On the day that Microsoft Vista was finally ready to ship, company chairman Bill Gates took a swipe at his rivals, accusing them of attempting to "castrate" Vista before it was shipped.
Gates' comments came as he spoke to journalists in Germany, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Microsoft had discussed Vista with regulators from the European Union "every step of the way", Gates said. He claimed that Vista had emerged in good shape and fundamentally unchanged, despite regulatory attempts to "castrate" Vista by removing or weakening key new features, such as "faster performance and improved security".
Microsoft and the EC have fought a tough battle over Vista, following the landmark antitrust case over Windows XP. Until recently there were doubts that Microsoft would be able to launch the same version of Vista in the EC that would be available in the rest of the world.
A compromise was reached in October giving the go-ahead for Microsoft to stick to its launch date of 30 November for corporate users, and 30 January for consumers.
Last month, a Microsoft executive revealed that the EC had four key areas of concern around Vista. This included the product's Security Center.
"The EC wanted vendors to have the ability to disable alerts in Security Center. They are satisfied that we've provided those APIs (application programmable interfaces) to all of our security partners. We're completely open to that," explained Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of the security technology unit at Microsoft Corporation.