Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Windows XP-lite 'not value for money'

According to a story, Windows XP-lite is 'not value for money'. The story explains that PC World will not be carrying the media-player-less version of Windows XP the EC forced Microsoft to sell. Earlier this month, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Fujitsu Siemens told ZDNet UK that they were not going to pre-load XP Reduced Media Edition either. Well what a surprise - NOT!!

I can not work out why anyone could not see what was going to happen here. The EC could probably not tell MS what to charge for this edition, so of course MS is going to charge the same price for a media player-less version as for the media player included version fo XP! As a MS spokesman was quoted as saying : "This is consistent with the Commission Decision, as confirmed by European Commission's statements and releases which acknowledge that Microsoft is permitted to offer the products at the same price. It is noteworthy that media players are generally made available for free via web downloads." Well yes - most geeks I know download the latest version(s) of their favourite media player and do not rely on what's in the box!

As I explained last week to Patrick De Smedt, Chairman of Microsoft EMEA, any serious audio fan was never going to use what was shipped in Windows XP RTM for several reasons. Personally, I download winamp (mainly to be able to play the terra bytes of lossles FLAC and SHN concerts I have collected). Until recently Windows Media Player had no plug-ins for SHN/FLAC making Winamp the only game in town for us DeadHeads! And if I was going to use MS's media player product, I'd sure as heck just download the latest verison on the web site! I love Media player for playing pre-recorded web casts as you can speed up the playback (great for watching Jim Alchin!). And for those consumers less picky about what they use to play music, how is a media-player-less edition any use to them at all (espeically at the same price)? All in all, it's a penalty that does nothing to help consumers, and just costs a lot (although it's minly MS that are picking up the tab).

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