Caught Between Bad Security And Antitrust Questions

from the tricky-situation dept

Ever since Microsoft went out and bought an anti-spyware company people have been wondering about the conflicts this has caused within the company. One of the biggest issues concerned charging for the software, as it seemed somewhat ridiculous that a problem often caused by Microsoft’s own weak security would lead to Microsoft getting to make extra money from people. With that in mind, many were initially relieved when Microsoft indicated that it would continue to offer the software for free. However, late last week, the company began to talk about how it would offer a complete security package for a fee… leading some to mock the company for causing the pain in the first place, and then selling the solution. Of course, the situation might not be that simple. Given Microsoft’s trouble in the past with anti-trust violations, it’s easy to see how Microsoft could then be accused of using its monopoly position in operating systems to wipe out the desktop security business. So, the company is stuck behind a rock and a hard place: don’t charge and face anti-trust violations or charge and deal with anger from people who feel Microsoft is charging to fix its own problems. Of course, there is a third option. Instead of patching over security holes with extra software, they could go back and design the underlying code not to be so full of holes…

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Comments on “Caught Between Bad Security And Antitrust Questions”

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Felix says:

No Subject Given

So, the company is stuck behind a rock and a hard place

I don’t feel sorry for them, because Microsoft has willingly put itself in this position. They did not have to buy the anti-spyware and anti-virus companies. It is the result of the typical Microsoft strategy of wanting a piece of every pie.

DoxAvg says:

Re: No Subject Given

While Microsoft does have a piss-poor track record with security, there will always be a legitimate role for anti-virus in consumer operating systems. Microsoft does have a responsibility to close up the Blaster-like automatically spreading viruses, but as long as the user has the ability to install and run applications, there will be a vector for trojans to infest systems and propagate themselves to other unsuspecting noobs.
If Linux were as pervasive as Windows in the Joe Sixpack/Mom demographic, how long do you think it would be until somebody mailed them a source rpm with the subject “Your Capitol One Online Statment Program”?

thecaptain says:

no pity...

If Microsoft can make money off of the security issues in IE and Windows (that they try SOOOO hard to force people in using by whatever tactic necessary), then where is the incentive to REPAIR those security holes?

Hmmmm…lets see, there’s a critical exploit in Longhorn, we could SPEND a million bucks fixing it…OR…we could SAY work is “in progress” and make 5 Million with our “security system”

Which do YOU think they’ll go for?

Not once has Microsoft ever done the ethical choice.

Mind you, yes, they ARE a business and seemingly these days not bound by any other ethic other than to be profitable, but in this kind of clear conflict of interest situation, they should NOT remain in the position they are in.

Sadly, nothing short of government power will get them out, and that with a slap on the wrist. By that time, their way will be the de-facto standard (I mean you don’t see IE unbundled from Windows do you?)

Precision Blogger (user link) says:

MSC and anti-virus - very tricky situation

I think this is the bottom line:
(1) MSC should ALWAYS have been in the anti-virus business. It’s actually quite silly to think of the OS ignoring virus control.
(2) In fact I’m sure MSC has always consulted with some of the virus compajies to determine the hooks they need into the OS to do good virus checking.
(3) If MSC knocks out the other vendors and takes over this market, then 90% of all PCs will have exactly the same virus holes. THAT’S A NIGHTMARE!
– PB

Mitchell says:

Nice to look back and see that MS never went so far as to actually introduce a paid product, tho they did roll out a free one which undoubtedly would have evolved to a paid version. MS needs to realize that their security software offering should be stealthy and done under the hood, not as an add-on. They write their OS, and they should be able to keep it protected better than anyone.

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