Sunday, February 27, 2005

The European Union: Marketing Consultant?

From our friends in Europe:

Another row has broken out over the name [Microsoft] proposes giving to the version of Windows without the MediaPlayer audiovisual programme which it is making available to PC manufacturers....

The EU's competition authorities... have rejected out of hand Microsoft's initial suggestion of calling the "degraded" version of its operating system "Windows reduced media edition" - viewed as a serious deterrent to consumers. Other proposed names have also been rejected.

So now honestly naming your product is illegal in Europe because the name isn't snazzy enough? I guess we know now what the opposite of a truth-in-advertising law looks like.
Privately, officials are angry at what are seen as Microsoft's underhand, prevaricating efforts to lessen the impact of the sanctions. The software group, however, insisted: "We are fully committed to implementation of the commission's and the court's decisions."
No, the officials are angry at getting outwitted by one of those evil mongrel American corporations.

There are plenty of reasons to complain about Microsoft, but this fascination with bundled software (last time it was Internet Explorer) is absurd. I have Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and QuickTime - each of which is free and each of which has unique benefits and drawbacks. What's next, banning the Windows Calculator because it competes with other free calculators?

Update, Mar. 29: EU imposes a meaningless name:

Microsoft has bowed to pressure from the European Commission to name a new version of its Windows XP software, Windows XP Home Edition N.


The 'N' in the new name stands for "not with media player".

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