Microsoft has released a fully featured preview of its flagship Windows Vista operating system to corporate IT departments and developers.
The Community Technology Preview release includes tools designed to make the operating system easier to deploy in a business environment and to cut deployment cost-per-desktop.
Vista will be released alongside an enhanced version of Business Desktop Deployment.
The Vista preview also includes an enhanced Management Console 3.0, improvements to the Group Policy setting and new centralised control over removable storage devices.
Other new features include Windows Sidebar, which gives desktop users easy access to Gadgets - customisable mini-applications that provide information at a glance and quick access to frequent tasks. An RSS feed is also included.
Ovum analyst Gary Barnett said that while Microsoft was working hard to introduce new features, take-up of these features among corporate users has been very low.
"Users are very reluctant to get even more tied into a Microsoft [infrastructure]," he said.
A group of suppliers - including IBM, Oracle, Sun and Nokia - have lodged a new antitrust complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission.
The complaint, which was filed via the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (Ecis), refers to "a range of Microsoft business practices that threaten to deny enterprises and individual consumers real choice among competing software products."
Microsoft responded by promising to act "quickly and comprehensively" if asked to respond to the complaint by the Commission.
However, it said Ecis was a "front for IBM and a few other competitors which constantly seek to use the regulatory process to their business advantage".