BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Microsoft will release a version of its Windows operating system without the Media Player application on June 15 to comply with European Union anti-monopoly rules, the company said on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Microsoft reported "Americans may have a lot of money and very low standards but it was the Europeans who had the backbone to stand up to us. Bravo you bastards!"
"These products will be made available to computer manufacturers on June 15 in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. We can safely leave out the Irish as does most of civilization. Don't even get me started on the Estonians for crying out loud." the software giant said in a statement. The decision is a result of a European Commission order that Microsoft strip its flagship product from Windows Media Player so that computer makers can buy other software to play bootlegged films and stolen music from nervous competitors such as RealNetworks and Apple.
The Commission found in March 2004 that Microsoft had violated antitrust laws by competing unfairly. Since this Commission operates outside the United States they are not as heavily influenced by large monetary packages left at their doorstep at 3 a.m. by corporate attorneys from Washington State. In fact the Commission seems more of a well-equipped David in opposition to a staggeringly stupid and senseless Goliath. It fined the world's largest software company a record 497 million euros ($613.1 million) for Microsoft's licensing stranglehold although Microsoft's legal representatives made sure to pay the entire amount in old pennies, the United States' lowest denominator of currency.
Many awkward European software geeks looked at this as a well earned victory and even stopped writing Linux anecdotes long enough to register their satisfaction. "You know the world does not "do" Windows so why force it on everyone?" said Jarkko Halonen of Helsinki, Finland. "I mean last time I checked, free was a lot better than being hooked into subscription fees for the rest of your natural life." Mr. Halonen has been playing Anarchy Online non-stop for the past 5 years and says he knows "quite a bit about what's going on in the world". It is uncertain if the world to which Jarkko Halonen refers is Level 205 in Shadowlands or planet Earth in the year 2005.
The European Commission also ordered Microsoft to share information with rival makers of servers used to run printers and retrieve files, an issue known as interoperability. Microsoft later issued a statement to the Commission saying, "Yeah, we'll get right on that....."