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Insecurity over Security: Symantec and Microsoft as Competitors

So, Symantec, after yammering to the EU about Microsoft moving into the security space, is trying to play down whatever difficulties it might have in making its apps work in the forthcoming Vista operating system.

Robin, who has been good enough to write before, says that Symantec has every right to complain about Microsoft:

"Let's say you get mugged by someone who looks a lot like a guy who's mugged several of your friends. They finally get arrested, you testify against them, they get a slap on the wrist and you see them out on the street. They eye you hungrily. They start walking towards you. What do you do? 1) Assume they are over their aberrant behavior and simply out for a stroll? 2) Get ready to accept an overdue apology? 3) Look around to see if there is a cop and check your exits? Most likely you'll choose #3. Why? They've done it before and they might do it again. Microsoft is no different. They have repeatedly engaged in anti-competitive tactics. They've lost several suits brought against them by companies they've mistreated. They are convicted monopolists, a conviction affirmed unanimously on appeal. And they got a slap on the wrist. This isn't about being anti-Microsoft. This is about being anti-mugger. Stop apologizing for Microsoft and demonizing their victims. Companies are right to be concerned about Microsoft's use of its Windows monopoly. They've done it before and they may do it again."

Nick, on the other hand, isn’t so sure:

"If, like Diskeeper, Norton AV had been best of breed, [Symantec] might have hoped for a buyout. Fact of the matter is their product is bloatware that runs poorly (bogs the host machine down), is integrated with software that is or is not wanted (Norton Firewall and Norton Anti-Spam) and isn't 100% effective. F-Prot runs much better for much less money and less hassle. [Symantec], along with McAfee, had the advantage of first-mover. Like Netscape. And they are now about to be consigned to the dustbin. I won't cry for them. Had their product been better, and their pricing much more reasonable, MS would not likely have targeted their niche as a good place to give consumers added value for their Vista upgrade. The sooner we can all dispense with them, the better. Like Netscape. Nobody wants to pay $400 for Vista, $600 for Office 2007 AND $190 for Acrobat, and $70 for NAV."

Meanwhile, on the topic of anti-virus, Dennis offers the discouraging news that Windows Live OneCare wasn’t so great for him, either:

"Despite the fact that the pricing is very attractive, and the feature set is appealing, the lack of user control is unacceptable, and that's why I disengaged from the perpetual beta. Even at this stage, when Live OneCare is on the market as a shipping product, it's got bugs above and beyond the lack of user control. When I uninstalled it, I was invited to give feedback on why I was doing so. I wanted to let Microsoft know what had caused me to reach this point, but before I was able to finish entering text into the Web browser window and send it, the system rebooted on its own and prevented me from telling Microsoft what I thought. Now I guess they'll never know."

I’m always open to your thoughts on competition, security or anything else that’s on your mind. Shoot me an e-mail at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 09/26/2006 at 1:19 PM


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