The European Commission’s protracted anti-trust battle against Microsoft may be receiving a lot of media attention, but Microsoft is also under the watchful eye of regulatory bodies in the United States. According to InformationWeek, a court-mandated Technical Committee is currently reviewing an early build of Windows 7 to see whether the upcoming operating system violates Microsoft’s 2002 settlement with the U.S. government.
Much like the European Commission’s 2004 ruling, the 2002 U.S. settlement centered on interoperability and mandated that Microsoft share its application programming interfaces and protocols with competitors. InformationWeek says U.S. regulators are also likely to be checking whether Windows 7 exhibits a preference for Microsoft software over third-party applications. The Technical Committee itself said in a report that it will “conduct middleware-related tests on future builds of Windows 7.”
The same report suggests some of the changes Microsoft made in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, which is scheduled for a public release later this month, will bring the operating system in line with the ruling. The changes will affect desktop search, opening it to third-party search tools from Google and others. SP1 will also ensure that Vista apps like Windows Mail and the operating system’s help tool properly open links through a user’s default browser.