Microsoft: We'll comply with EU ruling

The company will release Windows without Media Player in the new year - a move it says will have a 'substantial' impact on its overall business costs

Microsoft has said it will comply with European Commission sanctions and offer a version of Windows without Media Player in the New Year as well as licensing communications protocols to competitors.

The move follows Microsoft's failed appeal to the European Court of First Instance to get the EC sanctions suspended until the full appeal against the competition ruling is heard next year.

Microsoft argued that releasing the protocols to competitors and offering the version of Windows with Media Player unbundled would cause "irreparable damage" to its business if it later succeeded in overturning the EC's ruling through the appeal courts.

But the judge upheld the EC sanctions today and Chris Parker, director of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft UK, told ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com the company will now comply with the sanctions ahead of the full appeal.

"We will be offering a version of Windows in the European Union which does not have Windows Media Player. Whether the market wants it will be another thing," said Parker.

He said the unbundled version would be with OEMs in the New Year and with the rest of the market sometime around February. He said the cost won't impact Microsoft's overall business but added that it is "not trivial, it's substantial".

With regards to licensing communications protocols to competitors, Parker said the EC has allowed Microsoft to put "contractual safeguards" in the licensing agreements.

"If the court rules in our favour we'll get them [the protocols] back," he said.

In the meantime, Parker said Microsoft is still "ready, willing and able" to talk to the EC about a settlement.

"There is still a strong argument that we should get back around the table. Microsoft wants to settle this. It is better than another three years in the courts and the uncertainty in the meantime," he said.

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