Campaign group tries to block Vista release

Microsoft customers should not have to be guinea pigs for defective software, according to a consumer rights group

A consumer rights group has launched a campaign to prevent Microsoft from releasing Windows Vista unless the software giant guarantees that its next-generation operating system will be bug-free.

The Committee to Fight Microsoft (CTFM) said on Tuesday that it wants Microsoft to offer a warranty to customers that Vista does not include "bad code".

"Bill Gates sells the public defective products, and then expects us to spend years being his guinea pigs, while he corrects the myriad of defects and vulnerabilities in his defective code," said CTFM executive director Andy Martin in a statement.

"Over four years after Windows XP was released I still receive regular 'updates' and 'bug fixes,' which reflect a product that was originally scandalously defective," he said. "No other company in America gets away with selling defective products and then expecting its customers to wait years for proper product operability."

Martin, who describes himself as "the people's attorney general" on his Web site, founded CTFM 10 years ago during the US antitrust case against Microsoft.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that security is one of its top priorities and it has made "measurable improvements" in the security of its software over the last few years.

"While there is no such thing as a state of absolute security, Microsoft believes Windows Vista will be the most secure version of Windows the company has ever shipped," the spokesperson said.