Are Microsoft and the European Commission set for a major showdown?
Or is all the talk of a possible delay when Windows Vista ships in Europe and concerns about the new security features in the operating system just more bluster between the two sides?
Microsoft has been speaking out of both sides of its mouth on this issue lately, trying to scare European lawmakers into pressuring the Commission to taking the action it wants: essentially, specific guidance about whether or not Vista is in compliance with European competition law.
Last week, the Redmond, Wash., software giant said it remains on track to ship Vista in Europe at the same time as in the United States, where it is expected to be available to businesses in November and to consumers in late January 2007.
But the week before it was lamenting about how much it could not guarantee that this would happen, as the Commission had not given it the assurances it sought with regard to the new security features in Vista.
Further frustrating Microsoft is the fact that while the Commission has said it has no intention of preventing Vista from being more secure, it also wants to make sure that those improvements do not in any way prevent competition between providers or for customers.
The Commission has also made it quite clear that it is under no obligation to give Microsoft the green light to ship Vista in Europe and that it is the software makers responsibility as a “near-monopolist” to follow EU competition rules and not abuse its dominant position.
As such, while Microsoft has included new security technologies like BitLocker, Windows Security Center and PatchGuard in Vista, the EC has not been shy in asking its competitors what they think about these new technologies being bundled into Vista.