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Gartner: EU Complaints Might Lead to Vista Delay

Facing a potential launch delay in Europe due to complaints by Symantec and Adobe, Microsoft might just want to delay its American launch of Vista, too.

So says a report from Gartner . On September 8, Microsoft said that it might delay release of Windows Vista in European Union (EU) countries due to concerns over antitrust compliance.

The EU has already fined Microsoft  over one billion dollars and the software giant might want to take extra time to make changes to Vista to avoid any further penalties.

If that means a few months' delay in Europe, then it might be better for Microsoft to have a single release product rather than one with one set of features for Europe and one set for America, reasons Michael Silver, senior analyst at Gartner who co-authored the report.

"Microsoft would rather have clear legal guidance of what they can put in before it goes out over being fined on the back end, or worse, having to recall and reengineer something," he told internetnews.com.

Another missed deadline would be disastrous pr for Microsoft, but Silver said the firm will be criticized no matter what decisions it makes. "To some extent, it's lose-lose," he said. But for PC sales, it wouldn't be a bad thing to slip it."

The reason he said is that January is a bad month all around for both consumer and corporate PC purchases. The Christmas rush is past and with the beginning of the year, the last thing people are thinking about is testing a new operating system. Waiting until April wouldn't necessarily be bad.

Silver said Microsoft is trying to convince Gartner it won't delay the launch. "They're saying full speed ahead," he said.

Microsoft spokesperson Jim Desler emailed the following comment to internetnews.com:

"Gartner has been on record for some time now on the timing on the final delivery of Windows Vista and we respectfully disagree with Gartner's views. It is premature to talk about a delay in Europe. We are working hard to try to get clarity from the Commission, but our aim is to launch on schedule everywhere. We continue to target Windows Vista availability for volume licensing customers in November 2006 and general availability in January 2007. The exact delivery date will ultimately be determined by quality."

As far as Symantec's complaints, Silver said he thinks if it was something that could be settled with a payment, Microsoft would have done it by now to get Symantec out of its hair.

Adobe's lawsuit, though, is "strange." PDF, he points out, is an ISO standard and supported in Apple's Mac OS X, StarOffice, OpenOffice and WordPerfect, yet Adobe won't let Microsoft add its own support.

"They're certainly afraid of Microsoft adopting this and making it more proprietary, the old embrace and extend routine," said Silver. "But you can't have it both ways, you can't say you want everyone to adopt it as a standard and then say this one company shouldn't have it."