Microsoft Dubs European Windows

One barrier to Microsoft’s efforts to comply with European antitrust penalties fell on Monday.

Microsoft said it would call the two versions of the Windows XP operating system to be sold in the EU Windows XP Home Edition N or Windows XP Professional Edition N.

After former European Commission Competition Commissioner Mario Monti found Microsoft guilty of anti-competitive behavior in March 2004, he ordered the company to provide a version of the operating system that did not include Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, in an attempt to level the playing field for multimedia software from rival manufacturers, most notably Real Networks .

Redmond wanted to call the EU version “XP Reduced Media Edition,” but the commission rejected that. Next, Microsoft offered eight other naming options.

“We took the unusual step of offering to adopt any name they chose from the list,” said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. She said that list included the monikers “XP Not Including Windows Media Player” and “Windows XP/N.”

“We were disappointed they rejected all of the nine names we proposed,” Drake said.

Drake said that although the final name, Windows XP Edition N was quite similar to one of the Microsoft-proposed names, she said the addition of the forward slash that Microsoft had proposed placing before the “N” would better highlight that it was a special edition.

“We do have some misgivings about the chosen name. We fear it could cause confusion for consumers.”

Microsoft had shipped to OEMs the “gold masters” for the alternate version of the operating system in January. Drake said the company still had some work to do to incorporate the new name into the product, and it would work to get it into all its channels.

Drake couldn’t give a firm date for the full release of Windows XP N, but she said, “We are certainly working as quickly as we can.”

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