As many of you know, Microsoft is currently in the endgame of an anti-trust battle with the EU government. At issue this time around is the bundling of Windows Media Player with Windows. (There are other aspects to the case, but this seems to be the hinging point.)
I’m of two minds on this one… on one hand, being bundled with Windows is obviously an enormous and nearly insurmountable advantage for WMP… on the other hand, Windows would be the only OS you can buy that doesn’t have a bundled media player… which seems so strange to me– to limit their ability to include a feature that is available in all competing products. (All linux distros I’ve seen come with a player, and MacOS has iTunes.)
I think a more equitable decision would be to say this:
<ul><li>At retail, handle it the way they used to handle other online services, but a little more even-handed… allow third party players to be part of the install, and allow the consumer to choose which one they want as part of the OOBE.
</li><li>OEMs could choose which player (if any) to pre-install. </li></ul>
Seems like this would be the best all-around solution, as it would level the playing field without hobbling the copy of Windows that people buy. (Can you imagine your average idiot user? “I just bought a new computer, and it can’t play MP3s!”)