Adobe and Symantec Sparked the EU’s Probe of Vista

Adobe and Symantec Sparked the EU’s Probe of Vista

Global Tech News has been on top of Microsoft’s battles with the European Union (EU) over the course of the past few months. Microsoft was slapped with a $634 million USD fine in 2004 by the EU and was then hit with another $357 million USD fine this past July for not complying with antitrust rulings. And just last week we learned that the EU was once again after Microsoft to remove the included security features from Vista which are there to make the operating system more secure.

Today we have learned that two companies are the driving force behind the EU inquisition: Adobe and Symantec. According to The Wall Street Journal, the two companies have been lobbying the EU to strip Vista of features to help them compete better in the marketplace.

Adobe is concerned that Microsoft’s XPS (XML Paper Specification), which is freely available to use and create, will be going toe-to-toe with its PDF creation software which Adobe charges for. Adobe already won the first battle in this war as Microsoft agreed to remove native support for “Save to PDF” and “Save to XPS” options from Office 2007. The two features are available, however, for download from Microsoft’s Download Center. Symantec, on the other hand has a whole host of issues with Vista. Windows IT Pro reports:

The firm 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 Symantec and other 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.

It all comes down to money in the end. Adobe has been providing its Acrobat Reader software for free for years making PDF the dominant standard online for electronic documents. As a result, its profitable Acrobat creation software could come under fire from Microsoft XPS format. Symantec has also profited heavily over the years from customers with Windows-based machines. Vista’s beefed up security somewhat blunts its ability to provide an over abundance of security software for the platform. In the end, it should be interesting to see who flinches first.

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