Microsoft's monopolistic practice of bundling its media player with the Windows operating system is "naughty", but it isn't the reason why rival RealPlayer doesn’t enjoy popularity, according to a UK national paper.

The Independent asks: "How well RealPlayer and Apple's QuickTime Player – the two principal rivals, though far from the only ones (there's also MusicMatch, VLC, mplayer, to name but a few) – actually cope with the problem of not being the default installation on Windows."

Apple's QuickTime receives praise from the reporter, who says: "QuickTime is fairly well-behaved." But RealPlayer is in for some criticism. Forum posts and blogs suggesting that the media player from RealNetworks is more trouble than it's worth, are noted in the report.

One blogger comments: "If RealPlayer, RealOne, whatever, just did what it's supposed to do, which is to play video streams, then that'd be great. Although RealPlayer's task is simple and limited to a certain timeframe, RealPlayer defaults to running at all times, whether its limited functionality is needed or not."

"The big question is whether it's Microsoft's fault that Real is so regarded online. To which the answer actually is: no," concludes the report.