Microsoft, the world’s leading producer of software, on Monday was accused by McAfee, a provider of Web security solutions and a Microsoft competitor in the space, of attempting to lock out security vendors looking to build improved safeguards for the upcoming Windows Vista operating system (OS) into their products, Reuters reports.
The accusation comes from a full-page advertisement placed in the Monday edition of the Financial Times by McAfee, blasting Microsoft for trying to make it more difficult for outside firms to fix “inherent weaknesses” in the Windows OS, according to Reuters.
McAfee’s sentiment echoes those of Symantec, another Internet security solutions provider, and others that recently spoke out against Microsoft for blocking Vista’s kernel, or core, from outside firms—a move Microsoft hasn’t made in the past, Reuters reports.
Microsoft has been widely criticized by security firms and various media sources for its decision to block access to the OS’ kernel, but no official action has been filed with U.S. courts, and the European Commission—which claims to have authority over Vista due to 2004’s widely publicized Windows antitrust case—has not yet made any formal move against the Redmond, Wash.-based firm, according to Reuters.
Microsoft has said that it may delay Vista shipments to European Union states over concerns that the commission could file actions against it, Reuters reports. The firm is set to ship the enterprise edition of Vista to businesses and computer producers in November, and it said it expects to ship the consumer version in early 2007.
Symantec representatives recently told media outlets that Microsoft is attempting to push it out of the security space for Windows products because the company wants its customers to employ its own security services, according to Reuters. To do so, Symantec officials said, Microsoft has installed software locks that block outsiders from access to Vista’s kernel, Reuters reports.
The McAfee advertisement in Monday’s Financial Times reads, “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,” according to Reuters.
Microsoft denies the accusations that it is purposefully blocking external firms from accessing Vista’s core and claims it has worked hand in hand with partners throughout the OS’ development cycle, Reuters reports.
It is not the first time Microsoft has been accused of attempting to muscle competitors out of the markets for products it recently introduced. The company has faced legal actions in the United States, European Union and South Korea in recent days over its business practices. Microsoft has defended and continues to defend its methods as legal, effective and a benefit to competition.
McAfee is charging Microsoft with not only attempting to create a world where its OS is the dominant system, but also one where its security solutions are the most widely used, according to Reuters.
“Only one approach protecting us all: when it fails, it fails for 97 percent of the world’s desktops,” McAfee said in its advertisement, Reuters reports.
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