EU to MS: Don't shut out security rivals

If Microsoft bundles security software with Vista there could be renewed antitrust issues in Europe, says the European Commission

Any attempt to incorporate its own security software in Windows Vista, Microsoft’s next operating system, could spark a new antitrust spat with Europe’s top regulator, the European Commission, spokesman Jonathan Todd warns.

Todd told Microsoft not to shut out security software rivals. Diversity and innovation could be at risk if Microsoft bundles its own security software with its dominant OS, he says.

Microsoft says Vista, due to launch early next year, may be delayed in Europe because of the regulator’s concerns. Earlier, the company had said it hoped the Commission would not demand the removal of important security features from Windows Vista in Europe.

The spat over Vista’s security features is similar to the disagreement over bundling Media Player, Microsoft’s audio and video playing software, into Windows XP.

Two-and-a-half years ago the Commission found Microsoft guilty of foreclosing the market for audio and video players by attaching Media Player to its operating system. It ordered the company to offer a second version of Windows with Media Player stripped out and fined Microsoft €497 million (NZ$986 million) for abusing its dominant market position.

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