According to a report in "The Wall Street Journal," Microsoft competitors Adobe and Symantec are behind recent European Union investigations into Microsoft's Windows XP successor, Vista. The two firms have lobbied the EU regulators to prevent Microsoft from shipping free features in Windows Vista that compete with products these companies now sell to consumers.
Adobe is complaining that Microsoft is offering technology that offers part of the functionality of Adobe's more powerful PDF format. What's different, apparently, is that Adobe charges customers to create PDF documents, while Microsoft's competing format, XPS (XML Paper Specification), is free. Adobe PDF is widely regarded as a de facto standard of sorts, thanks largely to Adobe's practice of giving away its Adobe Reader software, which can display, but not edit or create, PDF documents.
Symantec alleges that Microsoft's Security Center console in Windows Vista should be replaceable by third party software, despite the fact that Security Center can be populated with links to third party products, including Symantec's. Microsoft is even allowing third parties to brand Security Center with their own logos and icons. Symantec has also complained about a new security feature called Kernel PatchGuard that prevents software--malicious or otherwise--from altering the Windows kernel at runtime. In the past, security companies have been forced to patch the Windows kernel because so much malicious software does so as well. That process will not be possible in Windows Vista, which should make the system more secure. Symantec wants it removed.
What Symantec--and, ultimately, Adobe--is really worried about is that their gravy train is about to end. Symantec and other security firms will have enough opportunities with emerging electronic threats to keep them busy and profitable. But everyone wins when Windows gets more secure. As for Adobe, it's telling that this firm has yet to broadly ship a low-cost way to edit PDF files. If Microsoft's creation of XPS simply lowers the bar of entry into the PDF world, well, that too will benefit consumers.
Long time readers will remember how strongly I came down against Microsoft's IE bundling strategy. I still feel that those decisions were wrong and have served as the foundation for a decade of security vulnerabilities and customer pain that we're still experiencing. Adobe and Symantec's complaints, however, bear no relation at all to those of Netscape a decade ago. Today, Microsoft is doing the right thing for its customers. Frankly, it's about time.
View: Full Article @ Windows IT Pro
View: Software Makers Complain to EU Over Microsoft's New Vista System @ WSJ.com