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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Windows plays fair with rivals
Windows XP on sale, PA
Software giant Microsoft is upgrading its Windows XP operating system to make it compliant with US Government rulings on fair competition.

The latest update to the operating system contains software tools that allow many of its components to be hidden.

The US Government demanded the changes during the closing stages of an anti-trust case in which Microsoft was found guilty of abusing its market dominance.

The update also fixes many security loopholes and vulnerabilities in the software.

State of refusal

Microsoft is due to release on 9 September a 133MB upgrade for its Windows XP operating system called Service Pack 1.

Among the bug fixes and security updates is a set of tools that let people hide the existence of Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger, and Windows Media Player.

The tools banish all appearances of these programs from the desktop screen, the start menu and the taskbar on the bottom of the screen.

Microsoft has been forced to make it possible to hide these programs as part of a deal it brokered with the US Department of Justice during a long-running dispute over fair competition.

The Department of Justice charged Microsoft with abusing its 90% share of desktop computer operating systems to unfairly promote its own products.

By making it possible to hide the programs, the Justice Department is hoping that Microsoft rivals, such as Real Networks, will prosper because they will be able to use their programs as defaults instead of those of Microsoft.

An icon in the Control Panel section of XP gives access to the new program hiding system.

Nine US states have refused to accept the settlement that produced this upgrade and are seeking stricter penalties. US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has yet to rule in this case.

Even before the appearance of the XP update, many Windows users have turned to software produced by Lite PC that strips out unwanted applications from Windows 98, 2000 and XP.

See also:

16 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
25 Oct 01 | Business
22 Apr 02 | Business
20 Feb 02 | Science/Nature
20 Aug 02 | Technology
11 Jul 00 | Science/Nature
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