European Commission fines levied against Microsoft won\u2019t affect the launch of Windows Vista, the head of the software maker\u2019s Japanese unit said Thursday.On Wednesday, the European Commission fined Microsoft 280.5 million euros\u00a0(US$357 million) for failing to comply with the terms of a March 2004 antitrust judgment against it. As part of the judgment, the company was ordered to provide competitors with technical details of communication protocols used by its server products. The fine was imposed to punish Microsoft for failing to do so in a timely manner."What the E.U. wanted was not that specific until April. We agreed to a set of milestones and we\u2019re hitting those milestones, but the last milestone is a week or so away," said Darren Huston, president and chief executive officer of Microsoft\u2019s Japanese unit, Microsoft Co. Ltd.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nDarren HustonThe fine will not impact the launch schedule for Windows Vista, Huston said at a news conference Thursday. The company\u2019s new operating system is scheduled to be available through volume licensing in November and through retail to consumers in early 2007.The OS is already in beta testing. At this stage, the biggest threat to the schedule would come from a beta tester finding a serious problem in the software that would require significant amounts of work, Huston said. However, as the release date approaches, the probability of finding such a flaw decreases because it would likely have been caught already, he said.-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)Related Links:\n\nMicrosoft Hit With $357M E.U. Fine\n\nGates: 80% Chance Vista Will Launch in Jan.This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page.\u00a0For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.