by bribes(or as they call it lobbying) .
    • by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:49AM (#12073994) Homepage Journal
      I find neither amazing. Scruples only matter to a politician if there is a risk of discovery and public backlash, and debates over ethical implementation of intellectual property restrictions have nothing on soccer for entertaining the public.

      Besides, it's not like programmers will have to stop programming. They'll just have to work for a multinational software developer with a large patent portfolio as a menial instead of creating a startup and generating a large amount of tax income on their own.

      • I find neither amazing. Scruples only matter to a politician if there is a risk of discovery and public backlash, and debates over ethical implementation of intellectual property restrictions have nothing on soccer for entertaining the public.

        Well, lets not get too cynical. Many MEPs have come around to the argument against software patents. The biggest problem is that the unelected institutions, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission, are still pushing for software patents and pushing ha

    • by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:37AM (#12074184)
      That has nothing to do with the article. Furthermore, software patents would not allow only MS, but any company (and technically individual) to gain "thousands of monopolies".

      The software patent issue is far, far larger and more important than some "M$ versus teh world!" issue; please don't denigrate it to such.
      • by Sanity (1431) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:18AM (#12074461) Homepage Journal
        That has nothing to do with the article.
        The relevance to the article is clearly pointed out by my comment. It is the hypocrisy of taking action against an abusive monopolist on one hand while pushing for a change in the law that would greatly benefit Microsoft's ability to monopolise the software market on the other.
        Furthermore, software patents would not allow only MS, but any company (and technically individual) to gain "thousands of monopolies".
        Yeah, and the Tooth Fairy really exists :-) As anyone familiar with software patents will note, software patents only tend to be useful to the large companies that can afford to obtain and defend them. A smaller company with a patent will immediately get counter-sued if it attacks a large company and forced into a cross-licensing agreement, thus negating the value of their patent. Ironically the only type of small company that can effectively use a patent is one that avoids any kind of innovation, since this prevents any danger of counter-infringement. Hardly "promoting the sciences and useful arts" now is it?

        For this reason it is large companies that are the primary beneficiaries of software patents (why do you think they are the ones lobbying for them, while SMEs lobby against?).

        The software patent issue is far, far larger and more important than some "M$ versus teh world!" issue; please don't denigrate it to such.
        It is a clear example of large monopolists and the patent industry versus the freedom of others to innovate. You are correct that it isn't just Microsoft, but they are one of the most vociferous advocates of software patents in the EU, and has clearly stated [opensource.org] there interest in using patents to attack Linux.
      • That has nothing to do with the article.
        A Lie.Grandparent explained its relevance to the article.

        software patents would not allow only MS, but any company (and technically individual)
        Everyone knows patents don't just work for microsoft. Is this what you call a 'rebuttal'.

        The software patent issue is far, far larger and more important than some "M$ versus teh world!"
        Who the hell would disagree with that. Certainly not the grandparent who you are supposed to be replying to.
        You seem to offer nothin
    • hand allowed to innovation to thrive

      Did the article mention what he was smoking when he wrote that? What is he TALKING about? Software patents and innovation are diametrically opposed. Innovation thrives in a free environment, NOT one where the government is constantly imposing artificial constraints on the ability to innovate. We got where where are without all this mess- if any government official thinks that software patents do anything but give incumbent players (with deep pockets) an unfair advantag
  • and.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:35AM (#12073935) Journal
    And who is going to stock this stripped down version?

    MS can print 10 copies of it and send one to each shop, they hide it on the back of the shelvs and they are sticking to the law.

    Plus "professional/home edition" or "N" hmm which sounds better..
    • Re:and.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:38AM (#12074192)
      And who is going to stock this stripped down version?

      Anyone who wants to sell a CHEAPER version. And they can tell the customers that they can download the latest WMP in 5 minutes if they want it. Or they can download WinAmp, Realplayer or whatever; or if they happen to want to use their PC for work and not playing porn videos, none of the above.

