Microsoft adjusts EU, Korean versions of Vista

Redmond (WA) - Following recent complaints by companies such as Symantec and McAfee, Microsoft today announced that it will revise the feature set of Windows Vista, which is on track for a global launch in January 2007. The European and Korean editions will see changes in the areas of security, search and the new file format XPS, the company said.

You may not be seeing the actual Windows Vista package in stores this holiday season, but the logo will be omnipresent. Microsoft has put its marketing machine into a higher gear, promoting Vista "ready" products and reassuring customers that there will be no further delay of the operating system, which originally was scheduled to be introduced as early as September 2006.

The company today mentioned once again that it is on track to deliver Windows Vista for worldwide availability to its volume license business customers in November and worldwide general availability in January.

However, presumably in a move to avoid antitrust troubles, Microsoft also mentioned that it will make changes to certain regional versions of the operating system: "We recognize that the European Commission does not give 'green lights' for new products, and we have not asked for one," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said. "We appreciate the constructive dialogue we have had with the commission and the guidance the commission has provided. Based on this guidance, we have made changes to ensure that we're in compliance with our competition law obligations, and we are moving forward to make Windows Vista available on a worldwide basis." Chief executive Steve Ballmer added that "[Microsoft is] 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."

Microsoft apparently follows the EU Commissioner's "recommendations" in detail and said that it has " made changes [in search] to provide computer users who are upgrading Windows XP to Internet Explorer 7 with additional opportunities to set the default Web search provider of their choice." In security, Microsoft "creates a new set of APIs that will enable third-party security products to access the Windows kernel "in a secure manner." Another set of APIs will ensure that Windows Security Center "will not send an alert to a computer user when an alternative competing security console is installed on the PC and is sending the same alert instead." The firm's new XML Paper Specification (XPS), a competitor to Adobe's PDF will be submitted to a standardization body and made more accessible to by loosening its the licensing terms.

A spokesperson declined to provide more details, if there will be any changes to the U.S. or other regional versions of Vista. However, he confirmed that the aforementioned changes in security, search and file formats only apply to the European and Korean versions.

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