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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 kilkennycat on 9/13/2006 2:40:36 PM , Rating: 2
The EU's fundamental objection to Vista's built-in security features is the "bundling" of them with the OS AND how that is handled at the internal interfaces between the security features and the core of the OS. If MS agrees to level the playing-field by making these interface specs fully available to legitimate 3rd-party security companies, I suspect that the EU's objections will evaporate and they will not at all mind MS 'bundling' their own security packages with the shipping OS in Europe. Basically a re-run of the MS vs EU arguments on XP, which got so polarized by MS's obstinacy that the EU finally insisted on a fully unbundled version of XP, and eventually MS also had to cave in anyway on providing the requested interface specs after the huge fines.

BTW, the EU does not issue such directives to be bloody-minded. They are legally obligated to respond to any documented evidence of monopolism in Vista -- no doubt already being provided by the makers of 3rd-party security software and other applications-developers interested in legitimately accessing the core of the OS.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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