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September 12, 2006

Microsoft, EU sparring over Vista security

Posted by David Hunter at 10:48 AM ET.

From the AP:

European Union officials warned Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday not to shut out rivals in the security software market as the company plans to upgrade its new Vista operating system with its own security features.

Todd said the Commission understands Microsoft’s wish to make Vista more secure. But he added that the EU head office believes “computer security depends on diversity and innovation in the field of security software, (and) such diversity and innovation could be at risk if Microsoft was allowed to foreclose the existing competition in the security software markets.”

He said that bundling its own security product as part of Vista, “its own dominant operating system … would ultimately harm consumers through reduced choice and higher security risks.”

Microsoft returned fire:

Microsoft, meanwhile, warned EU regulators to avoid attempting to block the in-house security upgrades it is making to Vista.

“We are concerned that (regulators) might require the removal of some of the security features we’ve demonstrated,” Erich Andersen, Microsoft’s associate general counsel told reporters.

Both parties seem to be a little cagey about describing exactly which security features are causing the problem, but:

Andersen told reporters the company was adding a pre-installed firewall in Vista.

We’ve mentioned previously this Microsoft TechNet article that describes how the firewall included in both Vista and Windows Server Longhorn is improved over the one in Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1, but frankly it is just catching up with the current state of the art in third party firewalls (even though Microsoft thinks even that may be too much for its users). But the Vista firewall is bundled and free which is always a red flag to any regulator. Wait until they notice some of the other bundled and free Vista features (e.g. [1], [2]) .

Filed under Antitrust, Firewall, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft, OS - Client, Security, Windows Vista

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January 16, 2006

Vista slippage and more buzz

Posted by David Hunter at 9:37 PM ET.

Catching up with a number of recent of Windows Vista items, the top of the list is provided by Paul Thurrott – Microsoft Missed Vista ‘Code Complete’ Milestone, Plans for February CTP:

Back in early December 2005, Microsoft publicly announced that it planned to ship a code-complete version of Windows Vista internally by the end of 2005, setting the stage for a future code-complete Community Technical Preview (CTP) build that the company would issue to testers. However, sources at the software giant now tell me that the company didn’t make this milestone, and Microsoft now plans to ship a code-complete Windows Vista version internally by January 31, 2006 instead.

Microsoft, however, says it’s actually on schedule. Thurrott also reports that the next Community Technical Preview (CTP) is likely due February 17 and it won’t be code complete either, but should be feature complete.

Speaking of CTPs, over the weekend came the news that Microsoft Ships First Vista Security Patches for the December CTP. They fixed the WMF vulnerability that drew so much comment earlier in the month and which apparently affected Vista as well.

The new features of the Vista firewall are explained in the January Microsoft Technet column by “The Cable Guy.” Leading the list is that outgoing traffic can be checked. has a pictorial preview of the Windows Vista Sideshow. The sideshow is a secondary LCD display built into the cover of Windows Vista notebooks and tablets with a variety of PDA-like functionality. It got some play in Bill Gates’ CES keynote and interestingly is from the SPOT/MSN Direct team.

The user interface (UI) in the Vista December CTP is reportedly the final design and there are some complaints that it is not too much different from Windows XP. Decide for yourself in the pictorial side-by-side comparison at BentUser.

Windows PE 2.0 beta is coming this month. PE is short for Pre-installation Environment and it’s a special purpose OS for large scale deployments of Windows Vista. Details here.

Filed under Aero, Beta and CTP, Firewall, MSN, MSN Direct, OS - Client, SPOT, Security, Technologies, Windows Vista

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