European Commission fines levied against Microsoft won't affect the launch of Windows Vista, the head of the software maker's Japanese unit said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the European Commission fined Microsoft €280.5 million (US$357 million) for failing to comply with the terms of a March 2004 antitrust judgment against it.

"What the EU wanted was not that specific until April. We agreed to a set of milestones and we're hitting those milestones but the last milestone is a week or so away," said Darren Huston, president and chief executive officer of Microsoft's Japanese unit.

The fine will not impact the launch schedule for Windows Vista, Huston said. The company's new operating system is scheduled to be available through volume licensing in November and through retail to consumers in early 2007.

The operating system 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.