March 29, 2006 10:59 AM PST

EU voices concerns over Microsoft's Vista

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European antitrust regulators have voiced competition concerns regarding Microsoft's upcoming Vista operating system, including the possible bundling of Internet search and PDF-like formatting capabilities in the operating system.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes sent a letter to the software maker last week outlining two main concerns regarding Vista and its conformity with the Commission's March 2004 decision, according to a statement from the Commission on Wednesday.

One concern centered on the possibility that Vista would include features in its products that are already available separately from Microsoft and other companies, such as Internet search, digital rights management and software to create fixed document formats like PDF.

The other concern focused on whether Microsoft would fail to disclose all necessary technical information to third parties to make Vista interoperable with competing products.

The European Commission will begin a two-day hearing on Thursday on allegations that Microsoft failed to comply with its March 2004 ruling. The issue of having Microsoft's OS interoperable with competitors' products is also at the heart of that ruling, and the Commission will decide whether the software giant should be subject to a fine of up to 2 million euros a day.

While the Commission sent the Vista letter as a means to clarify its concerns, the European antitrust regulators have not formally launched an investigation.

Microsoft, meanwhile, contends it is working hard to be inclusive with Vista.

"Keeping the industry and regulators informed of our product development plans has been, and will remain, a priority," Microsoft said in a statement on Wednesday, noting it has not yet received the Commission's letter. "We have worked hard to include partners and competitors in our planning, so they can build products and services that work with Windows Vista."

Other industry players, however, have raised objections to the lack of interoperability of Microsoft's older OS with their products.

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) will submit evidence at the hearing this week, as an interested party. The ECIS includes Sun Microsystems, RealNetworks, IBM, Oracle, Corel, Nokia, Red Hat, Opera and Linspire.

The "industry wants nothing more than to achieve interoperability as soon as possible to restore consumer choice and competition on the merits in the work group server market," Simon Awde, ECIS chairman, said in a statement. "Two years after the Commission decision, we are still not there."

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commission, antitrust, product development, Internet search, European Union

23 comments

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To Dance Or Not To Dance - The SAMBA
"About SAMBA for OS/2 and eCS

Samba is a SMB/CIFS protocols file and print sharing server/client set originaly made for UNIX world to cooperate with corresponding Windows and OS/2 servers or clients.
OS/2 has native implementation of SMB/CIFS server/client set - IBM LAN Manager and IBM Peer. These products haven't been updated for a long time and have some compatibility problems with modern Windows SMB/CIFS implementations.

This package is the OS/2 port of Samba 3.x client made as the plugin to NetDrive - a well known virtual file system for OS/2. OS/2 SAMBA client provides seamles access to SMB/CIFS file shares over your network using TCP/IP as the underlying transport protocol."


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://samba.netlabs.org/" target="_newWindow">http://samba.netlabs.org/</a>

Since "The European Commission will begin a two-day hearing on Thursday on allegations that Microsoft failed to comply with its March 2004 ruling. The issue of having Microsoft's OS interoperable with competitors' products is also at the heart of that ruling"; and, just to repeat, "Samba is a SMB/CIFS protocols file and print sharing server/client set originaly made for UNIX world to cooperate with corresponding Windows and OS/2 servers or clients."; Then, that says it all! :-( :-( :-(
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who cares
Who cares about OS/2
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
This just can't go on
Microsoft copies other people's innovations and then bundle that technology in Windows in order to make their stuff the default.

This practice hurts the IT industry as a whole as it maked it less valuable for companies to create technology that Microsoft can copy. This rediculous scenario has gone on for way to long and should have been stopped along time ago.

At least Europe is doing something about this.

My opinion is that in the long run the Web will become the main platform. Already we see companies creating more for the Web and less for Windows. Ultimately the shift will occur when the average client will not care what OS or device they are using, so long as they have access to the Internet.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft thinks it can go on.
MS makes a lot of money by violating the antitrust laws.
The only way they are going to stop doing it is if Gates
and Ballmer do jail time.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
The EU's next shakedown of Microsoft
The EU is ridiculous. Plain and simple. You give them an inch, they take a mile. The next thing you know they will be fining Microsoft for spitting on the sidewalk so to speak. That's the problem with these socialist minded institutions or socialists in general.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Screw You My Dear Europe...
What will happen if Microsoft can't sell in Europe? They'll lose some money.

Instead they should just tell the EU to go shove this up its @$$. Microsoft has to make a profit of more than $2 Million a day in Europe. If thats true, just consider that $2mil cost of doing business. Just raise the prices to punish the European citizens for having a socialist government.
Posted by hahne59 (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah... Tell me about it!
:)) Microsoft simply can't afford that! (Putting Europe out of MS selling list!)
Europe might (if left aside) become THE largest software pirate ever!
MS has in fact become too large for its own good. Look what happened to the dinosaurs!
What now... Microsoftus Rex?!
Posted by Kostagh (57 comments )
Link Flag
Socialism?
This in no way resembles socialism. I think it desrves its own name. From this day forth, the EU shall be catagorized as a Stupocracy.
Posted by (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What are they talking about?
What are they talking about, that Windows isn\'t compatible with other products? The only things different from Microsoft Windows from Linux and OSX, is that they use three different disc allocation schemes (NTFS, Unix-brand, and OSX-based).

