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The EU calls for Microsoft to remove security features from Vista

It looks as though Microsoft and European regulators are butting heads once again. The European Union is asking Microsoft to remove new security features, including its improved built-in firewall, that have been added to Vista. Microsoft is urging the European to back off and has threatened to delay Vista’s European launch as a result of the latest calls for feature reductions. The new features, which make Vista a more stable and secure platform that its Windows XP predecessor, are seen as a stifling competition. "Less diversity and innovation would ultimately harm consumers through reduced choice and higher security risks," said Jonathon Todd, an EU competition spokesman.

Microsoft's Associate General Counsel, Erich Andersen, is trying to help the software giant walk the line balancing security with abiding by the law. "We are concerned that [regulators] might require the removal of some of the security features we've demonstrated. We want to launch Windows Vista in a fully lawful manner and we want to avoid regulatory decisions that could increase security risks for European consumers. One of principal concerns is that European concerns have access to the same new security features in Windows Vista as everyone else."

Making Windows more secure was a pivotal design point for Windows Vista. The Windows XP operating system has been the target of numerous attacks in the past five years and Microsoft saw fit to make its consumer operating system less of a target. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the European Union wants the company to leave those duties to 3rd party software developers.

Microsoft was fined $634 million USD in 2004 by the European Union for monopolistic practices and was fined another $357 million USD this past July for not complying with antitrust rulings.



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RE: Too late?
By zombiexl on 9/12/2006 1:46:53 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I would guess both parties are to blame.


I tend to believe that the EU comes up with things just to fine MS. If the OS in insecure then they will find a reason to fine them, if its too secure (whatever the hell that means) they will fine them.

In a free market people have a choice to buy or not to buy, so I think MS is in the right on this one regardless of the timing.



RE: Too late?
By smitty3268 on 9/12/2006 2:53:39 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
In a free market people have a choice to buy or not to buy


It's not quite that simple - monopolies do exist in free markets. For example, I could choose not to buy power from my local power company, but then I'd be living in the Dark Ages. I certainly have a choice, but it isn't much of one.

As someone who has defended the EU several times on these forums, I have to say this is getting a bit ridiculous. Make sure competitors have access to the same APIs, etc., but don't force MS to make the OS less secure. If they want to add their own free security it should be up to competitors to come up with something better that people will pay for. Otherwise you are simply forcing consumers to pay 3rd parties for something they would have gotten for free.


RE: Too late?
By Loser on 9/12/2006 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
this is one of the best posts in a long time


RE: Too late?
By Madellga on 9/12/2006 3:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't say it better :)


RE: Too late?
By djtodd on 9/12/2006 4:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well said indeed


RE: Too late?
By eskimoe on 9/12/2006 4:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
yop, well said, this is getting a bit ridiculous, especially since xp had the firewall, too, and ms had to improve that one as it really sucked (in my opinion anyway)


RE: Too late?
By dnd728 on 9/12/2006 5:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
Customs are not allowed by WTO, so they use this trick to keep American goods out and make money while at it.
Legal customs.


RE: Too late?
By cubby1223 on 9/12/2006 6:40:54 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If they want to add their own free security it should be up to competitors to come up with something better that people will pay for. Otherwise you are simply forcing consumers to pay 3rd parties for something they would have gotten for free.

No, we are not getting these add-ons from Microsoft for free. We are paying them for the development of everything though the one bundled cost of the OS. Which in turns forces everyone else to provide their products for free, relying on donations to pay their programmers. Microsoft wins in all scenarios.

Example, if I want to support Zone Labs firewall software, I still am forced to pay Microsoft for the development of their integrated firewall software. Why must I be forced to always support Microsoft product development even if I do not want to use it?


RE: Too late?
By Visual on 9/13/2006 2:41:20 AM , Rating: 3
thats what i thought too...
there are so many versions of vista announced, with different prices etc. - so what if they make a cheaper one without the "free" stuff? only then is your point valid. else, ms will remove the firewall from all eu vistas but still charge the same, and we're back to "forcing consumers to pay 3rd parties for something they would have gotten for free"


RE: Too late?
By otispunkmeyer on 9/13/2006 7:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
well even if we do pay for it "included in the price" if they take it out now, they've already published the price list for vista, so now we'll be paying for something were not getting because of the chimps in the EU

dont worry the EU seem to medal in a lot of things...including how our country is run.

AND FOR GOD SAKE WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THIS "OOPS SOMETHING WENT WRONG"

This place rarely works, what the hell is going on? surely a forum isnt that hard to operate.


RE: Too late?
By kilkennycat on 9/13/2006 2:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
"OOPS SOMETHING WENT WRONG" is a BUG in this forum software that has never been fixed. If you stay in edit mode for more than a few minutes (dunno how long, maybe 5 ?) and then try to preview or post, you will get this reply. I now always "Copy" my complete posting before attempting to Preview or Post, so that I can (er) avoid this bug.....


RE: Too late?
By THEREALJMAN73 on 9/13/2006 12:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I still am forced to pay Microsoft for the development of their integrated firewall software.


No you're not. Just don't buy it.


RE: Too late?
By Christopher1 on 9/12/2006 8:57:51 PM , Rating: 1
That is exactly what they should do. Make all the new security features in Vista able to be turned off, and allow the people to choose who they trust more to protect their systems, Microsoft or someone else.

This is getting a little ridiculous, Microsoft is lamblasted all the time for their OS's being 'insecure' compared to OSX and Linux, yet when they try to improve...... they are kept from doing so!


RE: Too late?
By velma on 9/13/2006 12:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
I can choose to buy my power from at least 5 local power providers!


RE: Too late?
By AncientPC on 9/13/2006 10:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
Well said, I feel the same way.


RE: Too late?
By ttowntom on 9/13/2006 3:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not quite that simple - monopolies do exist in free markets. For example, I could choose not to buy power from my local power company, but then I'd be living in the Dark Ages
Are you stupid? Local power companies don't exist in a free market-- they are a state mandated monopoly, just like most utilities. That's why you see no competition...the government doesn't allow it.


RE: Too late?
By FITCamaro on 9/12/2006 9:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think the EU is just trying to come up with crap. As with XP, if you don't want to use the Windows firewall, just turn it off and install your own firewall and antivirus suite. What about the European customers out there who don't want to have to go out and buy seperate antivirus and firewall software? I'm sure they're in the majority here since most people buy OEM POSs that don't come with anything but a 30 day free trial of either Norton or McAfee.

I'm really getting tired of the EU. If I were Microsoft I'd tell the EU f*** you and if you don't like it, don't buy our OS. The corporations there will still buy Windows.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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