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Security Solution Providers Divided Over Microsoft Ruling
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 00:37:10 -0500 (CDT)


By Marcia Savage, CRN
San Francisco
6:18 PM EST Thurs., June 28, 2001 

Solution providers specializing in security were divided over
Thursday's federal appeals court decision to overturn a lower court's
order to break Microsoft into two companies.

From a security perspective, the ruling is positive, says Joel
Scambray, managing principal at Foundstone, an Irvine, Calif.-based
security-services firm.

"I think forcing a company to become distracted with these legal
proceedings and the prospect of a breakup is never going to be good
for security," he says. "Microsoft has got to do its homework on
security, and taking them to court doesn't help them do that. Taking
this off their docket will help them focus on what they should be

Dan McCall, executive vice president at Waltham, Mass.-based
security-services firm Guardent, says the ruling is encouraging.

"Microsoft, under Steve Lipner's group, has built a strong security
arm to ensure the quality of their products and to be responsive to
bugs and create patches," he says. "We were wondering how that would
play out in a decentralized Microsoft. Would each business unit invest
in having that type of security arm? My guess is they wouldn't."

Lipner is the manager of Microsoft's Security Response Center.

But Microsoft hasn't been very responsive to customers' security needs
in its software, and this ruling doesn't appear to help, says Bob
Geiger, information security director at Xand, a Hawthorne, N.Y.-based
managed service provider.

"This ruling could be damaging to the extent if a company is allowed
to keep doing business the same way, then there's no incentive to
become more responsive to their customers when it comes to security,"
he says.

However, Todd Barrett, network sales manager, CPU Sales and Service, a
Waltham-based solution provider that offers security products and
services, says the ruling likely will have an overall positive impact
in light of the economic downturn.

"Given the economy and the way away the tech world is going right now,
this is probably a positive," he says. "Whether we like or don't like
Microsoft, at least it provides some stability in knowing where
Microsoft is going. If there was going to be a breakup, there would be
uncertainty, and uncertainty always hurts Wall Street."

Jim Kelton, president of Software Unlimited, an IT consulting company
based in Irvine, Calif., says he expected the higher court to rule in
Microsoft's favor.

"At the present time, I don't anticipate a change in Microsoft's
marketing tactics. Microsoft will continue to focus on their .Net
strategy to support the future direction of their company," Kelton

"In the past, Microsoft's revenue was closely tied with new product
releases and application upgrades," he adds. "Their new approach,
.Net, will allow Microsoft to generate cash flow on a more evenly
spread and predictable basis."

Foundstone's Scambray says he's testing the next versions of the
Windows operating system, Windows XP and Whistler Server, and is
impressed by their functionality and enhanced security features.

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