Microsoft is set to start shipping its Windows without the Media Player in Europe next week.
What was intended to prevent Microsoft from abusing its monopoly on the desktop is now expected to be a completely ineffective measure.
It is still up to computer manufacturers to choose to install Windows XP N Edition on their computers instead of the full blown version of the operating system. Few will opt for the dressed down version – unless somebody thinks it would make for a nice marketing campaign to do so.
But even if consumers buy a computer with the stripped version of Windows the "N" version won't do much good. When they comes home they (hopefully) run Windows Update to download the latest patches. At that moment Microsoft will try its hardest to have them download Windows Media Player.
And users will probably want to download the software too because you hardly can go by without it these days. Certainly Real Player or Quicktime offer similar functionalities, but for certain media formats you just require Windows Media Player, or at least a PhD in computer science to get them to work on the non-Microsoft players.
What was the EU thinking when it put a "Media Player-less" Windows on its spank Microsoft list? This might go further than the spinelessness that the US Department of Justice showed in its battle against the convicted monopolist, but it still won't be much of a determent to keep anybody from abusing monopoly powers in the future.
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