Microsoft Opened Up Virtualization For Vista Under Court Pressure

Earlier this year, Microsoft surprisingly flip-flopped its earlier decision not to allow users to run Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium as guest operating systems on a virtual machine. According to Computerworld, court documents now prove MS did this because of a complaint filed with antitrust regulators.

According to a status report filed with U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Microsoft changed the end-user licensing agreements (EULA) of Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium under pressure from Phoenix Technologies Ltd. Phoenix, best known for the BIOS, or firmware, that it sells to PC makers, had filed a complaint with regulators sometime after early November 2007, arguing that Microsoft should open the less-expensive versions of Vista to virtualization.


Although the report didn’t name the Phoenix virtualization product, it was referring to HyperSpace, technology that the company unveiled in November 2007. HyperSpace embeds a Linux-based hypervisor in the computer’s BIOS that allows the computer to run open-source software without booting Windows. A little more than two months after Phoenix filed its complaint, Microsoft gave in. “After discussion with the Plaintiff States and the three-person technical committee that assists in monitoring Microsoft’s compliance, Microsoft agreed to remove the EULA restrictions, and has done so,” the status report said.

Unfortunately, Phoenix Technologies and Microsoft declined to comment about the complaint and the changes to virtualization in Vista.

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