Timing Remains an Issue with Microsofts New Vista APIs

While the company has agreed to provide security vendors with additional software interfaces for its next-generation Vista OS, Microsoft will need to deliver usable APIs to its partners quickly to avoid further controversy, analysts said.

Microsoft may have agreed to provide security vendors with additional software interfaces for its next-generation Vista operating system, but analysts maintain that any delay on the part of the software giant to distribute the code, or to repair its damaged relationship with partners, could lead to future headaches.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker promised to hand over new APIs to its partners on Oct. 16 in a move to quell concerns expressed publicly by major security companies, and the European Union, over two features being included in Vista.

Microsoft specifically agreed to provide its partners with the ability to disable its Windows Security Center dashboard, and to offer new methods for companies to interact with its PatchGuard kernel protection technology, to help put issues regarding the features to rest.

However, despite Microsofts move to address the concerns raised with Vistas security features, industry analysts and spokespeople for the companys largest security partners said that the software giants ability to follow through on its promises, and the speed with which it distributes the APIs, will ultimately decide whether the controversy continues.

If Microsoft does not give its partners everything it has guaranteed, and do so quickly enough to allow security software makers to build their own applications for Vista, which is slated to arrive on the market in November 2006, analysts contend the companys problems will not go away.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Vista security concerns.

Microsofts partners have been asking for the APIs for as long as two years, despite the software giants contention that it was only recently asked for the code by its partners, said John Pescatore, analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner.

If the company takes as long to produce the right tools to allow for new levels of product integration, he said, more complaints will likely be heard from the security market, and also from Microsofts customers.

"The market will need to see that these problems have been resolved within less than a year, by roughly the second half of 2007, because if Microsoft and the security vendors are still at an impasse at that point it will be too late to do anything for customers," Pescatore said.

"If that happens, the EU and others will likely re-evaluate what they want to do, and customers will be upset if future security improvements to Vista, and other companies security applications, are further delayed by any lingering controversy."

Pescatore is calling for Microsoft and its security partners to establish a firm date by which to resolve all of their concerns over interoperability with Vista, allowing customers to plan ahead accordingly for their own timetables in adopting the OS.

And despite Microsofts recent move to appease its partners concerns, the analyst said he remains unconvinced that the situation will be remedied.

Next Page: Time frames.