Microsoft says Vista 'on target'

Microsoft has said that its new Vista operating system will be rolled out as scheduled, after making concessions to EU regulators.

Changes to the package will include giving users easier choice of internet search tools and allowing other firms access to Vista security components.

Microsoft had originally aimed to launch Vista in August 2006.

It delayed the release, and the system is now due to reach business customers in November and consumers in January.

The news pushed Microsoft shares up by about 1.5% on Friday.

'In compliance'

Vista is the first major update since Windows XP was introduced five years ago.

We feel confident that we are in compliance with our EU competition law obligation
Brad Smith
Microsoft lawyer

In March, Microsoft said it was delaying its release - missing the crucial Christmas sales period - to tackle security and other issues.

Further delays were feared when EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes asked for changes to the European edition of the operating system to better open it up to rival software providers.

Microsoft resisted the challenge, but later agreed to make alterations to satisfy the Europe regulators as well as those monitoring the South Korean market.

"We have made changes to ensure that we're in compliance with our competition law obligations," said Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith.

"Having made these changes, the company and [Microsoft chief executive] Steve Ballmer, feel comfortable moving forward, feel confident that we are in compliance with our EU competition law obligation."

Microsoft has been criticised for flaws in previous systems that left users vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Earlier this week, president of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois, said that beefing-up security was one reason behind delays to Vista.

He said the computer giant had done "tons of work to make Vista a fantastic experience when it comes to security".

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