Last year, EU regulators demanded that Microsoft either sell a stripped-down version of Windows or install rival media players. The CD-ROM offer seeks to satisfy the second option but sources said the commission, which wants all players competing on the same level, believes requiring installation from a CD-ROM would deter most users. One source said Microsoft might agree to a folder on the computer desktop informing users of the options available on CD, although it was unclear whether Microsofts media player would be on the CD or pre-installed.Microsoft also faces a potential fine for antitrust abuses ranging from a minimum $20 million to around $3 billion10 percent of its global sales. Unless a settlement is reached, the commission is expected to produce its decision by May, setting the stage for a challenge in European courts.
Microsofts offer to settle the second half of the case involving the market for low-end servers, which link desktops together in offices, was also deemed "not enough" but talks continue, one source said, declining to elaborate.