    • Anyone who wants a cheaper version.

      They probably just add realplayer or mplayer so the ones who buy it can play media anyway - and without DRM.
    • Re:and.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aug24 (38229)
      FFS. Jeez, people like you need your heads banging on the table until you read up on stuff before commenting, and the moderators need their heads banging on the table till they can tell the difference between insightful and no-fucking-clue. Go ahead, mod me flamebait, but read on...

      OEMs can take this and put Quicktime, or even a port of Xine into it - WHATEVER THEY THINK THE CUSTOMER WOULD LIKE INSTEAD!

      That's the fucking point, not that customers would like something else - the savvy ones can already ins
  • Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:36AM (#12073937)
    And being that consumers are being given a choice between the two, at the same price.. what do you think Joe "EU" Sixpac will pick?

    • Ha! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Compact Dick (518888)
      what do you think Joe "EU" Sixpac will pick?
      Windows.XP.Pro.TR.with.SP2.Corporate.Edition.(VRMP VOL_TR).by.tosbaqa.iso
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:37AM (#12073942) Journal
    But this time I really think they've gone too far with their attempts to cripple their own operating system. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face, and it's not like they are going to turn from Mayim Bialik into Jenna von Oy by doing so.

    Rather, they submit a broken operating system as their means of working around the EU legal system. What really irks me is that this isn't the first time they've done this kind of thing either. When instructed to remove the IE application, they ripped out all the IE guts and crippled the OS. Now they are ripping out the MP guts and crippling it all over again.

    I mean I like Joseph Lawrence as much as the next guy, but when it comes to ability, Michael Stoyanov is what really sold the show. This is how it is with Windows as well. The glitzy application isn't what keeps us coming back. It's the solid foundation underneath that's important.

    And shame on the EU for accepting this as anything but contempt of court.
    • They were asked to remove Windows Media Player and did, the user can install any alternative they want as well as codecs, and af ew other things.. and it will play your movies without windows media player.

      How did they intentionally cripple the OS?
    • The glitzy application isn't what keeps us coming back. It's the solid foundation underneath that's important.

      Uhhhhhh... are you absolutely sure that that's Windows you're talking about? Somehow, even with my vivid imagination, I fail to see how "solid foundation" could have any relation to Windows (or any Micro$ux product, for that matter)...

  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:40AM (#12073953) Homepage
    What's going to prevent Microsoft from issuing a "critical update" that re-installs Media Player onto the reduced version? I think this is the loophole that Microsoft is going to use to get Media Player back into play.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:40AM (#12073955)
    "Windows XP Home Edition N"

    As a black man I find this use of the N word extremely offensive.

  • I'm glad that the EU is doing something about Microsoft's monopilistic practices but I believe noone will choose this version of Windows over a version with a media player. Since IMO an OS producer should be able to do what they want with their software (or at least, it's difficult to prevent them) I beieve the best way to open up the market is to allow PC builders the ability to offer more than one OS on their machines without MS penalising them (as they did to Hitachi over BeOS).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:44AM (#12073971)
    There are allready some comments and there will be many more in the line of "and Joe Sixpack will not buy it".

    This might of course be true, but that's not what this case is about. This is about PC vendors being able to sell a fullblown XP PC without windows media player, but with an other media installed that takes it place.

    For example, some PC vendor could strike a deal with Apple to sell a PC and an ipod bundle and have itunes and quicktime included in XP and not the windows media player.
    • Are there any PC vendors planning to ship Windows N (with their own media player instead)?
    • by dallaylaen (756739) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:04AM (#12074257) Homepage
      Let the WMP lie down in the dustiest corner of the file system. Let the OEM install Winamp, QuickTime and XMMS to boot.

      Just make the phrase "you cannot install competing stuff" illegal to appear in a license. Because locking out others is anticompetitive and not bundling.

