Amid speculation that Vista doesn't comply with European Union regulations and, more specifically, a complaint from the European Committee of Interoperable Systems (ECIS), Microsoft has stated that parts of the new operating system were designed in conjunction with the European Commission. 


Following discussions early last year, the EC submitted a list of 79 questions in July. These were duly answered by Microsoft in August.
The EC then advised Microsoft in September to make additional changes in three specific areas – security, search and fixed document formats.
In a statement yesterday, the company reiterated that it has complied with these changes.
On the security front, it was thought that Windows Security Center (WSC), which gives the user an overview of what security software is running on the system and the status of checks and upgrades of firewalls and antispyware protection, gave Microsoft an unfair advantage over rival security companies.
Microsoft has agreed to develop a new set of APIs in its first service pack which can be invoked by third-party security programs to turn off the alerts presented by WSC.
It is also developing new kernel-level APIs for its 64-bit versions that will allow other security vendors programming access to the kernel. Again, these will be available for Vista 64 in the first service pack.
On the search function, Microsoft has changed the way default settings are made for Internet search within both Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.
"These changes now ensure for users that they are able – through a series of windows and options – to make a clear, conscious and open decision on their default search provider," the statement says. "Furthermore, users will retain at all times the ability to change this and all further defaults in the operating system at will."
Microsoft has also addressed concerns over its XPS fixed document format, it says.
"In response to the Commission's concerns, the company has made fundamental changes to the licensing structure of the XPS fixed-format technology and has committed to submit the technology to an international standards body for adoption as an open industry standard," Microsoft says.
The XPS standard will be made available under licensing terms that do not exclude any industry or licensing model including the GPL (General Public License), it adds.
"In response to Commissioner Kroes' letter of March 2006, Microsoft created a single API so that independent software developers can create applications to allow users to save documents in XPS or other formats, such as Adobe's PDF."  
Microsoft has also responded to a further Commission demand to submit XPS (as well as future extensions) to a standards setting body.
In further complying with the EU's antitrust findings against it in 2004 – a ruling that Microsoft is currently appealing – European versions of Vista will also be available without Microsoft's Media Player.