Microsoft Corp has offered to change the design of its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system in order to allay European Commission antitrust concerns, according to the company’s general counsel.
Brad Smith told reporters that the company had responded to a letter from European Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, by offering to make changes to Vista in order to alleviate concerns.
We received a letter from Commissioner Kroes on the 31st of March highlighting some concerns with Windows Vista. We moved very quickly to address those concerns, even making changes in the design of Windows Vista and offering to do more, said Smith.
Kroes wrote to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer in March in response to requests from Microsoft to clarify any concerns the Commission had with regards to Vista, which is currently scheduled for release in January 2007.
Those concerns included the possible bundling into Vista of certain products, such as internet search and certain security features that are currently available on a standalone basis from Microsoft and other vendors, according to a Commission statement.
Smith said Microsoft responded on April 11 to address issues related to Metro, a proposed challenger to Adobe Systems Inc’s PDF, offering to remove the code entirely from European versions of Vista.
We offered to make additional changes in the version of Windows Vista that would be released in Europe, said Smith. Indeed, we laid out four alternative approaches to addressing this issue in Windows Vista, including even removing the competing technology to PDF from the European version of Windows, pending the decision by the Court of First Instance.
Smith added that the company is still waiting to hear from the Commission how it wanted the company to move forward with regards to concerns over Vista. We told the Commission that we would be prepared to do any one of those four things and they could simply tell us which of those things they wanted us to do, he said.
Kroes had warned Microsoft about Vista as she announced plans to fine the company 280.5m euros ($356.6m) for failing to comply with the Commission’s antitrust ruling. Microsoft is aware of it. Hopefully, it will be in a shape that all those items are taken into account, she said.
In March, Neil Holloway, Microsoft president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the company would build a separate version of its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system without media player capabilities, in keeping with the Commission’s 2004 antitrust requirements.