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Security Vendor on Vista: So What’s The Problem?

Microsoft finally has some allies in its ongoing battle with third-party security vendors.

With Symantec and McAfee still moaning about how hard Microsoft is making it for third parties to develop for Vista and how Redmond still hasn’t fully opened the Vista kernel for security vendors, one security player is wondering what all the complaining is about.

Sophos, a UK security vendor, has smartly stepped into the spotlight and offered its support for Microsoft, saying that developing for Vista is plenty easy -- if you know how to do it -- and that Symantec and McAfee just didn’t prepare well for the new OS. (And, actually, a Russian vendor names Kaspersky -- didn’t he write an angsty novel or something? -- made a similar statement three weeks ago.)

Oh, snap! This has to come as a bit of a slap in the face to McAfee and Symantec, which had actually won some concessions -- thanks in large part to the European Union -- from Microsoft on getting APIs for Vista development but still weren’t particularly happy (even as Microsoft moves ahead with its security plans). McAfee, in fact, has fired back at Sophos already, saying that its stuff is just way more complicated than Sophos’s offerings.

We’ve said here before at RCPU that Microsoft opening the Vista kernel for third-party security vendors is probably a good thing, although that point is hotly debatable (check out some of the comments here). In any case, Symantec and McAfee, market leaders that they are, have set themselves up to be more competitors than cooperators in their new relationship of "co-opetition" with Microsoft. Sophos and its Russian buddy have clearly gone the other way, stepping in to buddy up to Redmond even as Microsoft moves on their market.

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out. Will Microsoft -- and, perhaps by extension, Microsoft partners -- remember Sophos’s support in future deals, or will Redmond’s move into the security market be so brutal that it won’t matter which third party has tried to curry the hungry giant’s favor? Stay tuned....

Are you with Symantec and McAfee or with Sophos in this argument? Pick a side at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Coming Thursday: Reactions to the Vista licensing scheme. And, for those who have e-mailed me and haven’t yet received a response, I’m a little behind, but I will get back to you.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/24/2006 at 1:19 PM


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