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Microsoft To Ship Stripped-Down Windows In Europe

A European court ruled Wednesday that Microsoft must release a new version of Windows without Media Player and new server protocols, even though the company's formal appeal has yet to be heard.

Under the decision by the European Court of First Instance, Microsoft will provide the stripped-down version of the Windows code to European PC manufacturers in January and the server protocols in the near future, said Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal counsel, during a press conference Wednesday after the decision was made public.

Smith said the new version of Windows will be available in February through the distribution channel and to resellers in Europe.

Microsoft also is working to ensure that it complies with an order to make available for licensing select communications protocols for the Windows server. Microsoft was required to license communications protocols for the Windows client as part of its settlement with the U.S. government several years ago.

Despite the setback for Microsoft, the case is far from over, Smith said, noting that the Redmond, Wash.-based company's formal appeal hasn't been heard yet. Microsoft has two months to decide whether to appeal Wednesday's ruling to the President of the European Court of First Instance, but the company first plans to study the decision before determining its course of action, he said.

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