      The message should be: "Do your business. Compete on merit. Let the user/OEM/whoever choose." not "remove the media player (r) (tm) and continue your dirty games".
      • It was already like that. There were no restrictions on OEMs preventing competing media players from being installed, as evidenced by the fact that OEMs can and do install other media players.
        • Now I know I was secretly right, but obviously misinformed :)

          I've googled it:

          http://www.aufait.net/~garnet/muse/lla.html [aufait.net]

          The current settlement prohibits Microsoft's OEM license from disallowing dual boot machines. This was the tactic used against BeOS. It also allows OEMs to pre-install other applications without Microsoft's permission. This was a tactic used against Netscape.

          Does this regulation apply in EU?
          (I guess it does)
  • by Spectra72 (13146) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:45AM (#12073979)
    Seriously..what is the EU's endgame in this? What's the point? So now instead of having to bother with installing Realplayer and Quicktime separately a person has to install Realplayer, Quicktime And Windows Media Player separately? This is a victory for the little guy, the consumer? Remember the consumer? I don't get it..seriously. I just don't get it. Monopolies can abuse their position, no doubt. I just don't see how the remedies that the EU have mandated really amount to anything more than hot air. If the average person surfs to 10 media rich websites, 7 of them are going to require WMP anyway...what's the point?

    If the EU wanted to do some actual, tangible good, maybe they should have forced Dell or Gateway to offer alternative OS's on their PCs that are sold in EU markets.

    • If the EU wanted to do some actual, tangible good, maybe they should have forced Dell or Gateway to offer alternative OS's on their PCs that are sold in EU markets.

      Theres a fine line between punishing the monopoliser (MS) and punishing the (mostly) innocent third parties (distributors, consumers). In what way does forcing Dell et al to ship alternative OSes on PCs help the situation other than causing financial burdens for Dell etc?

    • The really good thing are that the one who buy the N version can get a better media player - for example one who has no DRM in it.

      So its a happy day for anyone who likes freedom - I suspect that it will sell well in the US too if not Microsoft makes it illegal to do so.
      • That's like saying, "The really good thing about selling this car without a radio is that the consumer can get a better radio than the factory model!" This is a misstatement, because the consumer always could replace the radio, but now they must replace the radio.

        Speaking as a consumer, there was nothing at all stopping me from getting a better media player in any other version of Windows - if I wanted it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If the average person surfs to 10 media rich websites, 7 of them are going to require WMP anyway...what's the point?

      And why is this? Maybe because WMP is the 'best' media player available? I don't think so.. No, it's because it is bundled with Windows so everybody has it. That problem are they trying to solve. Of course it's already to late and their attempt is somewhat ridiculous.. but hey, at least they tried. *sigh*
    • Remember the consumer?

      Remember when being a consumer didn't mean being a mindless drone?
      Sure, having your DSL, phone company and breakfast pre-selected by the government or some monopoly corporation is much easier.
      Heck, how often have I opened my fridge and found nothing I liked. Certainly being told what to like would've been advantageous!

      Choice implies an activity, you know?
  • Some choice (Score:3, Funny)

    by GomezAdams (679726) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:46AM (#12073982)
    You can get your Steaming Crap with Chunks of Corn(tm) or Steaming Crap with Bits o' Straw(tm) but you're still getting a bowlful of Steaming Crap(tm).
  • by reclusivemonkey (703154) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:49AM (#12073996)
    I'm all for giving Microsoft a good kick in the teeth at any opportunity, but how exactly does this benefit the user? If, as I suspect, this is only the version which is _sold_ in the UK, then it will affect very few people. Most people buy a PC with Windows XP preinstalled, I doubt any of these will be version "N". Which retailers are going to want to sell a PC which won't play media out of the box? Sales people will easily talk a lot of people coming in just to buy a copy of XP to get a new machine instead with the "full" version of XP on, which can only increase the collusion between Microsoft and retailers. If the European Union is serious about its concern regarding monopolistic practices, they should immediately implement the same policy as the government of Peru [opensource.org].
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:50AM (#12074000) Homepage Journal
    from the article:

    He [MS Rep] added that the company had "some misgivings" about the new name, but decided in the end to cooperate.



