updated 03:55 pm EST, Wed January 28, 2009
Vista Marketing Antitrust
Lawyers for the US Justice Department today noted that Microsoft is drawing antitrust complaints from PC makers that accuse the software developer of unfairly favoring certain companies with its Windows Vista marketing program. The unnamed firms assert that Microsoft's plans to reward the makers of optimized Vista PCs with marketing funds gives those companies an edge over other firms, which may not necessarily want to submit their systems to the tests needed to earn the funding.
Which components of the program are triggering complaints isn't mentioned, though CNET explains that the Justice Department still has outstanding complaints of its own. Microsoft lawyer Charles Rule says it's already changing the program to avoid linking marketing spending directly to the tests but maintains that the compensation is only meant to encourage speed-ups for PCs.
Critics have charged that many PCs running the current Windows iteration are bogged down by software subsidizing the cost of the PC that either hinders boot times or else slows down the system while in use. Outdated hardware drivers and other elements have also contributed to sub-par performance that Microsoft believes is directly resulting in hostile reactions to Vista.
"It's an issue Microsoft was very concerned about, and Microsoft is going to address those issues very directly, and hopefully successfully, in Windows 7," Rule says.
The next-generation operating system is fundamentally similar to Vista underneath but has numerous optimizations that improve its performance on low-end hardware, especially netbooks and systems that have often been forced to run Windows XP or Linux to perform well with Intel Atom processors and low amounts of RAM.