RealTime IT News

Microsoft's 'Windows 7' Gets Antitrust Checkup

You may not be able to get an early look at the next major release of Windows – but the law can.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently submitted an early build of what has been referred to as Windows 7 to the Technical Committee (TC) – the group of technology experts appointed by the Department of Justice and the other plaintiffs in Microsoft's U.S. antitrust settlement that oversee technical aspects of the case, according to court documents.

Discussion of Windows 7 showed up as part of the quarterly joint status report that Microsoft and the plaintiffs are required to file with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly so that she can monitor Microsoft's compliance with its 2002 consent decree.

In late January, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered an extension to the court's oversight for an additional two years, partly because Microsoft had taken too long to provide requisite documentation for competitors. Without the extension, most oversight of Microsoft would have expired in November 2007. With her January ruling, however, the Judge extended the majority of Microsoft's oversight to November 12, 2009.

According to the joint status report, the TC has been working with Microsoft to fix "issues" it found in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) as well as in Windows XP (SP3).

Then, there's Windows 7.

"The TC and Microsoft continue to discuss another middleware issue, which the TC has sought to have Microsoft include in Windows 7," the document states, although it gave no hint as to what that issue concerns.

Examination of Windows 7, which Microsoft has said is scheduled to debut likely sometime in 2010, doesn't stop there, however.

"In addition, the TC has begun to review Windows 7 itself. Microsoft recently supplied the TC with a build of Windows 7, and is discussing TC testing going forward. The TC will conduct middleware-related tests on future builds of Windows 7," the filing continues.

Among the changes expected in Windows 7 is a significantly smaller kernel, sometimes referred to as MinWin, for the operating system. The hope is that by moving many functions outside of the system's core or kernel, performance will be greatly improved.