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Microsoft had to pay a licensing fee for every copy of Windows (or at least Windows Media Center) sold that supported DVD playback. As it has become more and more common for PCs to not have DVD/CD drives, and this is especially true for low end laptops, there was a lot of money being spent for something a growing portion of customers could not use. Since there were readily available alternatives including a paid player from Microsoft, the company decided to save some money while only minimally inconveniencing a portion of its customers.