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February 13, 2006

New Antitrust Case For Microsoft?

State and federal prosecutors have been in talks with several companies over Microsoft’s next operating system Vista. The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general are gathering information on the complaints but they have not yet decided if they have enough material to bring into action an antitrust case against Microsoft. This is all according to a report filed Wednesday with the judge overseeing Microsoft's U.S. antitrust compliance.

One of the complaints rests with Vista's "Welcome Center" feature, which greets users after they start a new PC. The feature also advertises other products. Since the feature will be shown to hundreds of millions of computer users, companies will intensely negotiate with Microsoft in order to get their product shown.

According to the status report, Vista's Welcome Center also will present users "with various setup options." These complaints, although somewhat quiet, might have an effect on the release of the anticipated and many time postponed OS.

The company discussed Welcome Center's design with the top 20 PC makers "and nearly all of them are satisfied" with the design approach, spokesman Jack Evans said. "We've worked closely with our partners throughout the development process to ensure Vista provide unprecedented flexibility and opportunity to them," Evans said.