Microsoft To Change ‘XP Reduced Media’ Moniker

Microsoft said it would change the name of its European version of Windows without Media Player in response to concerns by the European Commission over its use of the term “XP Reduced Media.”

“We agreed to make the change in the spirit of compromise,” said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. “This is in the interest of the consumer.” No new name has yet to be announced at this time, she added.

The decision to change the name on the European version of Windows less Media Player came after the European Commission apparently took issue with Microsoft’s use of the term.

On Monday, Microsoft began complying with a European Commission antitrust ruling that said it has to offer a version of Windows with Media Player stripped-out as well as increased access to server protocols.

The news came the same day it said it would not appeal a recent ruling by the European Court of First Instance that forces it to comply with antitrust penalties such as unbundling Media Player from Windows. (Microsoft continues to pursue its larger appeal of antitrust penalties imposed by the European Commission last March.)

As a result, it said it 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). And it said the European edition of Windows would be available to retailers and other channels in the coming weeks.

The European Commission however, has since hinted that Microsoft might face new fines, perhaps of even 5 percent of its daily revenue, if it didn’t comply fully with the commission’s antitrust penalties.

A spokesman for the EU commented that the scenario of a fine was only hypothetical if Microsoft doesn’t comply with the rules. Although it was not clear if the use of the term “reduced” in Windows constituted non-compliance with the EU’s penalties, the ruling said the company had to avoid approaches to compliance that would make the alternative version a more difficult sell to consumers.

Microsoft’s Drake said given the complexities involved with the implementation of the remedies from the EC’s ruling, it’s not surprising that there will be issues and questions. As a natural part of this process, the commission will have comments about the company’s implementation, she added.

“We’ll continue to work on their comments and suggestions as we receive them,” Drake said. “Microsoft remains fully committed to implementing the commission’s decision and we’re working toward that goal.”

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