In a statement today, software maker Microsoft affirmed that its Windows Vista operating system will ship on schedule in the European Union and South Korea following “constructive dialog” with regulatory authorities.
“We are excited to bring the security enhancements and innovative new features of Windows Vista to our customers and partners around the world, and we are committed to adhering to local law in every region of the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a release.
The announcement comes after Microsoft hinted the EU release of Vista might be delayed owing to uncertainties regarding antitrust issues. As a result of discussions with authorities, Microsoft has agreed to several changes in Windows Vista in an effort to steer clear of difficulties with competition authorities in both locales. Although Microsoft has not detailed how EU and South Korean editions of Windows Vista will differ from other worldwide releases, but sources indicate the market-specific versions of Windows Vista will permit customers to disable or remove specific Microsoft components in favor of alternatives from third-party developers. The features users are most likely to be able to bypass? Internet search defaults, media playing software, instant messaging software; other candidates include PDF-generation features and Microsoft’s bundled security programs.
Microsoft’s announcement does not mean that Vista is now free of scrutiny from regulatory authorities in either country; both the EU and South Korea are expected to watch Windows Vista closely as it enters the marketplace and examine how the product and its bundled components intersect with local regulations and laws. Microsoft and the EU remain embroiled in an antitrust dispute regarding interoperability requirements with Microsoft’s operating systems, under which the company may face massive daily fines.
Windows Vista is scheduled to become available to consumers in North America in January, 2007.