The EU’s National Antitrust Exports Advisory meets to day to give their decision on one of their longest running cases – Microsoft’s bundling of multimedia applications in their Windows operating system.
This is the first of an expected two meetings – Microsoft will probably be given a deadline today, and will be expected to provide a “lightweight” version of Windows without its bundled applications, making it easier for other software manufacturers to include their own multimedia players and browsers when conusmers purchase a new PC. We would be very surprised if MS Europe didn’t already have a “core OS and applications only” version of Windows ready to go. Since this case have been going on since Windows 95, they’ve had plenty of time as there have been at least five major versions released since then.
The current solution for MS, the “Set Program Access and Defaults” tool, included in the last service packs, was introduced as a result of legal action, but does not tackle the controversial issue of software bundling.
The second meeting will be on the 22nd of March, where we predict that Microsoft will get hit up for a couple of hundred million euros.
Of course, Microsoft will appeal against both measures, prolonging the case even further – but perhaps next year you’ll be able to buy a PC with RealPlayer instead of Windows Media as the default multimedia application.