From this week's print issue of InformationWeek, Larry Greenemeier writes:
Microsoft looks to be a much larger force in security software when it delivers Windows Vista and Longhorn Server next year. Symantec, which sold $2.6 billion worth of security products and services last year, has sued Microsoft, claiming Vista misuses data management technology Symantec owns through its Veritas acquisition. The debate is over storage technology, but the bigger question is who will Microsoft's allies and rivals be as Vista sets new boundaries of what a PC operating system does.
The dispute is over a 1996 agreement in which Veritas licensed to Microsoft its Volume Manager software, which lets data be stored and retrieved across different types of storage devices. Microsoft declined an interview for this story but says in a statement that it bought the rights in 2004 to related technology it's using in Vista and applied for patents of its own. But Symantec, which bought Veritas last year, claims Microsoft is wrongly using the technology to make competing products. "The idea was not to give Microsoft our IP so that it could be used against us," says Michael Schallop, director of legal affairs at Symantec.
Symantec asked the court to prevent Microsoft from distributing Vista while the disputed technology is included. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week downplayed the risk, saying it wouldn't delay Vista. "For Symantec, this is about survival as Microsoft threatens to move more into Symantec's space," says Bruce Sunstein, head of law firm Bromberg & Sunstein's patent practice.
Symantec's suit alleges that, "over the course of nearly a decade, Microsoft has deliberately and surreptitiously misappropriated" Symantec's data storage technologies, misled the government into issuing patents to Microsoft based on technologies invented by Veritas, attempted to persuade Symantec to forgive Microsoft's "misdeeds" under the guise of expanding their business relationship, and built portions of its next-generation operating system "on this house of cards."
Read the full article here.