Embattled software giant Microsoft has today announced a resolution with the European Union on the name of a new copy of Windows XP. After being found guilty by a court in 2004 of breaking EU monopoly law, the company is being forced to sell a stripped down version of Windows XP without Media player components.
Microsoft will sell the stripped down version of Windows XP in Europe as "Windows XP Home Edition N". Previous announcements had suggested names such as "Windows XP reduced Media Edition", yet these proved unpopular with the EU regulators who believed the name would be unattractive to consumers. Microsoft's most recent decision represents a small victory for the EU who has had difficultly enforcing its judgments on the company.
Microsoft has yet to comply with another part of the EU judgment which stipulates that the company must open up access to server protocols. Negotiations have stumbled over terms of the license which was prohibitive to open source software makers. Microsoft are also in disagreement with EU over plans to appoint a trustee to monitor Microsoft's compliance, or lack there of. If Microsoft fails to comply with the Commission's decisions, they could face fines of up to $5 million per day.
Horacio Gutierrez, a lawyer for Microsoft, told Reuters that the company has "some misgivings about the chosen name, as we fear it may cause confusion for consumers about the product, but we will adopt the Commission's name in order to move forward and accelerate the pace of the implementation process." Gutierrez said the new version would be available to European consumers within a "matter of weeks".
Microsoft faced a similar situation with the US DoJ in the late nineties. However, with deep pockets and large settlements the company's rivals are less vocal and of a smaller number. The problem Microsoft faces with the EU is that it is unable to "bargain its way out of settlement", as some critics have suggested the company did in the USA. With no clout over the European Commission, the company faces a serious problem: it might just have to comply.