For all the people who think the EU ruling in the Microsoft case is about Realplayer vs. Windows Media Player: you don't get it.
It's not about some crappy player vs. some other crappy player program. It's about the difference between integrating a program into an OS and shipping a program with an OS. In both occasions the user will not see the difference, as in both occasions the program is in the start menu. The difference is in the fact that the real (pun intended) customers of Windows (the OEM's) should be able to decide which package of extra software they ship with the OS. They can in the situation where the programs are not integrated with the OS. They can't when the programs are part of the OS.
I haven't read anyone debating the obvious question: why did Microsoft integrate WMP into Windows and why wasn't WMP made a separate program? The answer is pretty simple. When you start WMP in its default form, you are, when connected to the net, automatically visiting which website? Ok, and what can you do on that website? Buy music! But that's not all. You can also listen to content delivered by 3rd parties, the so called 'partners'. That content is streamed to you in MP3 format, or any other format than WMP's native formats? No, WMP native.
Now here's the catch: WMP is a tool to get people onto sites where they can spend money and it is also a tool to get as much content providers use the WMP native formats. You see: if more and more people have WMP installed on their system, more and more content providers will obviously provide their content in WMP native formats so the largest possible group of people can consume the content.
Who will benefit from that, financially? Who can sell WMP streaming servers to the content providers? (They happen to come with a nice Windows 2003 installer ) Who can sub-license their streaming technology to 3rd parties because it will be the de-facto standard, because every consumer has the player right there on their desktop?
This is Big Money PoliticsTM, people. Who has the media, has the people. Today people watch content on their TV. within a few years more and more content will be made available via the Internet via streaming technology.
Do you still think this is about a silly player vs. silly player debate? If you still do, go back to the top of this article and start reading. Until you get it.
(disclaimer: I don't use either one of them, I use Winamp 5)