Microsoft to change name of Reduced Windows

Following criticism from the European Commission (EC), Microsoft has agreed to change the name of the Windows XP version without Windows Media Player that it was ordered to offer in Europe.

The EC last year ordered Microsoft to ship the stripped down version of Windows XP as one of the remedies in the European antitrust case against the U.S. software maker. By including Windows Media Player in Windows, Microsoft gained an unfair advantage over competing media players from RealNetworks and Apple Computer, the commission said.

To comply, Microsoft in December said it was readying a new "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition." The operating system has since been made available to PC makers and will also be available in European stores.

However, European competition officials complained to Microsoft about the unappealing name of the product. Microsoft has now agreed to a name change.

"We had originally suggested a name, (Windows) XP Reduced Media Edition. While we believe that name is fully compliant (with the commission's decision), in the spirit of compromise we have agreed to make a change in the name of the product," said Microsoft Spokesman Jim Desler on Friday.

No decision has been made on a new name, Desler said. "We're working with the commission right now on alternative names that will help inform consumers about the product," he said. No boxed product or CDs had been shipped to outlets, so no product recall is necessary, he said.

An EC spokesperson was not available to comment on Friday. However, the commission had threatened Microsoft with additional fines of up to 5 percent of its daily gross revenue if Microsoft made the alternative version of Windows unattractive to users, according to several media reports.

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Joris Evers

IDG News Service
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