Pricing scuppers Media Player-free XP

Pricing scuppers Media Player-free XP

Summary: PC World has joined the ranks of those who won't be selling Windows XP N, as it feels the product isn't good value

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The European Commission's attempt to increase competition by forcing Microsoft to offer a version of Windows XP without its Media Player looks increasingly forlorn, with many retailers and computer resellers now having indicated they won't sell the product.

PC World, the UK's largest computer retail chain, confirmed on Monday that it had no immediate plans to sell Windows XP N, which will be available to retailers from this coming Friday.

"The reason is that XP N is the same retail price as the full version of XP. Obviously we face the choice of stocking both, or one or the other. We've taken the decision to just stock the full version because it contains more features, so is better value to our customers," said a PC World spokesperson.

Earlier this month, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Fujitsu Siemens all told ZDNet UK that they aren't planning to pre-install XP N on their desktops or notebooks.

Microsoft was forced to create a Media Player-free version of XP after the EC ruled in March 2004 that the software giant had broken EU competition law by "leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems onto the markets for work group server operating systems and for media players."

When asked why XP N was the same price as the standard version of XP, PC World indicated that Microsoft was responsible. In response, Microsoft pointed out that the European Commission hadn't insisted that the two products to be priced differently.

"As was made clear in the proceedings before the President of the Court of First Instance, the new versions will be priced the same as Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional, respectively. This is consistent with the Commission Decision, as confirmed by European Commission’s statements and releases which acknowledge that Microsoft is permitted to offer the products at the same price. It is noteworthy that media players are generally made available for free via Web downloads," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an emailed statement.

"Microsoft does not set end user pricing. Its pricing is for guidance only," the company added.

Microsoft initially tried to call XP N the 'Reduced Media Edition', but this was rejected by the EU because it sounded inferior.

The EC has not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Topic: Operating Systems

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  • The incredible stupidity of the brain dead bureaucrats at the EU becomes even more obvious by the minute.

    And the wisdom of the Bush administration in refusing to give in to screams from the open source crazies, for the American government to decide what goes into the design of software, looks wiser and more astute with hindsight.

    No surprise even the dopey French rejected the new EU constitution, which would have given even more power to a bunch of unelected, unaccountable, anti-free enterprise, pompous clowns in Brussels.
    anonymous
  • Wisdom of the Bush administration? open source crazies? If I were you mate, I'd try never to switch on another PC for the rest of your life - especially in the future when everything runs on non-MS software.
    In fact try not to go outdoors either.
    OK - enough bickering - Smithy does actually highlight a point, although I'm not sure he knew he was doing so - the EU ruling in this instance is going to be largely ineffectual - PC manufacturers have been in MS's pocket for years now so it's no real surprise, however these early steps in making right an illegally gained and maintained monopoly still need to be taken.
    ...Discuss...
    anonymous
  • I suppose the EU's legal requirement that MS provide a version of XP without Windows Media Player means that MS is blocked from welding Media Player into the OS. That might be considered a Good Thing in the long run, even if no-one buys XP-N. (And let's face it, who would?)
    anonymous
  • Matt: "Wisdom of the Bush administration? open source crazies?"

    Yep.
    Open source crazies.
    The Open source movement is easily the biggest bunch of nut cases I ever came across.
    About the only thing that keeps these losers going in life is this pathological hatred of Microsoft, and a pretty healthy dose of anti-Americanism to boot.

    Wouldn't trust my business to this bunch of anarchists if I had a gun pointed at my head.


    And yes, the great wisdom of the Bush administration, that unlike the stupid EU, refused to make Microsoft come up with something called "Windows N", only for consumers and PC makers alike to reject that nonsense out of hand!
    anonymous
  • Matt : "especially in the future when everything runs on non-MS software"

    Dream on dude.
    Such loud boasts by the open source lunatics leave me totally unmoved.

    You see, I happen to remember back in 1998, when we heard equally loud boasts from open source Linux nuts, confidently predicting impending doom for Microsoft, and how Linux was going to overtake Windows by 2000!!

    This is 2005, and if anything,Windows has a much higher market share in servers than in 200, and over 90% share in the world's desktops.

    A recent report has Linux on the desktop actually down from last year.

    So you will excuse me if I just laugh at your empty threats, will you?
    anonymous
  • 1998: I remember it well...

    That was the year that MS integrated Internet Explorer into Windows, thereby illegally leveraging their Operating System (OS) monopoly to destroy a competitor in the application market. This was precisely why the EU was so insistent that MS remove Media Player from Windows.

    It was also the year that I realised that so long as I depended upon a MS OS, then MS was holding a metaphorical gun to my head: for example, if I ever wanted to use those shiny USB ports I'd discovered on the back of my PC then I'd have to upgrade to Win98 and buy all the other whizzy bits such as I.E., Active Desktop and animated dinosaur mouse cursors that I had neither interest in nor use for. That struck me as a very poor deal, and so I made Slackware Linux my desktop instead.

