Analysts believe that European consumers will not be pleased by a European Union judge's decision to force Microsoft to sell a version of its Windows operating system without Windows Media Player.

Ovum analyst Philip Cannelley told International Herald Tribune: "Let's face it, consumers want to get everything they can in a software package for the least amount of money. I think it's really questionable whether retailers will even stock the stripped-down version. They might not see the demand."

According to the report, others think consumers who have been used to buying computers with the full operating system installed are unlikely to be happy to be forced to spend extra money on a media player.

System breakdown

There are also concerns that the version without the media player installed will cause problems for consumers. Microsoft has warned that a stripped-down version could lead to operating system breakdowns because certain aspects of the OS rely on Windows Media Player.

The company issued a statement saying: "We believe that the code removal remedy, obliging Microsoft to release a degraded version of the Windows operating system, will be harmful to consumers and competitors and undermines the technology integration that has been a backbone of the IT revolution over the past three decades."