Windows Vista Falls Under Antitrust Scrutiny

This news shouldn't be surprising: Computer makers have complained to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the European Union (EU) that Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista OS might violate antitrust laws. The complaints are centered on Vista's first boot experience, which is typically referred to as the out-of-box experience (OOBE). PC makers say Vista's OOBE, named Welcome Center, won't give them the customization options they require.

On Friday, EU antitrust regulators confirmed that the European Commission (EC) was "monitoring" these complaints. But the EC says it hasn't yet issued a formal complaint. "Approaches are being made about Vista by US and non-US companies," Philip Lowe, the top civil servant in the EC competition department, said Friday. "Several companies have expressed their concerns to the commission concerning Microsoft's Vista operating system."

In the United States, regulators at the DOJ last week said that it has received complaints about Vista, although the DOJ, like the EU, refused to report which companies had complained. Microsoft says it's confident that Vista doesn't violate US or EU antitrust laws, or violate the company's US antitrust settlement. More to the point, the company reports that it shared the design of Vista's Welcome Center with the top 20 PC makers and few expressed any concerns.

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