In 2002, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stood on stage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, home to the Academy Awards, and pronounced this "the digital decade".
By 2010, Gates told an audience that included director James Cameron and musician LL Cool J, everything from paying bills to seeing movies "will be done on a digital basis, and the PC with its magic software will play the central role".
He then proceeded to unveil what Microsoft considers a key part of that vision: a half a billion dollar upgrade to the Windows Media Player for music, movies and other digital content. Eighteen months later, Gates's endeavour could be facing a big roadblock.
If Microsoft cannot settle an antitrust case brought by European Union regulators, the company may be ordered to remove Windows Media Player as an integrated feature of the dominant Windows operating system, at least for personal computers sold in Europe.
The European Commission also could order Microsoft to include rival media players with Windows to make those products as easy for users to access as Microsoft's own music and video player. Microsoft has said it is certain to appeal any ruling against it. Still, the European case could hinder Microsoft's efforts to dominate an emerging and important technology market.
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News source: The Age