Kirk Sigmon

Microsoft is being anti-competitive (again)

Microsoft is at it again. This time, they are trying to get vendors to lock down hardware via a new Secure Boot feature, effectively preventing other (i.e. GNU/Linux-based) OSes from being installed:

There’s no technical reason why MS would support disabling Secure Boot for one CPU architecture but enabling it for another, which leaves us with non-technical justifications — of which there are plenty. By locking out alternate OS’s, MS ensures that Windows customers stay Windows customers.

Microsoft has responded to complaints about this, albeit in a kind of awkward, “get the hell off my lawn” sort of way.

Some quick thoughts:

  1. This is an antitrust suit waiting to happen.
  2. Despite (1), this isn’t going to stop anybody.  Reverse engineers of Windows products are always faster than Microsoft.  Hell, Hazar’s RemoveWAT was around before the final build of Windows 7 hit stores, if I remember correctly.
  3. This is going to destroy a lot of goodwill that Microsoft has built up in the past few years.  Where Microsoft has (somewhat) behaved itself recently and refrained from making ridiculous attempts at creating monopolies, behavior like this smacks of “old Microsoft”, and it’s going to cede territory to Apple.  Where Apple is already being critiqued for being too restrictive and leaning too heavily on the walled garden, Microsoft needs to go the opposite direction and become the corporate equivalent of the cool older brother that is cool with a lot of stuff.  That’s how you build up goodwill with programmers and techies, who wield a lot more power than the (oblivious) regular consumer.

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