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Symantec Says Microsoft Is Trying to Shut It Out

September 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

BRUSSELS — Security software vendor Symantec Corp. accused Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday of abusing its monopoly in deciding which security products can run on its upcoming operating system.

Symantec said Microsoft, which started selling its own security products in May, was deliberately withholding information needed to develop products that work on Windows Vista.

"Microsoft is using their dominant position to regulate what security can be provided on their system and how that security is provided," said Rowan Trollope, Symantec's vice president for consumer engineering. "Microsoft has regulated what choices are there: 'You're going to have our stuff no matter what.' "

Although Symantec hasn't filed a formal complaint, the Cupertino, Calif., company said it was going public with the concerns to pressure Microsoft to release software development kits that would allow rival products to communicate with Vista's new security features, including a dashboard designed to help customers easily see what protection programs are switched on.

European antitrust regulators have warned Microsoft not to shut out rivals in the security software market as it builds more security into Vista. The European Union and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft are still involved in a long battle over a 2004 EU ruling that found the software company guilty of abusing its monopoly to break into new markets.

Symantec said it might make a formal complaint to the European Commission if Microsoft did not respond. The EU has quizzed security firms about problems they might have with Vista and has said it will take action if it believes Microsoft is breaking antitrust law.

Adrien Robinson, a director in Microsoft's security technology unit, said Wednesday that Microsoft did make changes late in the game allowing security software companies to turn off Defender and offer their own, similar application.

She said Microsoft had been working closely with companies including Symantec to provide them with the tools they needed to address the changes before Vista ships.

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