Vista's practices illegal in Europe ?

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Sat Jan 27 09:16:51 CST 2007

  International Herald Tribune <>
Rivals accuse Microsoft before Vista's introduction
Friday, January 26, 2007
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A coalition of rivals charged Friday that Microsoft's new Vista 
operating system, coming out next week, will perpetuate practices found 
illegal in the European Union nearly three years ago.

The group, which includes International Business Machines, Nokia, Sun 
Microsystems, Adobe, Oracle and Red Hat, said its complaints, made last 
year, had yet to be addressed just days before Vista was due for release.

The European Commission found in 2004 that Microsoft used its market 
dominance to muscle out RealNetworks and other makers of audio and video 
streaming software, and that it made its desktop Windows system 
deliberately incompatible with rivals' software.

"Microsoft has clearly chosen to ignore the fundamental principles of 
the commission's March 2004 decision," said Simon Awde, chairman of the 
European Committee for Interoperable Systems, or ECIS.

Microsoft declined to comment

A spokesman for the European Commission said, "We are in the process of 
examining this complaint." ECIS disclosed Friday that the latest 
additions to its complaint were made only last month, after it studied 

The Vista operating system is due for formal release on Tuesday, 
including a major rollout in Brussels.

"Vista is the first step of Microsoft's strategy to extend its market 
dominance to the Internet," the European Committee for Interoperable 
Systems said in a statement.

The complaint said that the computer language used in the Vista 
software, called XAML, was "positioned to replace HTML," which has 
become the industry standard for publishing documents on the Internet. 
XAML would be dependent on Windows and would discriminate against 
systems like Linux, the group said.

The statement also said that a file format in the software, known as 
OOXML, was designed to run seamlessly only on the Microsoft Office 
platform. It governs the way a document is formatted and stored.

"The end result will be the continued absence of any real consumer 
choice, years of waiting for Microsoft to improve --- or even debug --- 
its monopoly products and of course high prices," Thomas Vinje, a lawyer 
for ECIS, said in the statement.

Other complainants in the group include Corel, RealNetworks and Opera.

Microsoft is still challenging the commission's 2004 decision, which 
ordered it to change its business practices. It awaits a decision by the 
EU's Court of First Instance.

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