Okay in theory I’m all for reining in companies when they’re being monopolistic, but this decision of the Europeans to make them ship a copy of Windows without MediaPlayer strikes me as just a tad silly. Microsoft are about to launch this version in Europe, which they’re calling — wait for it — Windows XP Reduced Media Edition.
From the sounds of it, it’s basically XP (in Home or Pro versions) without MediaPlayer. SoundRec and the movie making thingy are still included.
Why would anybody choose to buy this? Unless it’s cheaper… in which case, couldn’t you just go and download MediaPlayer from Microsoft later?
And bear in mind the major competition here is… well, it’s RealPlayer, isn’t it. Ah yes, that mob whose web site sneakily tries to steer you to the paid version when you’re looking for the free one (and there’s no direct URL to the free one), insists on an e-mail address they can send advertising to, defaults to including a useless applet that sits in your icon tray, splashes advertising over itself when you start it, and sends lots of juicy info back to home base. (I do use RealPlayer, for all the BBC webcasts… I really must check out the alternatives at free-codecs.com. Thankfully the BBC have their own licensed RealPlayer freebie download which isn’t quite so objectionable.)
Now the ruling on opening up the interface code, that sounds like the sort of thing that is more likely to level the playing field.