“Shares of Apple Computer gained as rival Microsoft Corp. faced new pressure from the European Union’s top antitrust body, which is raising concerns about the company’s new Windows operating system, Vista. Shares of Apple surged 6.1 percent to $62.29,” Reuters reports.
“The Commission said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes had written to Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to express worries about the company’s upcoming Vista operating system,” Reuters reports. “Apple’s Macintosh computers use Apple’s own Mac OS X operating system rather than Microsoft’s Windows… The Commission, the European Union’s top antitrust body, is concerned that Vista may package Internet search functions or software to create fixed document formats, such as the ‘pdf’ format, posing a potential threat to companies such as Google Inc. or Adobe Systems Inc. which provide similar products. ‘We are concerned about the possibility that the next Vista operating system will include various elements which are currently available separately from Microsoft or other companies,’ said Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd.”
“On Thursday, Microsoft fights to stave off fines handed down in a previous case by EU competition regulators. Microsoft is in a long-running battle with the Commission, which decided in 2004 that the world’s largest software company had abused the dominance of its Windows operating system and fined it nearly half a billion euros. Analysts also cited optimism that the delay of the Vista operating system could boost sales of Apple’s Macintosh computers in the holiday-sales-fuelled fourth quarter. ‘There’s more interest around Apple with the Vista delay,’ said Shannon Cross of Cross Research, adding that the stock has sold off heavily since the middle of January,” Reuters reports.
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