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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vista Under Scrutiny From EU Rivals

BRUSSELS -- A group of Microsoft's rivals renewed their call on EU regulators to act against what they say are "illegal practices," alleging Friday that the new Vista operating system is the company's attempt to extend its monopoly to the Internet.

They asked the European Commission to take a decision "as fast as possible" on a complaint they filed last February that accused Microsoft of working to keep its existing monopolies and trying to extend its market dominance into other areas, including web-based computing.

Microsoft had no immediate comment beyond saying the group, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, was not saying anything new. It has in the past described the group as a front for IBM and other rivals who constantly tried to use regulatory complaints to their business advantage.

The ECIS said Microsoft's XAML markup language -- which it said was positioned to replace the current web page language HTML -- was designed "from the ground up to be dependent on Windows."

"The very same practices the European Commission found to be illegal almost three years ago have now been implemented in Vista," the ECIS said.

An ECIS spokesman, lawyer Thomas Vinje, said Microsoft was seeking to impose its own Windows-dependent standards and displace existing ones. "The end result will be the continued absence of any real consumer choice, years of waiting for Microsoft to improve -- or even debug -- its monopoly products, and of course high prices," he said.

ECIS represents IBM, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, RealNetworks and Oracle as well as smaller software companies such as Norway's Opera, which makes a web browser, and two Linux operating system businesses -- Red Hat and Linspire, which was forced to change its name from Lindows after Microsoft sued.

The complaint the group filed in February 2006 alleges monopoly abuse in sectors not covered by the EU's 2004 anti-monopoly ruling that decision found Microsoft had abused its position by bundling media software into its Windows desktop software and squeezing rival media players out of the market.