RealTime IT News

Un-neighborly Treatment?

Microsoft lawyers have seen the inside of plenty of courtrooms around the world in recent years, but now one small technology firm might give the software giant a legal punch in the nose right in its own backyard -- in Redmond.

The potential backyard brawl between David and Goliath, in this case both of Redmond, Wash., was sparked Friday after Microsoft announced it would call the next version of its operating system "Windows Vista."

John Wall, founder and chief executive of Vista, a software and services company for small to medium-sized businesses, said his firm was considering taking legal action against Microsoft for using its name.

"We think there is potential for confusion," Wall, who started and registered his firms name in 2000, said. "We are going to consider our options and talk to Microsoft."

Wall said he had not been in contact with Microsoft representatives, nor had he filed suit, but was planning to "monitor the situation."

Microsoft brushed aside claims that calling its ubiquitous Windows operating system "Windows Vista" would create any confusion and pointed to the fact that the name is often used in business.

"The name Vista is commonly used by a variety of companies in a variety of industries," Microsoft Spokeswoman Stacy McCredy said. "We are only using the word Vista paired with our trademark Windows. The two together -- 'Windows Vista' -- form the name of the next version of the Windows operating system."

McCredy said Microsoft conducted a thorough search to ensure the Windows Vista mark would not infringe on the marks of others.

The company plans to launch Windows Vista, formerly called Longhorn, worldwide in the second half of 2006.