Microsoft is to comply with the recent European Union ruling forcing it to produce a version of Windows without Media Centre.
The EU ruling found that bundling Media Centre was anti-competitive since it damaged the business of competing media player manufacturers, and ordered Microsoft to share software with other vendors to make interoperability with Windows easier.
Microsoft vowed not to comply until its appeal against the decision of Bo Vesterdorf, president of the European Court of First Instance, was contested, but has subsequently backed down.
"Microsoft has decided to forego its right to appeal the Court of First Instance's interim measures ruling of 22 December 2004," the company said in a statement.
"Rather than seeking to suspend the Commission's remedies, Microsoft's focus now is on working constructively with the Commission on their full and prompt implementation.
"To that end, Microsoft has made available licensing information for communications protocols (the interoperability remedy) and has made available the first versions of Windows without media functionality to computer manufacturers (the media player remedy)."
The company confirmed that a European edition of Windows will be available to retailers and other channels in the coming weeks.
"We do not expect many people to buy the version of Windows without Media Player," said Philip Carnelley, research director at analyst firm Ovum.
"The significance here is that Microsoft has had its wings clipped and will have to think twice about bundling significant functions in Windows going forward.
"But at the same time we still wonder why the EC did not produce a ruling with more bite by forcing Microsoft to license its protocols for free, or to charge extra for the versions which include Media Player."
Microsoft is keen to settle the case, which some legal experts predicted could have taken five years or more. The company settled a similar case bought by the US Department of Justice in 2002.
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