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Vendors claim that being denied access to the core of Vista seriously hampers their ability to protect users

McAfee Inc. has thrown down the gauntlet in its dispute with Microsoft's decision to lock down the core of their Vista operating system. The security software vendor has a full-page ad in today's Financial Times which berates Microsoft.

McAfee argues that Microsoft is making its upcoming Windows Vista operating system far more difficult to protect by locking non-Microsoft processes out of the kernel. Symantec had a similar beef with this move by Microsoft which was reported on recently by Windows IT Pro:

Symantec has also complained about a new security feature called Kernel PatchGuard that prevents software--malicious or otherwise--from altering the Windows kernel at runtime. In the past, security companies have been forced to patch the Windows kernel because so much malicious software does so as well. That process will not be possible in Windows Vista, which should make the system more secure. Symantec wants it removed.

Microsoft claims that this will keep Vista more secure by allowing only certified programs to access vital components of Windows, but McAfee openly mocks this in its advertisement by challenging:

"Microsoft is being completely unrealistic if, by locking security companies out of the kernel, it thinks hackers won't crack Vista's kernel. In fact, they already have."

A Microsoft representative dismissed this accusation, citing a close relationship with security partners during the development of Windows Vista. On the other side of the coin, vendor Trend Micro currently has a beta release of their anti-virus software available for Vista, which may have prompted other companies to suspect preferential treatment.

A scan of the article was unavailable at the time of this posting.

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Microsoft has suffered enough
By soydios on 10/2/2006 10:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think the Microsoft hating has gone far enough.
Let's compare Windows XP and Apple OSX 10.4:
- security: Mac OS is very secure because it locks almost everything out of the kernel (Microsoft is being blasted for this)
- disc features: Mac OS can play back DVDs and burn CDs/DVDs straight out of the box (Microsoft cannot do this, presumably because third-party software must be given a chance to compete, at the expense of Microsoft and the consumer)
- internet/media: Mac OS comes preloaded with iTunes and Safari (in Europe, Microsoft is being sued for preloading Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer)

I think Microsoft has gone a long way towards helping its competitors. Even with WindowsXP, it's absurdly easy to change program defaults.
Concerning Symantec and McAfee, Microsoft has made Vista's Security Management panel incredibly customizeable by third-party security software vendors, and they are STILL complaining about it!

RE: Microsoft has suffered enough
By Ard on 10/2/2006 10:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with your post to some extent, I think the analogy to Apple is flawed simply because Apple isn't even close to MS' position. Apple can get away with locking others out of the kernel and bundling tons of software because they have a very small share of the market. Their business practices aren't going to affect other companies that want to interoperate with them. If MS does this, it naturally runs afoul of anti-trust laws because MS already damn near has a monopoly.

Bundling software and locking other companies out of the kernel only furthers that monopoly. After all, the majority of PC users aren't enthusiasts but average Joes and the Joes aren't going to look for other software (media players, AV software, firewall, browser, etc.) if it's all bundled with Windows from the get-go. That's part of McAfee/Symantec/EU's point.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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