Microsoft scrambles to ship Vista in Korea

It may have to stagger the release of different versions to respond to regulators' concerns.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read
Microsoft plans to release Windows Vista in Korea at the same time as it will in the rest of the world. But the software maker is still trying to finalize just which versions of the new operating system it can have ready at launch.

The software maker said Friday it will ship versions of Windows Vista Basic and Windows Vista Business that are specially tailored to meet the concerns of Korean regulators. These will be delivered at the same time Microsoft launches Vista in other markets--in November for large businesses, and more widely in January.

Things are a little trickier when it comes to the Ultimate, Home Premium and Enterprise Versions of the operating system.

The company is hoping to have "K"--for Korea--versions of those products ready for its worldwide release. These versions would include links to media player and instant-messaging software from competitors, as required by a 2005 antitrust ruling by Korea's Fair Trade Commission.

"For Premium, Enterprise and Ultimate, we are actively working with the Korean FTC, and we remain optimistic we will be able to release the 'K' version at or near the time of the worldwide launch for Windows Vista," said Linda Norman, an associate general counsel for Microsoft.

For these editions, Microsoft also plans to release "KN" versions, which have the Media Center features removed. These KN versions will be introduced at the same time that Microsoft issues the first service pack for Vista, the company said. That service pack update usually arrives six months to a year after a product is released.

Vista Premium and Vista Ultimate include Media Center features that depend heavily on Windows Media Player, which has made it more difficult to figure out just what features the KN versions should include.

Korean regulators have also objected to Microsoft's bundling of an instant-messaging program with Windows. Unlike Windows XP, Vista does not have instant-messaging software included, though it does contain a link to the company's Windows Live Messenger program.

Microsoft said it will send out both "K" and "KN" versions of Vista Home Basic and Vista Business in the general worldwide launch.