Home > Windows > PC makers snub Windows sans media player PC makers snub Windows sans media player Eugenia Loli 2005-06-15 Windows 34 Comments Four major PC makers have no plans to sell the media-player-free version of Windows, which Microsoft was ordered to offer by Europe’s competition commissioner. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 34 Comments 2005-06-15 7:47 pm Anonymous http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/4696/ — a nice rant about this 2005-06-15 7:50 pm Anonymous Could just include iTunes and Quictime in place of WMP. What’s the big deal? 2005-06-15 8:09 pm Anonymous If “Windows XP N” is any cheaper then why not get a license for it and stick on a couple of media players (including WMP) to give your customers more choice. I guess it’s up to the likes of RealNetworks to work out a deal with a manufacturer to get their player put on as the default. 2005-06-15 8:12 pm Anonymous What’s the big deal? Extra cost. OEMS would have to go about preparing custom XP installs with unsanctioned and “unsupported” third party media players. MS Win + MS Media player = easier on the OEM Never mind that the computer-illiterate masses demand MS-ware, because they still believe that everything MS touches will turn to gold. Which it does, but only for MS. The rest ends up buying grey lead, so to speak. 2005-06-15 8:14 pm Anonymous I can see a few businesses at least considering a MP free version of Windows. 2005-06-15 8:23 pm Anonymous I can see a few businesses at least considering a MP free version of Windows. Makes me wonder. Does MS have an agreement with the EU that they won’t ship WMP in a mandatory “ServicePack” to Windows XP N? ServicePack 2 was also mandatory. If MS is not barred of sneaking WMP back in again, how long would it take them to “augment” XP N with WMP? In which case all those businesses just bought a nice bucket of snakeoil. 2005-06-15 8:28 pm Anonymous “Extra cost. OEMS would have to go about preparing custom XP installs with unsanctioned and “unsupported” third party media players. ” Well that would be an odd excuse for any of them, considering my HP came with WMP, iTunes, Quicktime and RealPlayer for some reason. 2005-06-15 8:30 pm Anonymous Remember that the MP free version of windows is being allowed to retail for exactly the same price as the MP version… How many consumers would really want to pay more for less. 2005-06-15 8:40 pm Anonymous This days the PC manufacturer and vendors are kings in other people kingdom. First of all they have many Company that resale there product if we dont count there own internal sale division , service division , and repair divison , wich means hundred of thousand of jobs, wich they use as a bargenning chip. If one country decide to fine them they will move to the next one or move out of Europe and sale from outside. In France there is a Cant tie two product togheter law wich is not even respected and as been broken by all the computer vendors for decades : Dell computers + Microsoft windows are two product from two distinct company they cant force the user to buy them togheter and have to show the price for each. Computer maker dont respect that. The only way they could threaten them is by removing there european trade licesne and remove the rights from them to sale any computer in europe for 10 years. Also add a fine of 100 million per day/per European country up to 30 day ( after which they remove there Trade license for 10 years.) Otherwise they will just broke the law as they have always done. Its the law , why some people can get away with not respecting them , ho yes they got more money then others … 2005-06-15 8:53 pm Anonymous There have been poor decisions, in my opinion, regarding the remedies related to the anti-trust cases against Microsoft. Microsoft should not have been forced to remove pieces of software from its OS–like the media player–but should have, instead, been made to pay megabucks to any computer-related company signing-on to the complaint bandwagon who was harmed from the monopolistic situations. When the company that is a monopoly benefits to the detriment of those who aren’t, it seems most fair to rectify this by benefitting those who were in detriment and who were not the monopoly, restricted to the fields in question (OS or OS company as a whole; media-player producers; competitors with browsers, etc.). Microsoft–just as any company–should be able to couple whatever it wants with whatever it produces, in any combination it wants to. That’s freedom. I couldn’t care less if Microsoft’s media-player is part of its OS. I think the mindset of many need to change and realize that OTHER operating systems are there and can be embraced. One thing I thought the courts (U.S. and elsewhere) should have done was force certain provisions in Microsoft’s contracts with vendors to be invalid–the provisions where it’s a contract agreement not to ship other operating