McAfee, Symantec Think Vista Unfair
October 3, 2006 Leave a comment
It seems that both McAfee and Symantec are unhappy with some of the new security features in Vista. McAfee has gone as far as taking out a full page ad in the Financial Times. The issue at hand is PatchGuard, which Microsoft describes as a facility that protects the operating system kernel against being patched or rewritten by an outside, unauthorized source. From the article:
McAfee, Symantec and other security software companies argue Microsoft's new Vista operating system will make it more difficult to protect customers because for the first time, they have been denied access to the core of the operating system.
Neither company has filed a formal complaint and so far the European Commission has taken no formal action on the matter.
It should be noted that Sophos has specifically said they don't have a problem with PatchGuard, and Trend Micro already has a Vista beta product available. Symantec seems to assert that these companies must have had some unfair access to information. A couple comments here. First, McAfee and Symantec (indeed all Windows based anti-virus companies) had to see this coming. They had a sort of symbiotic relationship with Microsoft, at best. As Microsoft attempts to both secure the OS and move in on the money made by the various enterprise security suites, the other vendors were bound to lose market share. While Microsoft and Windows enabled McAfee and Symantec to become the huge companies they are, Microsoft has a sordid history of pummeling business partners when the time is right. The following quote comes to mind: “It's a funny thing being taken under the wing of a dragon: it's warmer than you think.” The lesson here should be that when you only offer products for a closed platform that you don't have any control over, you are 100% beholden to the company who makes that platform. Second, one question I haven't seen answered is whether the Microsoft security suite, Defender, will have access to things that competitors products won't. You'd think Microsoft would be smarter than that, given past history, but who knows. If the answer to that question is yes, that to me is 100% monopoly abuse. Lastly, I'll admit to not having used McAfee or Symantec products too much in the recent past, but my experiences along with what I read in various places leads me to believe that most of the newer products are universally regarded as bloated garbage. While harsh, the companies may want to look back at their products and focus on what's important which is providing a service that your customers want. Is this move by Microsoft really preventing that? I remember Symantec fondly from the days of Norton utilities. Most times I see comments about the newer products today are either in regard to them blowing up badly or not uninstalling properly. That's the problem I'd want to focus on.
Microsoft, MSFT, Windows, Vista, Symantec, McAfee, PatchGuard, Open Source