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
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.
quote: In a free market people have a choice to buy or not to buy
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.
quote: I still am forced to pay Microsoft for the development of their integrated firewall software.
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