systems from other companies. Like, if Gateway wanted to ship a new Amiga OS on x86-64 hardware, Microsoft shouldn’t have any say-so in the matter. Vendors, distributors, or PC manufacturers shouldn’t be forced to play by Microsoft’s rules in order to gain a contract to do what they’re in business to do. Copyright should be the only concern, next to the agreement to work together and ship the product (without dictating that the company not do business with competitors). That has been the ‘wrong spirit’ about all of this. Those shut out due to the monopoly should have gotten mega-million$, rather than being left to sit there and watch Microsoft get a slap-on-the-wrist concession. What good does it do if the media-player is removed? Even *within* Windows, if a competitor is allowed to have his own media-player installed, what difference does it make if Microsoft’s own media-player comes by default with the OS or not? For that matter, same question regarding competitors who have media-players running on another OS–Microsoft removing its media-player, or other software, makes no difference to the same reality. I think monetary damages should have been awarded to a lot of these companies harmed by monopolistic behaviour (as seen and ruled on by the courts already). 2005-06-15 8:54 pm Anonymous If Dell is acting on their threat and trying to sell systems with illegally bundeled Microsoft Windows & Media Player pre-installed they will end up in court very quickly. I am happy to see the end of Microsoft’s monopolistic business practices and finally a big chance for Linux. 2005-06-15 9:32 pm Anonymous Someone made an excellent point over on /.: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=152853&cid=12826318 With microsoft, it’s clear that their marketing department makes all the real decisions. So, the whole structure of the OS gets mucked up with crazy things, like when internet explorer became part of the OS. Of course I wouldn’t agree that this malpractice begins or ends with microsoft, I’m sure there’s others as well. It’s high time that software developers wake up and put good engineering back in the forefront! 2005-06-15 10:38 pm Anonymous And so ends round two in the battle to delimit the monopolist power which microsoft wields. Twice we have seen grand efforts by governments, the goverments of the most powerful economies in the world, fail utterably, resulting in little net gain for anyone-neither for the competitors of microsoft, which is basically anyone producing software which runs on or interacts with Windows, or for the consumers of said technology. ok. The results are not yet in from untertakings of the EU-perhaps some good can still come out of their attempts. So perhaps I am jumping the gun-but I don’t see any good coming of the measures taken by the EU. The article referenced by this thread simply points out what anyone reasonable person could have expected. The decisions made by the EU are utterly and aboslutely impotent against the power of self-interest which is at work in the kind of monopoly which Microsoft is. We lack the technical, legal and conceptual tools, collectively, to trully deal adequately with such phenomen-which isn’t so surprising considering that the kind of power which Microsoft yields is unique in history. In America when one talks about monopolies one is talking about corporations which totally dominate a market. In Europe talk about monopolies is talk about the idea of state monopolies-most people in Europe think immediately of the Post, the Telecom etc. ie. state run monopolies. The differing social and political policies and their respective histories, in both America and Europe, are not sufficient to explain the divergence in meaning of the word monoploly as used in Europe and America. I have never studied law but it is obvious to me that our respective legal traditions are totally inequipped to adequately deal with such. I suspect this inability is due to the definitions(understandings-or lack thereof) of the terms(the phenomena to which the terms refer). Microsoft was not and never will be in a position to wield monopoly power without the aiding and abetting of the entire consumer PC industry which organically(parasitically) has grown up around it. Microsoft, *alone*, was never, is not, and never shall be a monopoly-yet our legal institutions must handle Microsoft in and of itself. It has been clear to me for the last 15 years that the ‘monopoly’ of Microsoft Windows was also equally due to Microsoft and Intel. But, as this article points out, the ‘monopoly’ doesn’t end with Microsoft and x86 chip manufacturers-the ‘monopoly’ also encompasses all of the major computer manufacturers, with the exception perhpas of Apple and Sun(if one can call them major). It is insane to think that Dell would force it’s customers in Europe to use a neutered Windows. The same hold for any major computer manufacturer- there never