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EU: Adobe, Microsoft Need to Talk

UPDATED: European regulators are bowing out of refereeing a dispute between Adobe and Microsoft over the shape of the upcoming Vista operating system.

The EU's response follows Friday's news Microsoft will make changes in some aspects of Vista, apparently satisfying concerns voiced earlier by European and Korean regulators.

European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd refused to say whether the latest changes would be enough to satisfy Adobe's concerns. "Ask Adobe," he told internetnews.com.

"This is a matter for Microsoft," Todd told Reuters. "Microsoft and Adobe need to speak to each other."

Adobe was not immediately available for comment.

"In line with the commission's obligations under the EC Treaty and its practice, the commission will closely monitor the effects of Vista in the market and, in particular, examine any complaints concerning Vista on their own merits," said the EC in a statement provided to internetnews.com.

Adobe and security vendor Symantec had plead with the EU to press their objections with inclusion of competing applications within Vista.

But as internetnews.com reported Friday, Microsoft said it will alter how it offers the XML paper format (XPF), which Adobe feared could unfairly compete with its PDF products.

"There's been no concrete action taken," Chris Paden, Symantec spokesperson, told internetnews.com. Paden dismissed Microsoft's comments of reaching out to vendors as playing to the media.

Adobe said it is in daily communications with Microsoft over Vista issues.

"It is too early to know" whether the changes Microsoft plans to make in the OS will satisfy Adobe's concerns, an Adobe spokesperson told internetnews.com.

Last month, Symantec said only small "tweaks" were needed to make Vista work with third-party security software.

Microsoft last month said that any demands for it to unbundle security features could put Europeans at risk. Additionally, the software maker held out the possibility it might refuse to sell Vista in Europe.

However, recent movement in negotiations between Europe and Microsoft seem to have halted such high-profile brinksmanship.

After what the software giant termed "constructive dialogue," Microsoft said it will submit XPF to an international standards body for arbitration, as well as change the licensing terms for XPF.

In June, the two companies reached an impasse.

While Microsoft agreed to some terms, such as converting some features into separate products, the company balked at Adobe's demand the software maker charge for the PDF-like functions.