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Vista May Pose Danger To Security Product Vendors

Could it be that Microsoft's vision for security in Vista will aggravate security product vendors? One longtime Windows watcher thinks Microsoft, hoping to fly under the antitrust radar, will sprinkle security throughout the operating system.
Microsoft's announcement in February that OneCare would be sold only as a subscription service -- and Symantec's plans to deliver a similar service this summer -- shows that the subscription model is the model for consumer security software.

"It is the model," said Wilcox, "but that model is [already part of] the problem. Used to be, you paid for security software and got free updates. Now there's an annual subscription price tag. If users don't pay it, there are no updates."

That leaves many consumers unprotected when the security software bundled with a new PC expires, and the users don't fork over more to keep updates coming. Fewer than half of single-PC households, said Wilcox, have anti-virus installed on their computers.

"The major security problem is the consumer," he said. "And Microsoft thinks it needs to solve the consumer problem."

It could have gone another route, Wilcox noted: strengthen ties to security partners, make it easier for them to connect to the inner workings of Windows Vista, or even distribute their software and/or updates through its own channels.

Instead, it took the competitive route.

"You make choices," Wilcox concluded.

And Microsoft has made its choice.