    Seems the EU Commision dictated what this product will be named. While I understand MS lost and must face sanctions, I fail to see why they would care what MS calls the product or how their laws could allow for such intrusion in basic marketing practices not at all related to the case at hand. Perhaps the EU can now get busy dictating the packaging it will be shipped in and start writing the ad campaigns.
    • by ajb2718 (842302)
      Because the commison don't want it called somthing that will make it less appealing than the normal version. Would anyone buy XP Crap Edition?
    • I think that the naming convention defined by the EU was to insure that there would be no confusion between the versions of windows with or without WMP. Otherwise the EU commission could get blamed for consumer confusion if the naming convention was not considered clear and concise (just the kind of FUD that MS might do to make the commission look bad).
      • I think that the naming convention defined by the EU was to insure that there would be no confusion between the versions of windows with or without WMP. Otherwise the EU commission could get blamed for consumer confusion if the naming convention was not considered clear and concise (just the kind of FUD that MS might do to make the commission look bad).

        You'd be wrong.

        Microsoft's proposed name:
        Windows XP Reduced Media Edition.

        EU Dictated name:
        Windows XP N

        Which do you think gives less confusion over what
        • your right, MS's name is more obvious, but in a negative way.

          I think that MS proposed this name because "Windows XP Piece of S*it Edition" would not have been acceptable by the EU commission; however, it would have the desired outcome for MS. My guess is that if MS puts the word "reduced" in the name, there will be public outcry about how the EU commission is screwing us over by forcing us to accept a "reduced" edition of windows. Expecially, because as far as I know, the non-WMP version of Windows will s

    • You raise a good point, what will the EU Commission do when MS promotes XP Home/Pro and not this new 'N' version?
    • by Mr Smidge (668120) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:48AM (#12074550) Homepage
      Microsoft's own choice of "Reduced Media Edition" is deceptive, and it seems that the EU picked up on that.

      MS would obviously try to make out that the RME would not be as good as the normal version, hence persuading customers to cement their WMP monopoly if possible. Implying somehow that media playback isn't quite up to scratch in this new version might sway customers/retailers to going for the non-N editions.

      I say that the original name was deceptive because it implies that media playback is not as good on the 'full' versions of Windows. Your choice of media is somehow 'reduced'. Of course, this is false: you can put ANY media player you want on it.

      MS also have a habit of naming their products very generically. For example, "Internet Explorer", or "Windows Media Player". If you say to the average Windows-using Joe, "Play this file in a media player", the words "media player" probably get translated into "Windows Media Player" in their head: that's the effect of the generic naming. It makes them think that there is only one media player. Therefore, calling this "Reduced Media Edition" might make people think that it's not capable of playing media at all. It's a *good thing* that the EU picked up on this small point.
  • by davisk (664811) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:51AM (#12074006)
    That, is marketing genius.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And then they will call it

    Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG [imdb.com]
  • bravo eu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kokoko1 (833247)
    atleast someone there to stop M$ from doing whatever they want.
  • And the price...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ladybugfi (110420) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:17AM (#12074112)

    With my crystal ball I'm seeing the future. Hmm... The price of the N editions will be...drum roll...MORE than the non-N versions! It's natural that since they need to remove some stuff from the original, they need to be compensated for this extra work!

    And few years down the line Microsoft will claim that since the non-N versions are not selling so good, nobody really wants choice in media players.
  • Windows XP Home Edition (N)o Media Player and (O)ffice
  • by StateOfTheUnion (762194) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:30AM (#12074160) Homepage
    Does this open the door to MS crippling the OS later?

