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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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By hellokeith on 9/12/2006 7:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure if there are any free firewall apps out there for Windows. Definitely some free antivirus apps. So Microsoft should ship Vista EU with networking disabled, and require very obvious and irritating popup screens with multiple steps necessary to enable a network adapter if no firewall/antivirus protection exists. Make the MS firewall an optional download from Windows Update, or if the EU is still upset, not allow it to be downloaded to EU IP addresses.

Not sure what the EU is trying to accomplish here. The multi-million dollar fines will never directly go to support local EU software developers.

It is doubtful Microsoft will ever pull the plug on Vista EU, but if the fines climb into the billions, then it would be a pretty easy business decision, although regretable.

I suppose they should get some comfort in the fact that Apple is getting hounded by the EU as well. Pretty soon, Europe will be running all open-source OS's, software, and hardware, and hollywood/american media companies won't distribute any downloadable content there due to impossible drm implementations.




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