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Thursday, September 21, 2006
Two U.S. software firms lobby EU on Microsoft: WSJ

Two U.S. software firms are asking the European Commission to take action against Microsoft's new Vista operating system, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Adobe Systems has told EU regulators that Microsoft should be banned from incorporating free competing software for reading and creating electronic documents with Vista, the paper said, quoting people familiar with the situation.

Anti-virus software maker Symantec will send officials to Brussels next week to brief journalists about features of Vista that it has told EU regulators will undercut rival makers of computer security software, the paper said.

Symantec confirmed on Thursday that two executives would travel to Brussels next week to discuss Vista and security: Vice President for Consumer Engineering Rowan Trollope and a senior engineer in the technology strategy office, Bruce McCorkendale.

The duo would talk to journalists. It was not clear if they would also meet European Union officials, European representatives of the U.S. firm said.

Adobe was not immediately available to comment on the report on Thursday. The Commission, Europe's top antitrust authority, has expressed concerns about Vista, saying there was a risk Microsoft could foreclose competition in computer security by tying new security features into the system.

Microsoft, which hopes the Commission will not require removal of security features in Europe, has said the product is on course for a public launch in January.

The stand-off between the software giant and the Commission is the latest in a lengthy spat between the two.

In 2004, the Commission found Microsoft had abused its market dominance in audiovisual software players and office servers, hurting smaller competitors with competing products. It forced the U.S. firm to strip out Windows Media Player from its ubiquitous operating system.

The Commission levied a record 497 million euro ($630 million) fine which Microsoft has challenged.

In July, EU regulators fined the company a further 280.5 million euros for defying the ruling, which required it to share information on its servers with rivals.

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