Getting Sued for improving quality


Updated: October 11, 2006

It is in deed an odd turn of events when a manufacturer, in an effort to improve the quality of their product, is threatened with antitrust suites. In a story from Tech Web:

The crux of the dispute is Vista’s ability to protect its most fundamental code from cyber attacks versus the ability of other companies’ software to check for telltale signs of malicious programs. As Microsoft prepares to release a final test version of Windows Vista, the software vendors are stepping up talks with antitrust regulators and kicking off a public-relations campaign against what they see as Microsoft’s attempts to block their products. [see McAfee, Symantec Hit Back Against Changes To Windows]

On the surface, it seems to reflect more a lack of foresight or may be even an extreme case of denial on the part of the companies that produce the security software. Microsoft has been working on this problem for several years, so it should come as no surprise. But then again what one sees on the surface does not always expose the monsters that lurk below.

Gartner (see: McAfee Ad Highlights Ongoing Microsoft Security Skirmish–requires login)suggests that Microsoft should have worked more closely with the security software vendors before deploying PatchGuard (Microsoft’s built-in protection to keep software from directly modifying the kernel with the 64-bit version of Windows). Further one can infer that their may be some relationship between deploying PatchGuard and the move into the development of their own security products.

While these points may be true, the fact remains that this is a Microsoft product and to say that they should leave it unsecured to continue a market seems bizarre at best.

The issue Microsoft has to deal with is by removing the competition they are left holding the bag: the responsibility to ensure a more secure operating system. If they are not able to do that, then they will have bigger problems and no one to help them.


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