How will the EU’s antitrust ruling against Microsoft affect home PC market and European consumers?
“It gives other software companies a window of opportunity. After this ruling, original equipment manufacturers can start offering preinstalled alternatives to Windows Media Player. Hewlett-Packard is already trying this with iTunes. Companies like Apple Computer and RealNetworks will be on their doorsteps to offer QuickTime and RealPlayer. This could hurt Microsoft, as consumers start to turn their home PCs into entertainment centers to play music downloads and video clips,” Paul Jackson, Senior Analyst for Forrester Research writes for CNET News.com.
“The bundled Windows version will still beat the stripped-down one. Microsoft need not worry too much: Regardless of the strides that RealPlayer, QuickTime and DivX make, content companies like Walt Disney and Roxio, the owner of Napster, have already committed to Microsoft for digital rights management and Windows Media Player. If Monti had given his verdict two years ago, these players would have had a chance. Now, it is too late. Consumers will continue to vote with their browser by (unknowingly) downloading Media Player with their first bit of licensed content–just as in the Explorer case a few years ago,” Jackson writes. “Furthermore, apart from a dedicated group of consumers antagonistic to Microsoft–the hip Mac fans and home Linux mavericks–consumers will care even less about the inner workings of their PCs, phones and set-top boxes.”
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