EU antitrust regulators expand Windows Vista probe; could prompt yet another delay

“European antitrust regulators have expanded their probe into Microsoft’s Vista operating system, by raising concerns over plans to add encryption and handwriting recognition software to the group’s new flagship product,” Tobias Buck reports for The Financial Times.

“The new concerns are based on complaints from small European software developers who fear the bundling of these new functions into Vista will undermine their products in this area,” Buck reports.

“The Brussels-based regulator fears that Vista might raise the same competition problems that led the Commission to issue a landmark ruling against Microsoft more than two years ago,” Buck reports. “In particular, the regulator is concerned about the “bundling” of new features and programs into the operating system. Brussels fears the addition of an internet search engine and a range of software security features will undermine competition from companies which sell similar products on a standalone basis.

“The conflict between Brussels and the software group has taken on a new edge over recent weeks after Microsoft complained that the legal uncertainty hanging over Vista could further delay its launch,” Buck reports. “The company has also warned that the Commission probe might force it to market Vista without crucial security features. This criticism sparked an angry reaction from Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, who last week hit out at what she described as a “co-ordinated campaign” against the Commission.”

Full article here.

“Microsoft’s next Windows operating system remains at risk of being delayed as the US software group conducts its biggest public testing programme,” Joe Bolger reports for The Times. “Windows Vista, which will succeed the company’s Windows XP operating system, is due to be launched next month for corporate customers and early next year for consumers. Its success is seen as vital to Microsoft’s future. However, there is increasing speculation that testing of the new product will reveal unforeseen problems that could delay the launch.”

“David Bradshaw, principal analyst for Ovum, the technology research group, said that delays to the full release of Vista remained a danger… Although the discovery of a problem could force a rewrite, Mr Bradshaw said, ‘it would have to be a pretty major problem to derail (the release),'” Bolger reports.

“It remains a possibility that the company will release a further test version of the software before its mainstream launch,” Bolger reports. “Microsoft continues to wrangle with the European Commision over the extent to which the Competition Commissioner’s interest in Vista could delay shipment. Both Symantec and Adobe, the US software groups, have raised concerns over the inclusion in Vista of software that rivals their own offerings.”

Bolger reports, “McAfee, a Symantec rival, has today taken out newspaper advertisements claiming that Vista’s security features are ‘misguided.’ The Commission is understood to have widened its investigation after complaints by small software developers over Microsoft’s plans to include other features in Vista, including handwriting recognition.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
McAfee: Microsoft ‘taking security risks’ with long-delayed, oft-pared-down Windows Vista – October 02, 2006
Apple Macs are far more secure than Windows PCs – September 26, 2006
Oxymoron: Microsoft security – August 12, 2006
Symantec details more security holes in Microsoft’s Windows Vista – July 26, 2006
Symantec: Microsoft’s ‘improvements’ to Vista could cause instability, new security flaws – July 18, 2006
Symantec researcher: At this time, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X – July 13, 2006
Sophos: Apple Mac OS X’s security record unscathed; Windows Vista malware just a matter of time – July 07, 2006
Sophos Security: Dump Windows, Get a Mac – July 05, 2006
What Microsoft has chopped from Windows Vista, and when – June 27, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Apple: ‘Get a Mac. Say ‘Buh-Bye’ to viruses’ – June 01, 2006
Unix expert: Mac OS X much more secure than Windows; recent Mac OS X security stories are media hype – May 03, 2006
Spate of recent Mac security stories signal that Microsoft, others getting nervous – March 06, 2006
Mafiasoft: Microsoft to charge $50 per year for security service to protect Windows – February 07, 2006
Security company Sophos: Apple Mac the best route for security for the masses – December 06, 2005
Hackers already targeting viruses for Microsoft’s Windows Vista – August 04, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005

