Gates drops in on Brussels

Was in town anyway and thought I'd give you a call

Bill Gates was in Brussels today on something of a peace mission, stressing his company's desire to co-operate with the European Commission.

After a lunch meeting with several members of the European parliament, the Microsoft chairman told reporters: "Anything they want us to do better, I will listen very carefully and make sure we are very responsive," Reuters reports.

The commission is currently struggling to ensure that consumers are not put off buying the cut-down version of Windows it ordered Microsoft to sell, as part of its anti-trust ruling. The commission was initially unhappy with the name Microsoft proposed: "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition". Microsoft said that it believed the name complied with the order, but "in the spirit of compromise, we have agreed to make the change"

The Commission reportedly also has concerns about warning messages that appear during the product's installation. According to IDG News Service, dialogue boxes appear, telling the user that some web sites and certain types of content will not be accessible with the operating system.

However, all the Commission's efforts may be in vain, as PC manufacturers say they will not offer the software anyway, because it will make their manufacturing processes more complicated.

In any case, Gates will not be meeting with competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, while he is in Belgium. At a press conference he dodged questions about whether this was a disappointment to him. He said that he'd already met several European commissioners, including commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

BGates flew in to Belgium today after opening the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Prague, earlier in the day, and is set to visit "a number of European countries" this week, according to a company spokesman. ®

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