The military regime in Fiji has made a formal complaint to Microsoft over the use of the name Fiji in connection with its products. A Microsoft project currently codenamed Fiji aims to update its media centre offering to enhance support for digital television standards and interactive television.

The military appointed attorney-general of Fiji has sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft in protest at the use of the name.

“As a sovereign state the government asserts its absolute ownership over the use of the word ‘Fiji’ and reserves all its rights under all relevant laws to protect and defend the use of the word ‘Fiji’,” it states. “Microsoft Corporation is hereby instructed to immediately cease and desist with any use of the word ‘Fiji’ in relation to any of its products now or in the future.”

The letter was addressed to Mr William H Gates III of Microsoft. Co-incidentally, Bill Gates is stepping down from his role as Microsoft chairman.

A Microsoft representative said that the name Fiji was an internal working code name. Windows client business group manager Ben Green said it is not intended to be used in an external marketing context.

“The product is designed to add new television standards support, enhance the user interface and set up experience, and add interactive TV features to Windows Media Center,” he said. Asked why Microsoft chose then name Fiji he said: “I understand it reflects the project team’s affection for Fiji as a great country to visit.”

The Microsoft slogan used to be “Where do you want to go today?” In the past it has used place names such as Chicago as product code names.

Fiji is effectively still under military control following a coup at the end of 2006.

It seems likely that the Fiji project will simply be released as an update to Windows Media Center. It is believed to add features such as support for satellite and cable television reception and additional interactive features.