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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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One Response to “Microsoft, EU sparring over Vista security”

  1. EU investigating Microsoft Office too -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Speaking of the European Union, it’s still not exactly clear which security features in Vista are arousing their ire which we mentioned on Tuesday. However, Microsoft has preemptively made the Vista firewall an OEM selectable feature and trotted out an IDC report that Vista will drive $40 billion in economic activity and create 100,000 new jobs for the EU economy. Yes, you read that right: Using a baseline for economic growth due to existing versions of Windows, the research firm determined that Windows-related employment would jump by 100,000 jobs next year. [...]

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