was any kind of consumer demand for neutered Windows and never will be. And how could people see Windows XP N as *not* being neutered, after all ‘multimedia’ is the sexy buzzword of all pc technology for the past X years- a pc not capable of multimedia playback is rightfully seen as neutered. continued… 2005-06-15 10:41 pm Anonymous continued…. Now of course the goal of those actions taken by the EU was not for consumers to be forced to use neutered PC’s. The goal was to level the playing field for competitors to actually have a chance to comepte fairly against the inevitable pre-installed Microsoft Media Player installation base. (this pre-installed base reminds me of ‘encumbancy’ in politics). But this ‘fair playing field’ is in and of itself almost impossible to achieve-because 90% of all pc’s sold come with Windows XP and it usually costs more to buy a pc sans Windows than one with Windows, and of course this is the active part which the manufacturers/vendors play in the ‘monopoly’. I don’t have any concrete numbers in my head but I can’t imagine more than 5% of Microsoft licenses being sold directly to consumers-the customers get their license with their pre-installed OS on their new PC’s. I certainly don’t have a complete simple solution which would adress all of the issues ivolved in this monopoly. Frankly not much can be done until the manufacturers and vendors start actively pushing alternatives-but this is also the same industry which has actively suppressed the rise of any alternatives for the last X years. Sure we can point the finger at Microsoft again for having done it’s best to behaviorally condition, a la pavlov, the computer industry to do it’s bidding. But Dell is Microsoft as far as consumers are concerned-it is in Dell’s self-interest to sell computers, not Microsoft, but when all alternatives have been successfully prevented from even competing, computers become almost synomous with Microsoft Windows. The equation in the typical consumer minds is: PC=Dell, for a smaller number it is PC=Dell=Windows, for an even smaller number it is PC=Dell=Windows=Intel. The cross-brand association of these companies/technologies is power of the ‘monopoly’ -this band is also known as identity. I wish it was so simple that one could just punish Microsoft for abusing it’s monopoly and be done with it. But societies will be fighting with the legacy of propietary formats for generations to come-the vast majority of data which exists in the world will inevitably be lost due to the propietary nature of the formats in which it is stored. Microsoft has just been the most obvius culprit in this-they are cetainly not alone. If in five years time the x86 platform gives way to a new technology platform and Corel goes bankrupt and there is not sufficient emulation technology freely available something like 60% of all legal documents in Europe and America will become inaccessible because the format which Corel’s Wordperfect uses is propietary and is tied with Windos/x86. If we change the context and refer to business documents we can substitute Word for Wordperfect, Microsoft with Corel and 90% with 60% of documents. And RealNetworks, which is one of the major plaintiffs in the EU case is just as guilty in this sense as Microsoft. The overwhelming majority of audio, video and textual data(ie. the results of collective creative energies of countless millions of individuals) which exists in the world is trapped(encoded) in obfuscated propietary formats which are dependent upon patented Intellectual Property. The endeavors embodied in this data will not be handed from one generation down to the next even if their content becomes public property due to copyright expiration- neither the software nor the hardware will exist in 20 years which can pry open and reveal the contents of this data. Free and Open Source Software is the first of many steps against this development. The first logical step is to mandate the usage of such in our public institutions -in order that they meet their obligations of transparency and accessiblity to their citizenry. The next logical step, in my view, is requiring that any ubiquitously used software or hardware be subjected to certain criteria of openness which can guarantee the maintainability and accessibility beyond the lifespan of the manufacturers. In terms of software this means exposure of the entire API and the legal obligation of the manufacturer of said software to painstakingly detail said API with tremedously expensive documentation. Such documentation must be free- free in the monetary sense, and more importantly in the unfettered sense, ie. sans propietary IP, sans restrictions on access, use, or modification/redistribution rights. Such may seem drastic. Honestly I would love to hear about viable alternative strategies to dealing with the monopoly phenomena at work here in the EU case against Microsoft. Obviously neither a break up of Microsoft(which failed precisely due to the fact that the entire PC industry is parasitically dependent on Microsoft and breaking up Microsoft meant crippling the entire industry) nor neutered Windows will result in the necessary changes. Forcing Windows to be utterly transparent (ie. open API’s, open formats), by making them outright purchase any third-party IP they are dependent upon or excise it from their products, seems the only way to actually get at the roots of the problem. 