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Consumer groups to call for defanging of WinXP

Hurts consumers, threat to civilisation etc, same old story...

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Four US consumer organisations are poised to damn Windows XP later today, and to offer their thoughts on the measures the courts should take to protect the public from the Beast. At a Washington press conference the Consumer Federation of America, the Consumers Union, the Media Access Project and US Public Interest Research Group intend to explain why Windows XP "advances the company's illegal anti-competitive practices and harms the nation's consumers."

The groups say that the DoJ's decision not to press for the break-up of Microsoft, together with the company's continuing bundling activities, places a great deal of pressure on the courts "to craft an effective and vigorous conduct remedy." This would seem to imply they'll be pushing for rather stiffer remedies than we've seen trailed so far. The DoJ itself has intimated that tougher conduct remedies may be asked for because break-up is no longer on table, so it's possible they're singing from a similar songsheet.

Any conduct remedies the courts impose may cover XP, but given the scheduling they're not going to bite before next month's official XP rollout. Nor, obviously, are they interfering with the shipping of OEM versions of XP, which started this week. The groups however express concern that XP will threaten competition in areas such as "communications, commerce, streaming audio/visual applications and online services... if Windows XP and its tightly bundled version of Internet software (e.g., Messenger, Passport, Media Player, and MSN) hits shelves as planned."

"If"? Presumably they'll be explaining how at this late stage the non-appearance of WinXP "as planned" can be engineered. That should certainly be worth listening to... ®

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