IT Managers: Do you need Windows Vista or should you ‘Get a Mac?” – September 11, 2006
Infoworld: Microsoft’s WIndows Vista not so revolutionary after all – September 11, 2006
A Windows Vista reality check for Microsoft – September 08, 2006
Pirillo: Windows Vista RC1 disappointing, schizophrenic, disordered, inconsistent, and sad – September 07, 2006
Key Microsoft exec exits as clock ticks down on oft-delayed, much pared-down Windows Vista release – September 06, 2006
$399 for Windows Vista Ultimate?! (Hint: Get a Mac) – August 29, 2006
Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard is 64-bit done right, unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista kludge – August 14, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac OS X Leopard sets new bar, leaves Microsoft’s Vista in the dust – August 08, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006
Thurrott: Microsoft collapsing under its own weight, Gates has driven Windows Vista into the ground – April 20, 2006
What’s the difference between Mac OS X and Vista? Microsoft employees are excited about Mac OS X – March 22, 2006
Thurrott: Microsoft going to get eaten alive over Windows Vista’s resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – March 09, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue on Gates’ CES demo: Most of Vista features unadulterated ripoffs from Apple Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Analyst: Windows Vista may still impress many consumers because they have not seen Apple’s Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 26, 2005
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 19, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005


  1. If Vista’s delayed in the UK this time, then it’s the EU’s own fault. They’ve been badgering M$ so much that their own government parties have chimed in and said, “Um… This may not be good economically.”

  2. “Dealy”???

    I think you mean “Delay”, right?

    Anyhow, if Vista’s delayed in the UK this time, then it’s the EU’s own fault. They’ve been badgering M$ so much that their own government parties have chimed in and said, “Um… This may not be good economically.”

  3. If Vista’s delayed in the UK this time, then it’s the EU’s own fault. They’ve been badgering M$ so much that their own government parties have chimed in and said, “Um… This may not be good economically.”

    Ummm… so it’s better to release a product that’s buggy, insecure and not thoroughly tested and this would be good economically?
    For whom?

  4. It’s a sad state of affairs when America people has to rely the European Union for protection from Microsoft’s Monopolist ways – it speaks volumes about the condition of business in America today! And that’s not a good thing!

    Guess G. W. and the boys are too busy promoting hate, fear and dividing the country to worry about the ethics of the American business community.

    Had enough yet – I have!

  5. This particular case seems a bit weak. Companies have the right to add new functionality to their products, even if it steps on the toes of 3rd party suppliers. As long as they aren’t actively blocking those 3rd parties from making what they make, then I don’t see what the issue is…

  6. Yeah, heaven forbid that economics move people to buy a better alternative like, say … Apple.

    Economics was the ruse that MS used during the first antitrust probe in the U.S. “It will be bad for the economy to disrupt the MS “plan”.

    More like BAD for MS’s economics.

  7. “Companies have the right to add new functionality to their products, even if it steps on the toes of 3rd party suppliers.” – Cpt. Obvious

    Obviously, you don’t understand that a monopoly have to play by different set of rules. Monopoly is not against the law, abusing it is.

  8. Microsoft has pulled all sorts of illegal stunts over the years in screwing small software houses, but in this instance, the EU is attempting the screwing. The socialist gangsters of Europe are trying to protect local companies regardless of the fact that certain common functions ought to be supplied by the operating system builder.

    If Apple had Microsoft’s market share, they would be pummeled for their iLife suite being bundled with new Macintoshes.

    But then Apple is not as vulnerable as Microsoft, because Apple only includes great software in order to sell great hardware.

    Still, I have a sense of schadenfreude at Microsoft getting a dose of its own mugging tactics used against it.

  9. My theory is that Microsoft wants this to happen so that it has an excuse for yet another delay. It’s obvious that Vista is not ready for primetime. It would be truly embarrassing to annouce a delay due to testing results. So let’s delay and blame it on the EU…

  10. LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son

    Apple may bundle the iLife suite, but it is not inextricably intertwined with the OS.

    MS have not published the hooks for Symantec and Norton to provide competitive solutions to the possible (manifold?) security issues with Vista.


  11. LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son is correct about this. Anyone cheering this because it is M$ better be prepared to see Apple in the same boat soon. What if the EU decides that Apple can’t include Core Animation because it will harm other software publishers that produce that kind of software functionality. There are all sorts of functions that will perform better if included at the system level. Handwriting recognition is one. I think the EU is going overboard with its attacks on Microsoft.

  12. I think they are attempting to keep Microsoft from adding features that will conflict with third party solutions in that Vista almost, if not, requires the use of MS own solution.

    Making it a little more module like. If you do not like the handwriting rec by MS then the module can be bypassed without penalty in performance, use, and stalbiliy. Then add the third party solution to Vista, as handwriting rec, with a seamless use and no unwanted requirements or future conflicts.

    I think this is the concept by the EU and not that the features are added, just the fact hinder the use of competing software… hence the abuse.

    Or I may be off in thinking this is realistic…..

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