Microsoft under fire in Europe over Windows 8 UEFI Secure Boot

By Jos · 29 replies
Mar 26, 2013
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  1. Fresh from a €561 million fine for failing to comply with a previous antitrust agreement, Microsoft is once again being targeted in Europe over their allegedly anti-competitive business practices. This time the complaint focuses on Microsoft’s implementation of UEFI Secure...

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  2. Microsoft should have just also made the UEFI "off-switch" a requirement for the "Certified for Windows 8" badge. Would that have not avoided all of this?
    psycros likes this.
  3. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +243

    So by making windows 8 more secure, EU is fining Microsoft?
    (so Microsoft is funding EU bankruptcy, eh?)
  4. I hope the EU crushes Microsoft over this. What makes Microsoft think they have the right to a monopoly on deciding what gets to run and what doesn't?
  5. @ misor, This makes Windows 8 secure by excatly 0%

    They need to invest more man power into desktop itself and not before even loading windows.
  6. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    If Microsoft offered this as a user selectable option, that is fine. Locking down hardware to only support certain OS's is anti-consumer freedom of choice. To me the EU is perfectly justified and that MS is "making windows 8 more secure" is not relevant if they do something illegal to do it.
    mosu and psycros like this.

    NTAPRO TS Evangelist Posts: 809   +102

    What does all those millions that are fined go to?
  8. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +243

    "While OEMs have the option of providing a way to turn off UEFI so other operating systems can run on the machine, many in the Linux community feared that companies would not provide a UEFI off-switch."

    then EU should force OEMs to have this switch, not Microsoft.

    what the Linux community should do is lobby motherboard manufacturers to produce/release/sell Linux-optimized motherboard with EUFI switch and we'll see what the real consumers want.

    I'm all for competition but I think EU is excessive in fining Microsoft exorbitant fines.

    on another note on ballot browser:
    if EU policy is to be followed, google should be fined because android is the dominant smartphone OS and is not offering ballot browser on smartphones.
    while it is very easy just to download/use any other internet browser, EU enforcing this policy is so...nevermind.
    spectrenad and m4a4 like this.
  9. rculver9056

    rculver9056 TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +7

    It goes to show how far some people would go to prove a point: Who in their right mind would pay for a Windows 8 tablet just so they can complain that they can't install Linux on it?
    Even for those who don't and just complain anyway, it isn't as if there aren't hundreds of other tablets to choose from that will take Linux!

    As for Microsoft enforcing this, it IS a big step to improving security (by stopping malicious code running at boot time), and they have been upfront about this since the developer preview.

    @ the gutless (first) Guest above (log in!) Microsoft aren't really trying to monopolize anything. We are talking about hardware designed to run their OWN SYSTEM, after all!

    In reply to Darth Shiv, if you could disable this, wouldn't it kind of defeat the whole point of having it?

    Finally, as for the EU - well, screw them. They have been very unfair to Microsoft over the last few years. When they forced Microsoft into this browser ballot crap, they should've made Apple and Google do it too. They both use their own defaults for everything, and the user has to figure out how to change it (if they even know they can). It is the same thing you are dissing Microsoft for...

    If you are anti-Win8, use Linux, Google or Apple and stop bitching all over the net about it.
    spectrenad and m4a4 like this.
  10. The issue is what does "secure boot" actually do to protect a computer. The is particularly relevant since most Windows malware is Java applets, Flash issues, or browser issues all of which are independent of the OS. Also, how easy would it be for malware to evade the "secure boot" feature. As I understand it does actually even invoke a file scan; only compares something. Also, are bootloader problems very common or this a solution in search of a problem.
    psycros likes this.
  11. rculver9056

    rculver9056 TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +7

    m4a4 likes this.
  12. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 955   +515

    Amen. I wish MS could just pull out of Europe and then lets see how happy the European Commission will be with all that backlash.
    Whoever on the EU that has a grudge against MS should have got fired a long time ago...
  13. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    There aren't many quality tablets around. EU is saying "you don't get to decide that a user can't put another OS on the hardware". Personally I think having that flexibility is one of the reasons Windows was so successful in the first place.

    I don't disagree with this. The mechanism is nice in certain situations but it's a little too restrictive when owners may want to not use it.

    Provide a secure mechanism to protect enabling or disabling it? Password protected setting that can't be disabled by removing a bios battery etc.
  14. Sphynx

    Sphynx TS Enthusiast Posts: 41

    If it's illegal in the EU to add a feature which the end user can easily disable/remove without any special privilege, the EU is terribly corrupt.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Are there really, "hundreds of other tables that will take Linux", or did you just pull that number out of the air.

    I want to know if you can run Linux on an iPad. And if not, why isn't Apple being called to task on it?

    You can't say, "Apple doesn't have a significant share of the market. In overall computers, perhaps they don't, but in the tablet market, at least for the time being, they're the top dog.

    While this nonsense M$ is pulling prima facia looks harmless enough, they have enough going on with their version of "the app store" to make me think they're trying to close their OS to developers, bit by bit by bit. Slowly, so they think no one will notice.

  16. To fund a bailout of Cyprus.
    Sphynx likes this.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Every time I hear, "the EU is doing this or fining that", And old Rush song seems to lodge itself in my head. It's a thing from "2112" Goes like, this, "We are the priests, of the Temple of Syrinx".... oppressive bunch those priests, kept all the good stuff for themselves..., Anyway, the "Elder Race" came back from space and vanquished those mean old priests once and for all. We can only hope the the EU's "board of directors" meets a similar fate.

    (You have to be really old to make this association, and I'm sorry if you're not old. No wait, that didn't come out right).
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    Congrats Captain!!

    You give me my 100th like and now I give you your 200th like. :)
  19. Divvet

    Divvet TS Member Posts: 57   +19

    UEFI wouldnt be needed if Microsoft just fixed all the security holes in Windows. Linux doesn't require UEFI to be any more secure.

    Google doesn't have a monopoly like Microsoft does, neither does Apple, so complaints about them are just stupid.

    Oh and Apple make their own hardware, its a bit different from the Windows world, that's why they aren't been called up over this for not being able to install a different OS. If Microsoft produced their own hardware, it would be a different story.

    Oh and the EU actually stands up for peoples rights, I'd much rather be under their rule than American rule *Shivers at the thought*
    mosu and havok585 like this.
  20. @Divvet ,
    Apple doesn't make their own hardware. Where did you hear that?
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    The same place they heard this statement, "Linux doesn't require UEFI to be any more secure".

    It doesn't matter which OS you are using. If a highly advanced attacker decides to attack, they will find a way through any defense. This is one of those instances where Microsoft is damned if they do and damned if they don't.
  22. People are still confusing UEFI and Secure/Restricted Boot. SB is a "feature" of UEFI. UEFI itself does not prevent you from installing and booting any OS you like, either via UEFI if the OS has a boot loader capable of that, or via the BIOS compatibility interface otherwise.

    Secure/Restricted Boot is what restricts users. After a huge backlash last year though, Microsoft changed their certification requirements to require that users have an option to disable SB and to manage keys stored in their system.
  23. havok585

    havok585 TS Booster Posts: 155   +27

    I bet u are an american who likes to be spoon fed by MS ever becoming closed ecosystem (just like rotting apple).
  24. havok585

    havok585 TS Booster Posts: 155   +27

    Who do u work for exactly ? seriously?

    Trolling every US company anti abusive decisions are we?
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    Is there a pertinent reason for you starting every post with an ethnic slur?

    'Cause, if you want em back, I got plenty on tap....:eek:

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