EU Warns Microsoft About Vista Security Market

European Union officials warned Microsoft not to shut out rivals in the security software market.

European Union officials warned Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday not to shut out rivals in the security software market as the company plans to launch its Windows Vista operating system with built-in protection from hackers and malicious programs.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd told reporters that the European Commission is "ready to give guidance to Microsoft" concerning Vista but added that it was up to the U.S. software maker "to accept and implement its responsibilities as a near monopolist to ensure full compliance" with EU competition rules.

Microsoft, meanwhile, warned EU regulators to avoid attempting to block the in-house security upgrades it is making to the long-delayed Windows upgrade now scheduled for release to companies in November and consumers in January.

"We are concerned that (regulators) might require the removal of some of the security features we've demonstrated," Erich Andersen, Microsoft's associate general counsel told reporters. "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."

Andersen told reporters the company was adding a more robust firewall in Vista than what's found in the current edition, Windows XP.

Todd said the Commission understands Microsoft's wish to make Vista more secure. But he added that the EU head office believes "computer security depends on diversity and innovation in the field of security software, (and) such diversity and innovation could be at risk if Microsoft was allowed to foreclose the existing competition in the security software markets."

He said that bundling its own security product as part of Vista, "its own dominant operating system ... would ultimately harm consumers through reduced choice and higher security risks."

Microsoft has threatened a delay in the launch of its next-generation Vista operating system in Europe because of the new standoff with EU regulators.

EU antitrust regulators said last week it was not up to them to give Microsoft a green light to launch its new desktop software in Europe after Microsoft complained that it could face delays unless the EU told it what it must do to avoid antitrust problems.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes wrote to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in March, pointing out possible issues with Vista's integrated Internet search, digital rights management tools used to protect copyrights and software that would rival Adobe Systems Inc.'s Portable Document Format, or PDF.

There is no formal investigation into Vista but Microsoft is still embroiled in a long-running legal challenge to the EU's 2004 antitrust order that found it broke competition law and fined it a record 497 million euros ($613 million).


  • Microsoft Buys Orions Systems To Enhance Vision AI Capabilities in Dynamics 365

    Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Orions Systems with the aim of enhancing Dynamics 365 capabilities, as well as the Microsoft Power Platform.

  • Microsoft Hires Movial To Build Android OS for Microsoft Devices

    Microsoft has hired the Romanian operations of software engineering and design services company Movial to develop an Android-based operating system solution for the Microsoft Devices business segment.

  • Microsoft Ending Workflows for SharePoint 2010 Online Next Month

    Microsoft on Monday gave notice that it will be ending support this year for the "workflows" component of SharePoint 2010 Online, as well as deprecating that component for SharePoint 2013 Online.

  • Why Windows Phone Is Dead, But Not Completely Gone

    Don't call it a comeback (because that's not likely). But as Brien explains, there are three ways that today's smartphone market leaves the door open for Microsoft to bring Windows back to smartphones.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.