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.

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