    Remember the arguments that MS made during IE litigation? They said that removal of IE would cripple the OS . . . I wonder if they will eventually be putting hooks into the bundled WMP that aren't available in the separate d/l version? And then they will use the excuse that these features are "impossible" to include in the OS without bundling them in from the beginning (a completely bogus argument, but one that they made in the past with IE).

    Of course I expect them to play ball with the EU commission for the time being, but I fully expect a future version that will leave EU customers behind because WMP isn't bundled. And EU customers will be pissed. Then MS will say to the EU Commission, "Don't you see how your customers demand that we bundle WMP with the OS? They are demanding the product that you have taken away from them!"

    And if MS's plan goes to fruition, the EU commission will have egg on its face . . .

  • From the Washington Post article linked in the topic:

    Software rivals are now complaining, however, that the new MP-less version is not fully compatible with their programs, further complicating the implementation of the EU's antitrust ruling.

    Is anyone really surprised at this behavior . . .

  • by joetheappleguy (865543) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:40AM (#12074196) Homepage
    ...Anyway?

    I'm willing to bet that 90 + % of all future users of this Windows XP N thing will just go and download the Windows Media Player installer from the MS site anyway.

    What is the EU gaining?
  • Bad for consumers (Score:4, Informative)

    by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:56AM (#12074231) Homepage
    So instead of a descriptive name telling consumers they are buying a "Reduced Media Edition" of Windows, the EU would rather consumers saw the completely undescriptive and easy to miss "N". Whose side are they on again? It seems the only ones to benefit from this will be Microsoft, when people grab this off the shelf without knowing what it is then go out and buy another copy of uncrippled Windows when they realise their mistake.
  • Do we pay more or less for the extra letter?
  • IE vs. WMP. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjbass (144318) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:08AM (#12074267) Homepage
    Many people have thought it, but I want to ask the question: why didn't they go for the thing that was thought to be in violation of antitrust laws (at least in the US)? I understand the points that DRM with WMP could present a corner market, but the thing is, I don't really mind WMP. I personally use mplayer on Linux, but it takes some work to get all the Quicktime plugins installed, all the WMP codecs installed, and then the AC3/MPG4, etc., codecs installed, etc. There is something to be said about a media player that understands most codecs (obviously not Quicktime), and isn't difficult to use.

    Now consider IE; go grab Firefox or Mozilla or Opera. You now have argueably a better browser, with the same amount of functionality. You only lose where people use MS-specific Javascript extensions, along with a small handful of other nuances. So they remove the program that really doesn't make a difference, in my mind, and leave the one that MS really got in trouble for. Good job EU!
  • Pricing ??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by langenaam (610135)
    And how much cheaper will that "reduced" version be? Or, will it be more expensive because MS had to do extra work to weed out the mediaplayer?
  • How about Windows Pro/Home QX edition for (Quiet eXperience)?
  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @09:39AM (#12075285) Journal
    This entire issue strikes me as very, very surreal.

    Now, I consider myself one of the last people who will admit when Microsoft appears in the right, but this time?


    MS: "People want our media player built in."
    EU: "That makes them less likely to pay more for a 3rd party player."
    MS: "Ummm... So?"
    EU: "Take it out and offer people a choice."
    MS: "Okay, here ya go."
    EU: Waitasec, we don't like the word Reduced, it might make people think they've bought an inferior product.
    MS: "Well, they have, you made us take out Media Player!"
    EU: "We don't like it... Make it sound less like like you've taken something out."
    MS: "<Blink> <Blink>... Umm... Okay, how about <rolls a 26-sided die> Windows XP N?"
    EU: "Great, we love it, what does it mean?"
    MS: "Mean? It doesn't mean... Oh, um... It means N ow-with-50%-more-spleem"
    EU: "Okay, start selling it."


    Dumb, dumb, dumb. Making them offer a choice, I agree with. Making them actually market that alternate version strikes me as far too fascist (in the very literal sense) for my liking...

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein

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