    And Smithy: For the record, the Internet is, and always has been, built on Open Source. Consider TCP/IP, HTTP, DHCP and DNS, for example; all Open Protocols. Even Windows 2000 contains Open Source BSD code, such as the TCP/IP stack.

    And as for "recent studies" showing anything, did it occur to you to ask who funded those studies (whichever ones they may be)? Come on, get a grip!
    anonymous
  • Microsoft is walking a narrow line here. As part of the decree/settlement from Kollar-Kotely (I think that's how you spell it), Microsoft had to meet certain guidelines as to whatfeatures/tools/apps can be integrated in the OS. Among them were these:

    * Wasn't marketed as a stand-alone app prior to integration.

    *Wasn't commercially available as a tool prior to integration.

    Remember IE was never "sold", it was always a free download, or installed by default.

    If MS changes the price for XP-N (charges less), then they admit is has commercial value, possibly getting cross-wise of the above criteria.

    Anything, according to Microsoft, that they choose to integrate into the OS, and is not offered for sale or as a stand-alone app, is eligible for integration. Hence, they will never *sell* anything they want to use as a club on the competition.
    anonymous
  • Doesn't matter if Microsoft integrates something or not. All they need to do is make something a preferred downloadable in WindowsUpdate and voila, instant market. 90% of Windows users that can will install that within the year. And 90% of those Windows users won't de-install it even if they could. And if things don't go fast enough they simply throw in a huge PR campaign that can easily be a multiple of the entire year revenue of most organizations out there.

    Microsoft doesn't care about software or functionality. All they want to maintain is an iron grip on the markets. Because that's how you can maintain an unusual high profit margin for an unusual low effort. Maybe someday those boys in Brussel will figure out that this is only about control of and access to yours, mine and our data (information). And it's not about some having various software tools at their disposal to access certain data but more about what most will do because that's what investors are after. And without investors the brightest of ideas will turn to dust unless there's a movement behind it that doesn't follow traditional commercial models.

    It's important to have various ways of controlling and accessing all sorts of data with tools from various vendors using different business models (local markets for one). Simply because diversity is the best protection for all sorts of bad or unwanted things. And actually inspires innovation and so forth. Look at nature, look at the car industry. Look at everything that has balanced competition in place. Competition works. Competition inspires.

    The opposite however leads to ever increasing groups of people so close minded that they actually believe the Stalin-like version of the truth they are getting shoved down their throats day in and day out. Simply because that's the only "truth" they hear and see. And if all of your information leads to the same point time and time again then that must be true, right? Never mind that such information has in reality been manufactured.
    anonymous
  • Chris Rankin :" suppose the EU's legal requirement that MS provide a version of XP without Windows Media Player means that MS is blocked from welding Media Player into the OS. That might be considered a Good Thing in the long run, even if no-one buys XP-N. (And let's face it, who would?) "

    # 1, this ruling applies only in the EU countries.
    America does not and WILL NOT recognize this stupid ruling.
    Neither does Japan, the second largest economy on the planet, nor China and India, the 2 biggest countries by population by far, nor does Australia or any other country outside the EU.
    The EU make up less than 10% of the world'population.
    Exactly how effective does that make the ruling?

    # 2, Microsoft has already signed all kinds of agreements with Time Warner,Disney, Fox etc etc to distribute their movies and DVD's in the Microsoft Windows Media Player format.
    Since practically all the most popular films are American, plus practically all major web news sites and portals like Yahoo, Msnbc, Fox news et al are using WMP exlusively, how exactly does the EU propose to stop WMP from dominating?


    # 3, Even within the EU itself,very few consumers are going to go for this inferior version of Windows anyway.

    The beauty of this is, it took the EU over one solid year of hard core negotiations, with the EU rejecting to the tune of TEN suggested names from Microsoft, before Microsoft finally threw up their hands in disgust and told the EU : Here, you come up with a name".

    Question I gotta ask is, is this an futile, brain dead action by a governmental agency I have seen for a long time or what? Oh yeah.

    You guys outta find some real work for the bureaucrats in Brussels to do.
    They must be REALLY bored out there to be coming up with such nonsense.!!!
    anonymous
  • Chris Rankin : "1998: I remember it well...
    That was the year that MS integrated Internet Explorer into Windows, thereby illegally leveraging their Operating System (OS) monopoly to destroy a competitor in the application market.."

    So...
    You remember it well from back in 1998, do ya?

    Riiiight!

    Um...for your information, IE was included in Windows 95 back in 1995.
    It was after IE 3 came out in August 1996, and it was much, much better than Netscape, that IE began it's rapid overtaking of Netscape, because IE was much better than Netscape was.

    All this happened before 1998.

