EU warns Microsoft: forthcoming Vista risks antitrust breach
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The EU's commissioner in charge of competition, Neelie Kroes, wrote to Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft last week informally warning him that Microsoft's plans to include security features, search tools, copyright protection services and an application to create documents similar to Adobe's PDF files into Vista would violate European antitrust laws, according to her spokesman Jonathan Todd.
Mr. Todd said that the commission was worried that features Microsoft plans to include in Vista may prevent customers from choosing their own software combinations. He emphasised that the letter was not a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into Windows Vista.
The commission wrote the letter following a letter from Microsoft asking them to indicate if there were any possible competition issues with the new system. Mr. Todd said: "We assume that Microsoft has its own interests at heart. It wants to launch another product without having to worry about the Commission instituting various actions under antitrust law."
Microsoft's top lawyer in Europe, Horacio Guttierez, said Wednesday that adding such functions into the operating system was essential if Microsoft was to meet customer demand. "I know consumers want more secure computer systems," he said.
Windows Vista includes software called Windows Defender, which seeks out and removes spyware and adware. Guttierez claims that forcing Microsoft to sell Windows without Defender "is a bit like forcing BMW to sell cars without airbags".
"We have a responsibility to make our products better and more secure for our customers," he said.
- Paul Meller. "New Vista for Microsoft is antitrust issue for EU" — , March 30, 2006
- Rory Watson. "Antitrust warning on Microsoft's new system" — , March 30, 2006
- Michael Paige. "Microsoft's Vista sparks EU concern" — , March 29, 2006
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