by CIO Staff

McAfee: Microsoft Not Keeping Vista Security Promises

Oct 18, 20064 mins
IT Strategy

McAfee, an antivirus software vendor, on Wednesday said Microsoft has failed to keep a promise made to it, the European Union and other security software firms to open up access to its upcoming Windows Vista operating system (OS) so the companies can tailor their products to the OS, Reuters reports via

Microsoft has been accused in recent days by both McAfee and Symantec, another leading antivirus provider, of trying to create a monopoly for its computer security solution by not allowing rivals in the space access to Vista’s kernel, the core of the OS. Kaspersky Lab, another computer security firm based in Russia, defended Microsoft against the accusations by saying it saw no actions on the part of the firm to block access to Vista’s kernel.

Microsoft launched its first security offering in June, which it dubbed Windows Live OneCare.

The software giant has been entangled in various antitrust actions on behalf of the European Commission for years. In 2004, the commission fined Microsoft some $627 million for attempting to create a monopoly for its Windows OS, and it recently warned the Redmond, Wash.-based firm that it would be watching to see if Vista meets all of its competition requirements, according to Reuters.

In response to the McAfee and Symantec accusations, as well as the European Commission pressure, Microsoft said last week it would provide computer security vendors with application program interface (API) codes to enable them to deactivate Vista’s Security Center management console and bypass the firm’s “PatchGuard” software to access the kernel of the 64-bit version of Vista.

Vista’s launch has been delayed multiple times, and it’s currently slated for release to manufacturers and enterprises in November and to consumers in January. McAfee, Symantec and other antivirus vendors say they need Microsoft to hand over the necessary APIs to access Vista’s kernel in order to build their offerings and have them ready for release as soon as Vista becomes available.

McAfee says that Microsoft so far has failed to hand over the materials it promised, according to Reuters.

Siobhan MacDermott, chief McAfee spokesperson, told Reuters, “Contrary to what it says publicly, Microsoft has not cooperated with the leading security providers. In fact, we have not received anything at all from Microsoft concerning PatchGuard.”

George Heron, chief scientist with McAfee, told Reuters Microsoft hasn’t been communicative in relation to a document it provided on the Security Center deactivation.

“To date we have only received one document describing the Windows Security Center solution. We haven’t yet fully understood it. We have some questions and we have some calls in to Microsoft. They have not yet responded to our questions,” Heron told Reuters.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer

In response to McAfee’s most recent accusations, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said his firm is doing everything it promised, according to Reuters.

“We have gone ahead with the release of APIs consistent with the directions we have taken to put Windows [Vista] in the marketplace on schedule, and we are absolutely executing on all of the plans properly,” Ballmer said, according to Reuters.

Related Links:

  • Microsoft CEO Ballmer: E.U. OK With Vista Tweaks

  • Microsoft Appeals E.U.’s $357M Antitrust Fine

  • Microsoft: Vista-Ready Products to Ship by Holidays

  • Kaspersky: Microsoft Not Locking Rivals Out of Vista Security

  • Rivals: Microsoft Locking Others Out of Vista Security

  • Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare Now Shipping

This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.

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