Paula Rooney and Barbara Darrow interviewed Jim Allchin last week for Computer Reseller News and he had this revelation:
CRN: Is there going to be antivirus in Vista?
Allchin: No, there is not.
Allchin: It’s a complicated answer as to why not.
CRN: Was the decision based on technical concerns?
Allchin: It wasn’t technical.
OneCare, Microsoft’s antivirus (and more) product for Windows XP is in beta and prominently states that it will not be compatible with Vista when it is released, which has lead to a variety of speculation. Even its current availability as a well regarded and free beta has significance for antivirus software vendors, let alone the possibility that it might be bundled with the operating system. The likely reason for not including it in Vista is almost certainly the fear of upsetting longtime time security software partners and/or arousing the ire of antitrust authorities.
John Leyden at The Register, who spotted the relevant part of the Allchin interview, points out that the European Commission had contacted Symantec last October on this issue, although Symantec says that they did not complain to the commission, but that the commission contacted them. However, according to Symantec’s spokesman:
“We have always said, and continue to say, that we’ll continue to compete with Microsoft in the market as long as there’s a level playing field.”
Bundling an antivirus product in the operating system doesn’t seem like it would qualify.
Update: Speaking of Symantec:
Symantec expects to begin offering a new consumer security service similar to Microsoft’s Windows OneCare Live by September of this year, a company executive said Monday. Code-named “Genesis,” the service will integrate components of Symantec’s security, PC tuning, and backup software into a single service that is accessible over the Internet.