Microsoft moves to integrate Windows with BIOS

A deal with BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies would allow the operating system to directly control hardware. It also raises concerns over who controls the software in PCs . Microsoft has expanded its relationship with BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies in a deal designed to more closely integrate the basic building blocks of the PC with the Windows operating system.

The relationship, announced this week, is designed to make PCs simpler and more reliable, the companies said. The move is likely to put consumer rights advocates on their guard, however, since both Microsoft and Phoenix are involved in plans to integrate digital rights management (DRM) technology at the operating system and hardware level. DRM is designed to give copyright owners more control over how users make use of software and content, but has been criticised as eroding consumer rights.

A BIOS, or basic input/output system, is the software that ties the operating system to a PC's hardware. Traditionally, it has carried out basic tasks such as hardware and system configuration, and has been standardised and simple enough to allow the installation of alternative operating systems, including Linux. Phoenix's Core System Software (CSS) is a next-generation BIOS with a more sophisticated integration of operating system and hardware, for example making it easier for system administrators to remotely monitor the hardware configurations of their systems. CSS is designed for non-PC systems such as blade servers and embedded industrial devices as well as traditional desktops.

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News source: ZDNet UK

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