2005-06-15 11:15 pm Anonymous It’s thier OS, they can put whatever software they want in there. If you don’t like media player, uninstall it. Want to use some other player? Download and install. Easy as can be. Why are they not going after apple for bundling OSX with Quicktime? I don’t see a difference. 2005-06-15 11:23 pm Anonymous OSX is shipped on Apple hardware and computers … 2005-06-15 11:33 pm Anonymous “OSX is shipped on Apple hardware and computers …” If anything i’d think they would have a bigger issue with that than microsoft’s media player. Because if Microsoft made thier own PC’s and would’nt let windows run on any other computer everyone would throw a fit. Apple does it and it’s ok. Does’nt make sense to me. 2005-06-15 11:41 pm Anonymous >It’s thier OS, they can put whatever software they want in there. If you don’t like media player, uninstall it. Want to use some other player? Download and install. Easy as can be. I’m pretty sure WMP can’t be uninstalled, actually. 2005-06-15 11:46 pm Anonymous It can be uninstalled. I have done it. Add and remove programs and it’s gone. 2005-06-16 12:11 am Anonymous I believe that only removes the program shortcuts; the program files are still there, and can still be executed (either by you or by other programs). *checks computer* Yup, mine are still in Program Files. IE’s “uninstall” is the same, btw. The icons go away, but you and other programs can still call it up. 2005-06-16 12:18 am Anonymous Delete the folder as well. 2005-06-16 12:22 am Anonymous Hmm, that might work. I hear the OS stops working if you delete IE’s files, but maybe WMP is less integrated… …ehh, I’d better not risk it 2005-06-16 12:50 am Anonymous You are uninstalling the software. You just aren’t uninstalled the components that the software uses. Some third-party software depends on these components, so it’s a bad idea to remove it, and really serves no purpose other than to spite Microsoft. It’s not like you can’t install other software and use that instead, so people need so stop crying like 2nd graders. 2005-06-16 1:50 am Anonymous So OEMs won’t put it on there cause the realize that people won’t want this. The only people who really care for such a thing are people who don’t use windows anyways. The whole N version is stupid in the first place, just means consumers loose. Maybe some of you will slowly catch on that extremist anti MS/ opensource ideas are far from what most consumers want. At most some people want to be able to remove it easily, like I can with anything apple puts in OSX, just drag it to the trash and it’s gone. I’m all for MS including stuff, it’s free and might be very useful. Just let me toss it if I don’t like it. And that is what the courts should have done, is made them let somethings be removed. But even that thats a “would be nice thing” not a “it should be this way by law that we made just for you” You buy windows, you get what MS made, it is what it is. You can give them input as to what you want, but like any product you can’t demand they change the features to how you would like them by using courts. MS tries to make windows as full featured and useful out of the box as they can, just like Apple and Linux distro’s do. But their efforts are somehow bad. Next thing you know, people will use the courts to force MS to sell windows without a GUI, or Block MS from including the letter ‘K” in the fonts since they only use C’s and would have to go in and delete all the K fonts after they install. 2005-06-16 2:01 am Anonymous You are uninstalling the software (WMP). You just aren’t uninstalled the components that the software uses. Some third-party software depends on these components, so it’s a bad idea to remove it, and really serves no purpose other than to spite Microsoft. This is exactly right. If you did uninstall the software and all the components/codecs, 2 things would happen: 1) You would no longer be able to play any Windows Media-specific codecs 2) Any third party player that depends on those codecs being there wouldn’t work anymore either. So, my question is, why the HELL would somebody want a WMP-less (including codecs) Windows setup, unless you never anticipate watching/listening to these files, which is highly doubhtful because they’re all over the Internet? The truth is, you wouldn’t. The only reason people complain about it is simply because you can’t do it, and that just gives the anti-MS zealots something