24 May 2002 Software giant Microsoft is to go ahead with changes to its Windows XP operating system to comply with the contested antitrust settlement concluded last year with the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
The changes will make it easier for PC makers and end-users to adjust some of the features and install non-Microsoft alternatives for applications such as media players, web browsers and email clients.
A free service pack will be released in the summer to enable current users to upgrade. The news will come as a relief to many users infuriated with being forced to use Microsoft applications when they would prefer to use third party products.
Microsoft product manager Jim Cullinan said that the changes would enable users to “hide” the Microsoft applications and use their own. But the nine rebel states that are holding out for a tougher settlement have criticised the move.
They say that if the Microsoft applications are still there, software companies are still likely write to them and thereby force end users to use them whether they want to or not.
Furthermore, the applications that Microsoft will allow to be hidden is strictly limited. They are Outlook Express; Windows Messenger; Internet Explorer; Windows Media Player; and Microsoft’s Java Virtual Machine.