Vista in EU’s sights

The long-running antitrust dispute between Microsoft and the European Commission looks set to drag on for at least a few more weeks, with fresh concerns arising over Windows Vista, the firm’s next-generation operating system (OS).

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By  Dylan Bowman Published  April 9, 2006

The long-running antitrust dispute between Microsoft and the European Commission looks set to drag on for at least a few more weeks, with fresh concerns arising over Windows Vista, the firm’s next-generation operating system (OS). Following a two-day hearing last month, Commission representatives said that a decision on whether the software giant will have to pay fines of up to US$2.4million a day for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust ruling is still “several weeks away”. In its March 2004 ruling the Commission fined Micro- soft US$605 million for abusing its dominant market position and not making available adequate technical information abo- ut the Windows OS to rival firms. The Commission has now voiced misgivings over the fort- hcoming Vista OS, with European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes writing to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last month to express her concern. The Commission wants to make sure the firm is not brea- ching antitrust rules laid down in the 2004 case by providing inadequate technical information about Vista to allow third parties to produce products that are interoperable. It is also concerned whether Microsoft is bundling internet search functions and software to create fixed document formats with Vista that would give it an unfair advantage over similar products from rival companies.

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