Ruling could be key to Microsoft's future

The European Union's decision to force Microsoft to unbundle its media software from Windows could constitute a legal precedent that will affect the company's future products.

The decision, handed down by European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti on Wednesday, requires Microsoft to offer two versions of its Windows operating system: one with the Media Player audio/video software and one without it. The ruling is intended to prevent Microsoft from shutting out rivals in the media software market, including RealNetworks and Apple Computer, by bundling its Media Player software with an operating system that is used on more than 90 percent of the world's PCs. While analysts expect that the ruling will have minimal immediate impact, the decision may call into question new features that Microsoft plans to integrate into the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.

News source: C|Net News.com

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