else to bitch and whine about. Sure, youc ould download/install Quicktime and RealPlayer (both of which are even worse than WMP), but that just isn’t good enough, is it? Besides, with a WMP-less setup, what are OEMs going to use to play these files? It’s not like you can install Quicktime and play windows media files with it. Does the open source community have an offering that has a decent GUI and doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to set up? I’m 99% sure that you can play these files in Linux, but I’d imagine it is a bit of a pain in the ass to set up, especially in the non-commercial distro. But in Windows, this stuff just works. This actually works in favor of the OS, not against it. 2005-06-16 3:04 am Anonymous >Because if Microsoft made thier own PC’s >and would’nt let windows run on any other computer >everyone would throw a fit. > Apple does it and it’s ok. Does’nt make sense to me. If Microsoft had an installed base of 10% nobody would complain about them either. So now everyone in chorus for the 13,498,798,734th time: ONCE YOU’RE A MONOPOLY OTHER RULES APPLY. DUH! 2005-06-16 3:22 am Anonymous PC makers snub Windows sans media player – THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT Monopoly$oft wanted to happen… 2005-06-16 3:53 am Anonymous ONCE YOU’RE A MONOPOLY OTHER RULES APPLY. Rules applying to things that involve being a monopoly yes, but arbitrary rules that the underdogs make up. 2005-06-16 3:56 am Anonymous Add “no” to the end there. 2005-06-16 9:41 am Anonymous Your argument is flawed in the sense that Microsoft is winning in the market because it has “monopolistic” (a entirely different debate altogether) powers derived from Windows. A good example is Firefox. Why years after the same Microsoft policies cause Netscape to falter and cease to be of any significance, does Firefox pose a major threat to Internet Explorer? It couldn’t be the remedies, Firefox developers haven’t taken advantage of. Perhaps, in the consumer eyes, Firefox is a much better alternative to Internet Explorer and are ditching the latter in droves? And in the media player market, Windows Media Player is gaining market share. Interestingly, so does Quicktime/iTunes. Why? Quicktime and iTunes aren’t bundled on Windows, they use a competing format and in many ways competes heads on openly (WMP-based music stores vs. iTMS anyone?). So essentially, WMP is gaining market share largely at the expense of Real. Wonder why? Perhaps their products sucks? There is no need for “remedies” for practices that quite clearly don’t inhibit competition. Microsoft competition just need to learn how to outsmart them. And as Firefox proved, it doesn’t take a large, expensive engineering theme coupled with a multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign to be competitive. To punish Microsoft is to excuse its competitor’s incompetence. 2005-06-16 9:46 am Anonymous You want to do business in the EU, you do it by their rules. Don’t like the rules, take your business elsewhere. Is that too hard to understand? As for being able to play WMV files and such, these things are the fault of both Apple and Microsoft. If the IT industry could simply agree on open formats for digital media instead of every company coming up with their own, we wouldn’t have to deal with this PITA. Another good example of why corporations need to be reined in and occasionally have their asses kicked. Because they simply can’t be trusted to be reasonable or to govern themselves. 2005-06-16 9:54 am Anonymous “At most some people want to be able to remove it easily, like I can with anything apple puts in OSX, just drag it to the trash and it’s gone. I’m all for MS including stuff, it’s free and might be very useful. Just let me toss it if I don’t like it.” In both cases, you are like what you do in Windows when you disable access to Windows programs like IE and WMP. Take IE and Safari for example. In Windows, when you disable access to IE, most consumers wouldn’t be able to open Internet Explorer. In Mac OS X, when you drag Safari to the trash, WebCore is there. In other words, programs that uses IE’s libraries and programs that uses WebCore can still run, without users having to bother with IE and Safari’s frontend. If you really must, you can delete iexplore.exe and save a whopping 91KB! Makes absolutely no difference. @Anonymous: “ONCE YOU’RE A MONOPOLY OTHER RULES APPLY. ” Did Microsoft get a letter from various government agencies, “Congratulations, you are officially a monopoly! Other rules now apply, though”. Interestingly, Judge Jackson found Apple Macs to be a different market than PC’s. And considering that Apple has a monopoly on PowerPC desktops and Macintosh desktops, it can be defined as a monopoly under antitrust laws and competition regulation in the EU. That is if anyone bothers to. Apple isn’t big and rich enough a target to do so. Most of the companies Apple squash out are too small to retaliate in courts. 