Microsoft says no delay for European launch of Vista

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Windows Vista is due for release in 2007(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Microsoft confirmed today that it will ship Vista, the latest version of its Windows operating system, in Europe and South Korea as scheduled, despite warnings from the European Commission competition committee and Korean fair trade regulator. A press release on the Microsoft website said it had been in 'constructive dialogue' with both bodies. According to Brad Smith, the company's general council, Microsoft has agreed to several changes set out by the EU body.

The discussion mostly centers around the inclusion of Google search facilities, Adobe PDF creation tools, and Microsoft's own security software in the operating system. As Microsoft Windows is used by 90% of the consumer computer market both committees expressed concerns that the bundling of these services and software would push companies offering similar products out of the market.

In September Microsoft raised the possibility of the Vista launch being delayed in the EU and Korea however the companies CEO Steve Balmer last night confirmed this would not be the case. At the time Microsoft said it was unsure what changes the commission required to its new OS. Warnings were apparently first received by the company in March when EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said there could be issues with the new software.

This is not the first time the software giant has clashed with EU legislators. In 2004 it was ruled to have abused it's position as market leader to push Media player using Windows. A record €497 million fine was imposed at the time and a further €280.5 million in July this year (after courts ruled Microsoft had not complied with the ruling). In the 2004 action Microsoft was required to share information stored on its servers with competing companies, something it has so far failed to do. The company now faces a €300 million a day fine for each day it does not comply.

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