Microsoft's attempt to demand third party MP3-player makers exclusively ship Windows Media with their products has been foiled.

In a classic digital music land-grab, the company had circulated a draft version of a scheme demanding that makers who shipped a CD with Windows Media Player agree not to ship any other media player with their products.

The Department of Justice objected to the move, and forced the company to cease in the plan under terms of the anti-trust settlement with the US government.

In customary damage-control mode, a company representative told ZDnet that the plan: "Had not had a full legal review and that it would have been caught by the processes that the company has put in place."

"While it is unfortunate that the draft specification contained the exclusivity provision, Microsoft took quick steps to correct this error and plaintiffs do not believe any further action is required," the Justice Department said.

Commenting on the move, Digital Music News said: "Microsoft will have to focus on alternative ideas to chip away at its iPod nemesis, which has holistically combined both the software and hardware pieces of the puzzle."

Microsoft and partners have seen little success so far, it writes.