Microsoft officials resist this characterization of the system.
"From a lock-in perspective, the Microsoft business model is about delighting a broad range of customers, and theyre very clear that they dont want lock-in," said Peter Biddle (pictured), product unit manager in the Security Business Unit at Microsoft. "That never was an intent. Were getting feedback from customers that if they smell a whiff of lock-in, theyre not adopting [NGSCB]." Potential users of the NGSCB system, meanwhile, are unsure whether the promised security enhancements outweigh the baggage that accompanies them. "NGSCB is great for security, but there are costs beyond adding the encryption chip to the hardware or the added complexity of developing applications," said Lester John, assistant vice president of information security at Fleet Securities Inc., in Boston. "[If] a computer breaks and a [technician] pulls the hard drive and puts it into a new machine, the user is back in business. With a secure PC, how does this now happen?"
A vital element of Microsofts plans for NGSCB is the development of a strong, diverse set of partners. Some key vendors, including Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., have already allied themselves with Microsoft. But if a broader base of support doesnt materialize, NGSCB could die on the vine.
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