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Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, Mar 29 (Reuters) The European Commission said on Wednesday it told Microsoft that it had competition worries about the firm's new operating system Vista, another antitrust concern that the software giant must answer in Europe.

Microsoft is already embroiled in a long-running battle with Europe's top anti-trust body after the Commission decided in 2004 that the company had abused the dominance of its Windows system and fined it half a billion euros.

''We are concerned about the possibility that the next Vista operating system will include various elements which are currently available separately from Microsoft or other companies,'' Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said.

He said although there was no formal investigation into this issue, the Commission expected Microsoft to react. The EU executive will open seperate proccedings against the company should it find that the operating system broke competition laws.

''We assume Microsoft has its own interest at heart and it wants to launch another product without having to worry about the Commisison instituting various actions under antitrust law becase of this product,'' Todd told a news briefing.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

The software company faces a 2 million euro ($2.4 million) daily fine for what the Commission says are delays in implementing the remedies set under the 2004 decision.

On Thursday and Friday, it has a last chance to stop the Commission from fining it and in April it launches its appeal against the original decision.

($1=.8331 euro) REUTERS SD HT1700

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