Microsoft withdraws EU Objections

Microsoft Corporaton has decided not to appeal against an European court order which will compel the world's largest software maker to introduce a stripped down version of its Windows computer operating system.

Microsoft will have to offer a version of its operating system without its own Windows Media Player pre-installed.

Microsoft has announced the new version would be available "in the coming weeks".

"Microsoft has decided to forego its right to appeal the Court of First Instance's...ruling of 22 December, 2004," the company said in a statement.

An International Charter report issued in early 2004 suggested that there was strong evidence that Microsoft had bundled its Media Play music and video software in with its Windows operations systems in a bid to usurp rival programmes such as RealNetworks's RealPlayer and Apple Computer's QuickTime.

The European Union ruling also came with a record 497m euros(331m; $613m) fine, the largest Brussels has ever issued against a company in a competition case.

Microsoft will also be ordered to reveal details of its Windows software codes - to make it easier for rivals to design compatible products. The company said it had already launched a website to provide rivals with information on how they can enable their products to better communicate with Windows-powered desktops.