Every product that I have seen on the market, works with Windows XP and OSX, as far as printers, MP3 players, and other products go.

Linux.... that isn\'t a problem with Microsoft, it\'s a problem that people like Windows XP better or because it is easier to set up, and therefore they want to stay with it!
Posted by Leria (585 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Gosh! Is Europe Attempting To Underdevelop...
... the Americas (and the rest of the world) or what! Just like it has done to Africa - according to the late Historian Dr. Walter Rodney in some of his writings. Here is the point that is made here; according to this article, "the European antitrust regulators have voiced competition concerns regarding Microsoft's upcoming Vista operating system, including the possible bundling of Internet search and PDF-like formatting capabilities in the operating system.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes sent a letter to the software maker last week outlining two main concerns regarding Vista and its conformity with the Commission's March 2004 decision, according to a statement from the Commission on Wednesday..." here it is that the "GOLDEN CHILD" (VISTA) is not yet born and the EU in its presumptious ways is apparently saying to the 90% plus world market share that it intends to influence the qualities of the "Golden CHILD" after its birth so that it cannot stand out against the rest of the children in this age of "Internet search and PDF-like formatting capabilities in the operating system" when one can now easily rely on "web-centric" features (complicated tables) and application capabilities like the "GOOGLES" of the world to deliver "disruptive" alternative solutions to the benefit of users worldwide.

Can the EU answer this question: why is it that the 1st placed Chinese (soon to be a concern of the EU and other countries around the world;and, that is if it is not already is a concern) and the 2nd and 3rd placed (respectively) Russians in that International Inter-Collegiate Computing Competition held the other day are not complaining about a particular US company's dominant position in the IT Industry (that apparently the EU has failed to develop for itself)! Gosh, give "the economy of the American auto-workers and the hurricane victims" a break and let them rebuild to a "developed" world standards from their recently harsh experiences with mother nature! :-( :-( :-(
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Uninformed Americans
Well, this entire followup clearly shows that most of the US citizens are just as uninformed and naive as we suspect in here in Europe.
Posted by devnull01 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't You Watch Current Affairs News On Your Tele!
Why is it that 10,000,000 (undocumented) uninformed immigrants may wish to become US citizens and not EU citizens. I can bet the MS Farm that another 20 times that amount may be eager to do the same ( and that's approximately one half of the total EU population - (DUH)! and run MS products when they can afford to purchase/use their computer to connect via the internet to another 20 times that number; you do the math as to what that number is!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
So True!
Yes, what happened here were only idiots allowed to reply?

There is nothing wrong with the EU wanting to make sure that Microsoft doesnt take a stronghold (too late, but oh well!) and then hold EU people/companies to ransom with their prices and software.

So if your from US or EU or where ever, think before posting!
Posted by jimtodd (1 comment )
Link Flag
Tired of America Bashers
Just tired of every time any converstaion comes up, it's *****, btich, ********-*****-***** about Americans.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
The european to fight for their jobs in UK and France
EU should concern why they become uncompetible
Posted by X-C3PO (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fair Competition
Seeing that MS has to sharee its technology with the EU so they can have a fair chance to compete does this mean that Airbus will share its technology with Boing and all other aeroplane manufacturers so they can compete equally??
Will Volkswagen share with Ford? Comes a time when a little common sense should prevail. Will Apple have to share its technology with I-tunes with all other companies too? Oh wait, will OSX need to open up and share with MS? Bill its time to take your ball home and not play with EU anymore! Sorry EU we won't renew your licenses, find your own operating system and Web toys..
Posted by Sir Limey (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here Here
What is the last version of Windows and Office that the EU liked? Win98 without IE or some such?

A simple announcement: "Vista will not be distributed or supported in any EU nation until the sanctions imposed to date are repealed, and the fines returned."

Should get someone's undivided attention.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
So WHAT?!
SO WHAT?!
Support from MS?! HA! Now THAT's a joke! Why would one need that? A! Patching?! Well... that's not support! That's just a supplier mending his own messy product.
As much as I'd use Windows, I must confess that I believe that AFTER Win 200 no REAL functionality was added to the system (which after all and finally is ONLY an OS- Operating System). All they put into was just eye-candy. And so will be VISTA too. A half-baked concoction of a MAC OS clone.
I've been in computing and programming since the '80s. For a long time, an OS was destined to do just that: OPERATE the computer. Utility programmes were aside and they were those that required resources. Now it seems we're putting the cart in front of the horses: we have to upgrade a computer JUST TO RUN THE OS. What will happen when we also want some applications on it!? We'll make it a CRAY ONE?! Multiprocessors?! I don't know... it all seems to me like just another "boost up the computer sales" marketing kind of thing...
Posted by Kostagh (57 comments )
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