Microsoft, EU agree on new Windows name

29 Mar 2005

Microsoft has come to an agreement with the European Commission on a new name for future Window products that will have the media player removed.

The decision to remove Windows Media Player from the Windows operating system (OS) followed an intense legal battle between Microsoft and the European Commission over concerns about Microsoft’s dominant position in the software market.

This resulted in the commission imposing sanctions on Microsoft in March last year, including a €497.2m fine and remedies that the computer giant feared would strike at the heart of its business model. The decision was upheld by the European Court of First Instance following a subsequent appeal by Microsoft.

One of the remedies was that Microsoft would remove Media Player from its Windows product and the OS would be renamed. Another remedy involved Microsoft licensing its Windows communications protocols to software industry rivals.

Microsoft originally wanted the product to be called Windows XP Reduced Media Edition. However, commission antitrust regulators balked at the “reduced media” name.

A new name for the OS will be Windows XP Home Edition N or Windows XP Professional Edition N.

However, despite agreeing on a new name, it is understood that the commission and Microsoft are still at loggerheads on a number of other areas, particularly insofar as the commission has expressed concern about the degree to which Microsoft has complied with the order to license communications protocols to rival players.

By John Kennedy