MS Renames Media Player Free Windows

Unhappy that it could not underscore the fact that a version of Windows XP for European customers lacking its media player is reduced in functionality, Microsoft has reluctantly agreed to use the European Commission's chosen moniker: the letter "N." The names used will be Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N.

Microsoft is concerned the "N," which ostensibly stands for "not with media player," is too vague.

"We have some misgivings about the chosen name as we fear it may cause confusion," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews. "We will adopt the commission's name in order to move forward and accelerate the pace of the implementation process."

As first reported by BetaNews earlier this year, Microsoft planned to name the mandated WMP-free version Windows XP Reduced Media Edition. European Union officials, however, were not amused and nixed the name in late January. Microsoft was also threatened with fines if it did not comply with the ruling in a time suitable to the EU Commission.

Microsoft says it had suggested nine different names, which included Windows XP/N and Windows XP/B, as well as "Windows XP Not Incorporating Windows Media Player." All nine were rejected by the EU.

Although a name has now been chosen, some Microsoft rivals such as RealNetworks contend the slimmed-down Windows XP version breaks compatibility with their programs. The EU Commission says it will complete market testing of the "N" release before a wider launch and will assess the new complaints.

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