Gartner: Vista antitrust tweaks to take years

Antitrust related changes to security in Windows Vista 64-bit will take years to complete and will cause compatibility trouble in the interim, according to Gartner.

Users of security technologies such as host intrusion-prevention systems, or HIPS, should postpone buying 64-bit versions of Vista, Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald wrote in a research note published on Wednesday. MacDonald also noted that many integrated security products today include HIPS functionality.

In response to antitrust concerns from the European Commission, Microsoft last week said third-party security software will be able to interact with the kernel of 64-bit versions of Vista. Security companies now have unfettered access to the core of 32-bit versions of Windows. But they complained that a kernel shield called PatchGuard in 64-bit versions of Vista, which is intended to stop hackers, blocks security products, too. 64-bit Windows is expected to eventually supplant 32-bit versions.

While Microsoft has promised to give its security rivals controlled access to the Vista kernel, the programming interfaces to do so still need to be developed.

Access to the Vista kernel is one of two concessions Microsoft made. The Redmond, Wash., software giant has already provided security companies with a way to disable alerts sent out by the Windows Security Center, if their third-party protective software is installed.

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