Vista complies with US antitrust ruling

Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system does not pose antitrust issues so far, according to the latest status report on Microsoft's compliance with a US antitrust settlement.

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Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system does not pose antitrust issues so far, according to the latest status report on Microsoft's compliance with a US antitrust settlement.

The company has addressed all of the bugs identified relating to how third-party middleware software interacts with Vista, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsvista/default.aspx according to the report, filed in a US court.

Microsoft has increased its cooperation with the court's technical committee in several ways to help ensure that middleware vendors have their software ready for Vista before the operating system ships, the report says.

The document defines middleware as software programs such as instant messaging programs, media players, email clients and internet browsers. Around 30 vendors are working with regulators and Microsoft on how their software works with Vista, the report says.

The US government and states that were party to the antitrust suit against Microsoft have conducted "extensive testing" of interim builds of Vista and Internet Explorer 7 to ensure compliance with the November 2002 antitrust settlement, the report says.

As part of that settlement, Microsoft agreed to license communication protocols to IT vendors interested in developing server software that would work smoothly with its Windows operating system.

After complaints, Microsoft is rewriting some of the technical documentation for its Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP).

The status report says Microsoft has made the new documentation easier to understand, but the company needs to stay on schedule for delivering further documents. Microsoft has until November 2009 to provide the information.

The European Commission has also been scrutinising Vista, following its 2004 antitrust ruling against Microsoft. So far, the commission has taken no action against Vista. Microsoft has warned that if regulatory interference delays Vista's planned 30 November European launch, it could hurt Europe's economy.

In 2004, the commission fined Microsoft €497m (£340m) for abusing its monopoly in the desktop operating system market, ordered it to release a version of Windows XP without Windows Media Player software, and mandated it to license and document protocols used by its server products. Microsoft is appealing the decision before the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

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