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Microsoft Vista Plan Riles EU

September 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

BRUSSELS — European Union officials warned Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday not to shut out rivals in the security software market as the company plans to launch its Windows Vista operating system with built-in protection from hackers and malicious programs.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the European Commission was "ready to give guidance to Microsoft" concerning Vista but added that it was up to the U.S. software maker "to accept and implement its responsibilities as a near monopolist to ensure full compliance" with EU competition rules.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company warned EU regulators not to block the security improvements in the long-delayed Windows upgrade scheduled for companies in November and consumers in January.

"We are concerned that [regulators] might require the removal of some of the security features we've demonstrated," said Erich Andersen, an attorney for Microsoft. "We want to launch Windows Vista in a fully lawful manner and we want to avoid regulatory decisions that could increase security risks for European consumers."

Todd said the commission understands Microsoft's wish to make Vista more secure. But he added that the EU believed "computer security depends on diversity and innovation in the field of security software, [and] such diversity and innovation could be at risk if Microsoft was allowed to foreclose the existing competition in the security software markets."

He said that bundling its own security product as part of Vista, "its own dominant operating system ... would ultimately harm consumers through reduced choice and higher security risks."

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