Microsoft warns that EC rulings may force Vista delay

Microsoft has warned may have to delay the European release of Vista if it fails to comply with the EU’s 2004 antitrust ruling against the company.

In statement, Microsoft said that it has submitted proposals to the European Commission addressing concerns about Vista, the successor to Windows XP slated to be released at the end of January 2007.

‘Once we receive the Commission’s response, we will know whether the Commission is seeking additional product design changes that would result in delay in Europe,’ the statement said.

The Commission said that Microsoft’s warning was ‘misleading’.

‘It is not up to the Commission to give Microsoft a green light before Vista is put on the market; it is up to Microsoft to accept and implement its responsibilities as a near-monopolist to ensure full compliance with EU competition rules,’ a spokesman said.

He added that the company had only responded to the EU’s concerns last week.

Microsoft said that it has given EU antitrust regulators ‘extensive briefings’ over 15 months, as well as advance copies of Vista for evaluation.

‘We are doing everything we can to deliver Windows Vista to our European customers on time,’ it stated. ‘Our top priority is to ensure that that the product is fully compliant with European law.’

Three UK members and one Polish member of the European Parliament have written to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes arguing that any delay would endanger European business.

‘It is alarming that one of the world’s most successful technology companies considers the European Commission’s attitude a risk factor,’ the letter said.

The 2004 ruling found that Microsoft had illegally used Window’s dominance of computer desktops to o compete unfairly in the server and media player markets. It was fined a record €497, compelled to release a version of Windows XP stripped of its Media Player software and ordered to release source code on server interoperability.

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