Microsoft yesterday found itself in the line of fire once again, this time from two United Sates war veterans groups angered over the company dubbing its next version of Windows "Vista."
The VistA Software Alliance and WorldVista, both non-profit groups that assist health care organizations with the U.S. Veterans Administration's VistA software programs, denounced Microsoft's recent move to use the name "Vista" for the new version of the Windows operating system.
"The confusion created by Microsoft and its choice of the word 'Vista' is an affront to the people who take care of our nation's veterans," Barbara Boykin, chairman of the VistA Software Alliance, said in a statement.
"The VistA software enables these caring professionals to provide our veterans with some of the best health care in the nation. Microsoft is demeaning their passion and dedication to our veterans by expropriating the name Vista."
VistA is an electronic medical record system, which allows patient information to be stored electronically and used throughout a health care facility, according to the groups. Electronic medical records are seen as a key component in the U.S. effort to reduce the number of medical errors and increase the quality of health care.
Boykin and Maury Pepper, chairman of WorldVistA, questioned whether the renaming is a deliberate Microsoft business tactic aimed at disrupting Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) pending announcement.
"Microsoft is aware of the VA's use of 'VistA' and yet insists on detracting from the nationwide effort to provide the VistA electronic health record to physicians throughout the country by creating confusion in the IT industry," Pepper said. "Our health care system has long been in need of a truly affordable electronic medical record, and just as one becomes available, Microsoft has created a huge distraction."
CMS is set to release VistA-Office EHR within a few days. This latest is a version of VistA specifically tailored for medical practices, according to the two non-profits.
Microsoft issued the same statement the software giant released last weekend when another Redmond firm, Vista Software, started a backyard brawl over the name issue.
"The name Vista is commonly used by a number of companies in a variety of industries," the statement read.
"The name of Microsoft's latest OS is the combination of two words -- Windows and Vista. We are only using the word Vista paired with our trademark Windows. The two together -- 'Windows Vista' -- make it clear that this is a Microsoft product and therefore will prevent any potential confusion."
Pepper said Microsoft's choice of "Vista" will cause confusion in the emerging VistA marketplace and fear of litigation among vendors who provide VistA and VistA Office HER-related services, given Microsoft's typically aggressive enforcement of its trademarks.
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