The Month: Release of Windows Vista may be delayed again

The release of Windows Vista may be delayed again, this time by the European Union. Anti-trust officials have warned that some of the software's security functions may be in breach of European regulations.

Jonathan Todd, EU competition spokesman, told journalists that it was upto Microsoft to ensure that it complied with EU anti-trust rules, andthat open competition is the best way to improve software security.

"Such diversity and innovation could be at risk if Microsoft was allowedto foreclose the existing competition in computer security markets bundling its own security products into its dominant operatingsystem," he said.

But analysts are concerned by the moves, pointing to a lack of clarityand transparency in the process. Gary Barnett, research director atOvum, said: "Microsoft should be scrutinised, but there needs to be abalance. We are calling for clarity: what is Microsoft being asked to doby the EU in the name of European software consumers, and is the companycomplying? One problem is the fact that the EU has no obligation toreport its actions publicly."

Microsoft previously clashed with the EU in 2004 when a landmark rulingfound that the software giant had abused its market dominance inaudio-visual players. It was forced to remove its bundled Windows MediaPlayer from the XP operating system.

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