Symantec Is On Guard

Security vendor Symantec has quietly lodged an unofficial complaint against
Microsoft to European Commission antitrust regulators
over the software giant’s recent entry into the security market.

The complaint, which followed Microsoft announcement yesterday that it
plans to expand its security protection services with the launch of two new
, could mean another round of antitrust litigation against the
software maker.

The security offerings, part of a two-pronged strategy of partnerships and
products outlined by Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, is what has Symantec
concerned. Cupertino, Calif.- based Symantec has taken issue with Microsoft’s plan
to bundle its security software with Windows Vista, the next major version
of the Windows operating system.

A Symantec spokeswoman told in an email that the company
had not filed a formal complaint with the European Commission but did
respond to its requests for information.

“As we’ve said in the past, we will compete with Microsoft in the markets,
not in the courts as long as there is a level playing field,” she said. “The
information we provided was to assist the government in understanding the
complexity of the security industry and our role in it.”

Microsoft said it valued its relationship with Symantec and would continue
to work openly and collaboratively with them on a number of issues. However,
the company insisted it was complying with EC rules.

“An integral part of our product development process is keeping competitors,
regulators and the industry informed,” a spokeswoman said in an email. “We
have kept the Commission very closely informed of all Microsoft’s plans for
new technology development and we will continue to respond quickly and
comprehensively to any request for information.”

The Commission is the executive branch of the European Union.

In an earlier ruling, the Commission found Microsoft had abused its monopoly position and levied a record fine of $613
last March. The Commission also required Microsoft to un-bundle its Windows Media Player software from Windows in European markets.

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