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Windows XP N Not Catching on in Europe

OEMs and retailers are citing a lack of customer interest for their decisions not to load onto new computers or stock the version of Windows XP without the Windows Media Player that the European Commission ordered Microsoft to offer, according to a media report.

Microsoft began offering Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N this month in several European countries as part of the EU antitrust ruling. Editions for other countries and for retail outlets is planned for the next few weeks.

Microsoft first fought against producing the editions and then proposed naming them the "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition." Microsoft delayed producing a version of Windows XP without the Windows Media Player for more than a year, although the original order called for one within 90 days. Microsoft will charge the same for the N Editions as the regular editions of Windows XP. The version will not be offered outside of Europe.

The European Commission intended for the editions to protect competition in the PC media player market by making customers consciously choose a media player technology rather than having Windows Media Player presented as the default.

But according to an article written by The Associated Press wire service, major European retailers and PC makers currently have no intention of selling the stripped-down edition of the client operating system.

PC World, Britain's leading PC retailer, will not stock the product. "We'll continue to sell the old version because it's obviously better value for our customers," Gina Jones, a PC World spokeswoman, told the AP.

Spanish online computer store Publinet has not ordered it. A Toshiba spokesman cited "little evidence from consumers asking for 'N' specifically." Sony and Dell also said they don't intend to install the product.

Fnac, a French department store chain, will test the product in a limited range of stores but has seen no advance demand for the product.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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