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When European Union regulators rule this week in their antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., their decision will do more than possibly force the software maker to offer Windows without a bundled multimedia player.

It appears likely to set a precedent for when and where Microsoft can integrate other software into the operating system and also to provide a legal analysis that could be used in private antitrust action against Microsoft in Europe, say legal experts and IT analysts.

The European Commission is expected to approve on Wednesday findings and recommended remedies against Microsoft that include a requirement that Microsoft offer two version of Windows for Europe—one with Windows Media Player included and another with it stripped out.

The EU’s competition commissioner, Mario Monti, indicated the precedent-setting nature of the likely remedies in a statement last week after talks broke down between the EU and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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