Are you arguing that WMP is not part of the OS (in which case I agree)
Yes I am.
but having said that I hate the DRM content in Windows but much prefer it to the problems that would arise if MS left it up to individual companies to implement their own DRM systems - do you really want Sony installing software on your system (or any of the other media companies) when you want to play a CD, DVD or BluRay disc? Can you imagine that havoc that would ensue if they all started trying to put kernel level DRM on to a system without cross testing their products? If Windows Media Player is part of the DRM solution in Windows then I'd rather have that present.
Possibly. But I would argue that DRM would have become a non-issue, and died a death it richly deserved in the wake of the Sony root kit debacle, had not Microsoft and Apple rushed to embrace it under Vista and iTunes.
The only thing really keeping DRM alive is Apple and Microsoft's collusion with Hollywood and the record industry to support it at the kernal level. And I doubt they did so purely in the interests of protecting their customer's user experience.Want to get rid of DRM? Convince Apple and Microsoft to stop going along with it.
Without kernal level support DRM is (as you have noted) unworkable. And I doubt the media and entertainment industry can afford to abandon all the computer owners who are also their own paying customers just because they can no longer have OS DRM support. Those companies that still insist on DRM, and develop their own protection schemes, will be crowded out of the market by those producers that don't. The market itself will see to that.
Of course, once Apple and Microsoft stop playing the game, the media industry will probably try to get EU and US Federal legislation to require it. But that's a battle for another day.
As for IE there was a recent article (sorry can't find it now) about the EU insisting that if MS won't remove IE from Windows they will be forced top inlcude the other major browsers on the desktop in the EU.
I'd call that a hollow victory at best, to say nothing of a transparent bid to "save a little face." It's almost like insisting that the girls be allowed to enter the boy's clubhouse; but not requiring that the boys stop being nasty, or hitting them when they do.
IE doesn't stop with it being a web browser. It also has low-level hooks into a number of key areas within the operating system and is so tightly interwoven that it is virtually impossible to remove without taking some of the OS with it.
Microsoft has done this sort of thing for a long time. Remember when removing Outlook Express from your system also removed the TAPI API? (Wanna remove OE? Well then you can just forget about faxing anything either.
) As long as Microsoft is allowed to avail itself of undocumented OS capabilities, and play spoilsport with it's APIs and services, it doesn't matter who else comes along for the ride.
IMHO: Europe is once again trying to accommodate a bully, while still maintaining some philosophical claim to having "stood up" to it. Which is extremely unfortunate.
Because if anybody has ever paid the price for doing that, it's the countries of Europe.