Sep 28, 2006

[Tech News] Breaking Into Windows

Corbis: Businessman Measures Itself in Arm Wrestling with a Japanese Sumo Wrestler
CNet News reports that Symantec has accused Microsoft of withholding key APIs for Windows Vista, which in turn gives the software giant an undue advantage in the security market.

In case you haven't been following the news, Window Vista is the next big upgrade to the largely successfuf Microsoft operating system, which is touted as their most secure OS to date. There are a host of security features that have been announced as part of the Vista package, many of them being direct competitors to other existing security software out in the market today.

The arguments raised by security companies like Symantec are that Microsoft are deliberately keeping the lid on the information they need to make their programs compatible with the default security programs that are a part of Vista such as Windows Defender and Windows Vista Firewall. If the third party software providers are unable to make their products compatible with Vista in time for the October production releases of the newer Vista-compatible PC units of the various manufacturing companies, they stand to miss out on providing their products to Windows Vista customers.

Microsoft stands to benefit from such a scenario given they're only recently entered the security market. Keeping their application programmable interfaces (APIs) private can force third party groups to customize their products to work within Vista's security suite as opposed to replacing Vista's applications with their own products.

It's unlikely that Microsoft will necessarily go to this extreme in order to promote its own products at the expense of others given their previous history with antitrust suits in Europe including the EU's current scrutiny the upcoming Windows release. Let's face it - they can't be that stupid, can they?

This promises to be an interesting release, to say the least. As 2007 draws closer, more and more complications appear to be popping up left and right. This is not something all that new - I don't think there have been any new Windows releases in recent history that have not been met with concerns as varied as they appear to be today.


  1. This is the reason MS have to stick to their guns and why Symantec and McAfee's approach is wrong:

    Check it out; they have flaws in their drivers that would allow an attacker to compromise a system via the kernel.

  2. well, in this particular case, it's a known error that has already been patched. Microsoft's track record isn't exactly sterling either given their recent struggle with patches with third party groups trying to plug the holes since it's hard to wait for MS Update Tuesday.

    I'm not trying to favor any particular company at this point - I'm more of a philosophy of support and cooperation. No individual company has the clearly "best" way of protecting a user's computer - so why should we close the doors on ideas from other groups and multi-tiered security approaches based on multiple applications working together?