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Last Updated: Monday, 28 March, 2005, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Microsoft and EU reach agreement
Microsoft's Windows software package
Microsoft is under growing pressure to speed up compliance with EU laws
Microsoft has bowed to pressure from the European Commission to name a new version of its Windows XP software, Windows XP Home Edition N.

It is the US software giant's latest step in complying with the EU, following a record anti-trust fine imposed on it last year.

The 'N' in the new name stands for "not with media player".

The EU said Microsoft's first choice, Windows XP Reduced Media Edition, could have put consumers off the new version.

Brussels last year fined Microsoft 497m euros ($640m; 343m) and ordered it to sell a version of its Windows XP software without its Media Player.

After rejecting 10 earlier ideas from Microsoft, the Commission proposed Windows XP Home Edition N and Microsoft has agreed.

Moving forward

"We have 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," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's top lawyer in Europe told Reuters.

The new edition, already provided to computer makers, could go on sale in Europe within weeks.

Microsoft's dispute with the Commission last year centred around it using its dominant position in the desktop operating software market to limit competition in related areas, such as in audiovisual software.

It was bundling its Media Player audiovisual software in with Windows XP, which discouraged customers from downloading rival products, Brussels found.

Key competitors for Microsoft's Media Player include RealNetworks' RealPlayer and Apple's Quicktime.




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