    Bottom line : Open source Linux fanatics have been boasting about overtaking Microsoft Windows since before 1998.
    They were gonna clobber Windows in 2000, then 2001,then oh it was 2002, but certainly 2003 , then..... oh what's the use.
    You clowns have been promising to take out Microsoft like forever.
    Today's latest boast by "Matt" on this thread is merely the latest empty boast from an empty loud mouth open spurce group.

    Its a great big yawn.
    Its not worth the spit.
    anonymous
  • Chris Rankin : "This was precisely why the EU was so insistent that MS remove Media Player from Windows."

    This is precisely why the EU is stupid, and the Bush administration is smart.

    It's only in the EU that we can have a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, wasting tax payers money for over a year, arguing about what name to call a version of Windows that nobody wants, and nobody wants to sell or buy, at a time when EU unemployment is at near record levels, with unemployment in Germany at 70 year highs, the highest since Hitler!!

    Dontcha just love the priorities of these moronic EU pen pushers??
    anonymous
  • Arthur B : "Competition works. Competition inspires. "

    I agree.
    But then there will always be competition in the software industry.
    When Klinton and his boys started their anti-trust action against Microsoft, after having taken hefty campaign money from Microsoft's enemies like Oracle, Sun and Real Networks, Linux was nowhere to b found.

    Within a very short time, Linux came from nowhere and captured a substantial part of the Intel server market, all without any government intervention.

    The Bush Administration did NOT force PC makers to put Linux on their severs, nor did they force Microsoft to take out WMP nor did they dictate what should and shouldn't go into software design like the EU is doing.

    But that didn't prevent Linux servers and Firefox from grabbing a very nice slice of the market for themselves.

    Maybe the EU should be looking to President Bush's DOJ for wisdom.

    The EU sure comes up with some dumb ideas.
    anonymous
  • Smithy: Microsoft must offer XP-N for sale in Europe, or it's back to Anti-Trust Court and very large fines. That would seem like a very good reason for Microsoft not to integrate Media Player into XP.

    "America does not and WILL NOT recognize this stupid ruling."

    Wow, a spokesperson for the *entire* US....

    And yes, I.E. was included in Win95. However, the word I used with regards to Win98 was "integrated". I should also remind you that MS was found *GUILTY* of anti-trust violations (anti-competitive practices, abuse of monopoly power) with regards to I.E. and Netscape by the US DoJ, because you seem to have forgotten...

    Now please calm down. You are ranting like a zealot.
    anonymous
  • Microsoft's spokesperson said "Microsoft does not set end user pricing. Its pricing is for guidance only."

    This is very interesting comment. If so, how BSA guys calculate the estimated lost earnings caused by software piracy?
    anonymous
  • EU Drongocrats when will you pillocks learn? Stop wasting taxpayers money, do something usefull, invade France, Sing lullabys to Seoul, ask farmers when they last washed their combine harvester, do ANYTHING but stop this stupidity.
    anonymous
  • Hi, think Windows XP could be cut back further, Windows Med. Player is inferiour- there is a lot of competition and Real Play is better. Windows Messenger can be left out too. I'm getting feed up with being pestered by "popp ups" suggesting I update Windows Messenger and others. Windows Firewall can be forgotten to!

    I have Windows XP prof. an expencive product esp. when you consider the nec. purchase of anti. spyware and Personal Firewall on top of the cost of Windows.

    Regards Carol
    anonymous
  • Chris Rankin : "Wow, a spokesperson for the *entire* US.... "

    Umm..your moromic "Windows N" is not even offered un the United States.

    The US DOJ strongly protested about this idiotic EU rulling against Microsoft..

    And no other country on the entie planet outside the mribound EU comes even close to recginizing your senseless Windows N.

    Bottom line: You Windows N stupidity is limited strctctly toy the walls of your low growth economies.

    Next?
    anonymous
  • "Carl M Kemp" or whatever : "Hi, think Windows XP could be cut back further, Windows Med. Player is inferiour- there is a lot of competition and Real Play is better"

    Windows Media Player is "inferiour" is it?
    LMAO!

    Why don't you go to school first, then maybe you can lecture folks about what is "inferiour" and what isn't?

    BTW, anyone who thinks Real layer is better than WMP is smoking crack or is dreamland.

    This happens to be real life.
    Real Player is garbage.
    anonymous
  • Lupa : "This is very interesting comment. If so, how BSA guys calculate the estimated lost earnings caused by software piracy? "

    End user pricing is different from prices charged by software makers.
    They probably use the prices they charge retailers and distributors to calculate the cost of software piracy.
    anonymous
  • Chris Rankin, : "And yes, I.E. was included in Win95. However, the word I used with regards to Win98 was "integrated". "

    Microsoft started taking huge chunks out of Netscape market share in August 1996, when the clearly superior IE came out.

    That was long before the 1998, that you are screaming about.

    Your point remains as invalid now , as it was before.!
    anonymous