Insightful analysis and commentary for the US and global equity investor
Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

Previous Posts

Thursday, September 21, 2006

An Anti-Trust Move Against Vista Could Put MSFT Off Track

Stocks: (MSFT)(SYMC)(ADBE)

To no one's surprise, two companies that Microsoft has hurt in the past are asking the European Union to look at the new Vista operating system. The theory may be the the EU has been more strict than any other jurisdiction about shutting down the software giant and has forced it to "unbundle" its Windows Media products from the OS.

The new Vista product has features that could gore the ox of Adobe's PDF page reader and Symantec's anti-virus software, Norton. So, fearing that they could lose in the marketplace, they are moving the debate into the hands of regulators. In this case, regulators who have been more anti-Microsoft than most others.

The EU has said it will take no action until Vista is in the market. Show us your cards, and, then, we will play ours.

One side of the argument is that Vista will create a large number of jobs in Europe. Most jobs would come from the larger number of people needed to train companies on the new OS and help install it.

Any delay in a full roll-out of Vista could harm Microsoft greatly, at a time when it seems to be recovering from years with a flat stock price. A move by the EU against Vista might also encourage similar actions in the US and Europe.

With $13 billion in Windows revenue at stake, the threats of a regulatory delay that could hurt MSFT are real.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

Powered by Blogger