Amidst ongoing fears by the EU that Microsoft is going to bundle anti-competitive software into Vista such as a search engine and PDF generator, it seems as if Microsoft’s next OS will ship in Europe at the same time as everywhere else.
The commissioner of the EU’s top antitrust authority, Neelie Kroes, was in discussion with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last night, and said that she understood Microsoft would ship Vista ‘globally’ next year.
It’s up to Microsoft to ensure that its software complies with EU laws, and Kroes said: "He [Ballmer] was aware that he shouldn’t ask me if I could give a green light to it and rightly so,"
I suppose when you have 90%+ of the computer OS market, you’ll be scrutinised much more closely. After all, Apple’s Mac OS X has its own features built in (Google search bar in Safari as default, a PDF generator) but nothing ever seems to have been said about that – but then single-digit percentage shares of the world’s computers is less of a problem, I guess.
Presumably security software firms such as McAfee and Symantec will also continue to keep an eye on what goes into Vista, and with what restrictions.
It’s OK for advanced PC users – they’ll just install what they want regardless of what software Microsoft puts in place as default. It’s more novice users that may end up getting stuck with the MS bundle because they don’t know what alternatives exist, or how to get them.
The anti-trust fun continues.