Microsoft to Ship WMP-Free Windows

Microsoft is on track to ship a version of Windows without its bundled media player within weeks, opting not to appeal an interim ruling by a European court. As reported by BetaNews, the WMP-free packages were tentatively dubbed "Reduced Media Edition," but Microsoft has not yet announced pricing or marketing plans.

European OEMs have already received the new Windows with retail versions expected to hit store shelves soon. It is not likely the new slimmer Windows will be available outside Europe.

In the decision handed down in December, the European Union denied Microsoft's request to halt antitrust remedies levied last March, which included a 497 million euro fine and a demand for Microsoft to strip Windows Media Player from its operating systems.

The EU order also called for Microsoft to begin licensing communications protocols from its Windows Server line to third parties.

"The evidence adduced by Microsoft is not sufficient to show that implementation of the remedies imposed by the Commission might cause serious and irreparable damage," the court said in a statement after the December ruling.

Microsoft will, however, continue to appeal the case at large "on the merits of the Commission's decision." Redmond remains confident that the EU ruling will be overturned entirely.

"We are encouraged that the Court has recognized that Microsoft has a number of powerful arguments that must be considered in the full appeal," the company said in December.

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