Microsoft, EU Agree on New Name for Windows

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Microsoft (MSFT) announced Monday an agreement with European Union antitrust regulators on the name "Windows XP Home Edition (search) N," with "N" standing for "not with media player," for a reduced version of its Windows media software sold in Europe.

Microsoft's "XP Professional Edition" will also include the "N" for versions sold without the media player.

Shares of Microsoft rose 10 cents to $24.38 on the Nasdaq Stock Market (search). The stock has been trading at a 52-week range of $23.96 to $30.20.

Microsoft's top lawyer in Europe, Horacio Gutierrez, told The Associated Press the software company notified the EU head office of its decision to accept their name offer.

He said company officials "have some misgivings" about the new name, but decided in the end to cooperate.

"We fear it may cause confusion for consumers buying the product but we will adopt the commission's name in order to move forward and accelerate the pace of the implementation process," he said.

There was no immediate comment from the European Commission (search).

The agreement is part of talks between the EU and Microsoft to implement an EU fine against Microsoft last year, totaling a record 497 million euros ($665 million) after the EU ruled the company abusively wielded its Windows software monopoly to lock competitors out of the market.

The EU ordered that Microsoft offer consumers an version without media player, and compatible with competitor software, like Real Player.

Gutierrez said all nine proposed name changes, including Microsoft's first choice: "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition," were rejected.

EU regulators said that name would discourage sales and mislead customers.

"Two months ago Microsoft provided the commission nine additional names and took the unusual step of offering to adopt any name chosen by the commission from this list," Gutierrez said.

The agreement should clear the way for Microsoft to start shipping the new version of Windows to computer shops after resolving the dispute with the EU over the product's name.

Software rivals are now complaining however that the new version is not fully compatible with their programs, further complicating implementation of the EU's antitrust ruling.