2005-06-16 10:00 am Anonymous “Your argument is flawed in the sense that Microsoft is winning in the market because it has “monopolistic” (a entirely different debate altogether) powers derived from Windows.” Actually that’s precisely the point, and it couldn’t be more painfully obvious, so I assume that you pretend not to see it rather than not being able to. And of course you choose to completely disregard what a Federal judge said on this matter, both officially declaring them a monopoly (which he gets to do being a judge and all) and ruling that they’ve illegally used their monopoly to extend into other markets. Which is exactly what MS had done going into office, multimedia, anti virus apps, etc. until now it’s almost impossible to restrain them. The U.S. government is unwilling, and the EU is ridiculed for attempting to do so. Maybe when MS control ALL aspects of the software market and the consumer no longer has a choice for anything but games, the term “monopoly” will truly ring a bell. 2005-06-16 10:25 am Anonymous “And of course you choose to completely disregard what a Federal judge said on this matter, both officially declaring them a monopoly (which he gets to do being a judge and all) and ruling that they’ve illegally used their monopoly to extend into other markets.” A federal judge made a ruling. And then he made a remedy. Microsoft appealed, the they won. And the new judge gave a vastly different remedy (and BTW, the Whitehouse and Congress, which became more Republican during the appeal process, couldn’t chose which judge). And to think the first one was overruled not for anything else but for being a technicality. Antitrust laws is vague. In fact some of its supporters champion this fact. Judge Jackson rather abritrarily demise Apple as a direct competitor to Microsoft simply because they weren’t using x86 processors – for example. He is completely within the law on that regard. But the wording of the law allows Jackson to view Mac OS as a direct competitor and within the same market as Windows. Heck, he could include other operating systems too. And that’s what’s wrong with antitrust laws. “ruling that they’ve illegally used their monopoly to extend into other markets” But can the DoJ prove that Internet Explorer wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t bundled with Windows? “Which is exactly what MS had done going into office, multimedia, anti virus apps, etc. until now it’s almost impossible to restrain them.” Microsoft Office is their biggest cash cow. Their first version was made for Mac OS. It would be a major stretch to say Microsoft used its “monopolist” powers in Windows to secure Office’s dominance. As for multimedia, Quicktime and iTunes is currently gaining market share at a rate more or less the same as Windows Media. Interesting, isn’t it, Apple able to circumvent Microsoft’s monopolist powers in ways Real couldn’t? You are completely ignoring areas where Microsoft failed to beat its competitors completely. Windows Movie Maker has been in Windows for almost 4 years. Have it reached market dominance? Far from it (most digicams come with their own bundled software that most consumers use instead of Movie Maker). Besides, what Microsoft antivirus you speak of? And if Microsoft gets into the antivirus business, why is that bad? They would be addressing a major concern with Windows that have been used by its competitors against them. So once you have a federal judge condemn you a monopolist, you shouldn’t address market concerns and needs and make your product more competitive? Same goes for its firewall, which actually exist. Didn’t cause companies in the firewall business to be significantly affected in sales, while addressing security concerns for their customers. “Maybe when MS control ALL aspects of the software market and the consumer no longer has a choice for anything but games, the term “monopoly” will truly ring a bell. ” Market trends show the opposite. While there isn’t any threat to Microsoft’s dominance on the operating system side, Internet Explorer have been steadily and rather quickly loosing market share. While having majority of users, WMA and WMV isn’t the most used format for legal trade of music and video online, and far from it too. The list goes on and on. If Microsoft truly had monopolistic powers, it would be able to stop Firefox without doing much. The fact is that they couldn’t exercise their monopoly power in that manner without hurting themselves back. And it isn’t because of the courts, or competition regulators in Europe. Where Microsoft actually has strength, perhaps, just perhaps their strength lies in that particular software, and not on Windows. Take for example, MSN Messenger. It didn’t become famous because Windows Messenger is in Windows. Almost impossible to restrain? Tell that to the Mozilla Foundation, they obviously didn’t get the memo.