Incoming European Union (EU) Competition Directorate-General Philip Lowe warned Microsoft yesterday that its upcoming security plan, Trustworthy Computing (code-named Palladium), shouldn't exclude the company's competitors. Speaking at a conference sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute, Lowe said that the EU will ensure that "\[Microsoft\] competitors have the capacity to offer the range of services they want to provide, including security. We have always emphasized ... interoperability."

Microsoft will initially include Palladium in a future Windows version, possibly Longhorn, which is due in 2004. To run, the software will require a special hardware platform, leading to concerns that Microsoft competitors--especially those in the Linux and Macintosh camps--will be excluded. However, Microsoft downplays these fears, noting that Palladium is still in the planning stages and will be designed to run on numerous platforms.

"We're building the development process to be a collaborative industry initiative," said John Manferdelli, general manager of the Microsoft "Palladium" Business Unit, which the company secretly created last fall. "We understand this kind of process can only work if every stakeholder trusts the process and has an opportunity to participate. Plus, the Palladium technology must be broadly adopted to be fully effective. It's not something that will belong to only one company; it's something that everyone across the landscape of computing needs to be invested in."