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Vista slammed as 'anti-competitive'

As Microsoft gears up for the full launch of Windows Vista, a European open-systems advocate has slammed the operating system as “anti-competitive”.

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (Ecis) claims Vista follows the “very same practices [in Windows XP] the European Commission found to be illegal almost three years ago”.

Ecis claimed Vista will “stifle competition in the PC and server markets, and extend its closed standards into the open standards based internet environment”.

Simon Awde, ECIS chairman, said, "With Vista, Microsoft has clearly chosen to ignore the fundamental principles of the Commission‘s March 2004 decision.”

That decision found that Microsoft had abused its Windows PC operating system monopoly by withholding the interface information necessary for competing workgroup server systems to fully interoperate with Windows, and by bundling in its own media player.

"Vista is the first step in Microsoft’s strategy to extend its market dominance to the internet," Awde claimed.

For example, said Awde, “Microsoft's XAML mark-up language, positioned to replace HTML - the current industry standard for publishing language on the internet - is designed from the ground up to be dependent on Windows, and thus is not cross-platform by nature.”

In addition, he said, Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will also introduce the Open XML file format, by which “Microsoft seeks to displace ODF (Open Document Format), the existing ISO approved, truly open document file format“.

Unlike the ISO ODF file format, which operates on multiple vendor platforms, Microsoft's Open XML file format today only runs seamlessly on the Microsoft Office platform.

Ecis has already complained to the European Commission about Microsoft’s new OS, and is lobbying for a decision on the compliant as quickly as possible.

While Ecis seeks to promote open standards in the European ICT sector, some of its leading members are among Microsoft‘s fiercest rivals, including Adobe, Corel, IBM, Nokia, Oracle, RealNetworks, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems.

Microsoft has not responded to Ecis’s criticism.

www.computerweekly.com/Vista

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