EU probe signals blot on Microsoft’s Vista

2 Oct 2006

Plans by Microsoft to bundle handwriting-recognition technology and encrypted security software into its forthcoming Vista operating system has raised the hackles of businesses and has prompted European anti-trust regulators to expand their probe into the software giant’s operating system (OS).

In this morning’s edition of the Financial Times, security software vendor McAfee took a full-page advertisement. The ad accused Microsoft of demonstrating “flawed logic” in taking the unprecedented step of shutting off computer security providers’ access to the core — or kernel — of the Vista OS.

Companies like McAfee believe Microsoft’s bundling of handwriting-recognition and security systems into the forthcoming OS will undermine their competitiveness in this area.

In the advert McAfee chief executive George Samunex said: “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.”

It is understood that the handwriting element of the new OS will be bundled only in the premium editions of the software.

The European Commission has already voiced concerns about the bundling of new features and programmes into Vista, which is due to replace the company’s Windows OS from next year onwards.

By John Kennedy