Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has released an official statement telling users that Samsung Electronic Co Ltd (KRX:005930)’s attempts to block Windows Update are not in line with its practices and may open users up to a series of security issues. Microsoft’s own Patrick Barker said earlier today that he found a program on select Samsung laptops that stopped Windows from updating as intended.
Windows 8.1, and the rest of the Windows world, gains strength from unity. There is only one current version of the operating system and necessary updates are pushed through unless a user opts out of the program by themselves. The accusation of update-blocking has lead to a war of words between the firms.
Microsoft jumps on Samsung software block
Mr Barker said that the software was “disabling Windows Update from working as the user intends it to.” If windows Update was set to work manually by the user, the Samsung program would reverse that decision every time the PC was rebooted.
He added that “It doesn’t appear to uninstall properly,” and that parts of the software would stick around even after a user went through the process of deleting them. Mr. Barker stressed the importance of Windows Update to Microsoft users.
“We do not recommend disabling or modifying Windows Update in any way as this could expose a customer to increased security risks,” he said. Samsung responded to his criticism in a confusing way.
A spokesperson for the firm says that the piece of software still lets users “download the newest drives, updates and software for your Windows PC”. It does not let them do so automatically according to Barker. That’s a situation that could cause a lot of trouble for the less tech-savvy owners of Samsung PCs.
Microsoft tries to keep Windows from breaking
Microsoft released an official statement on the Samsung change to the working of Windows Update. It read:
Windows Update remains a critical component of our security commitment to our customers. We do not recommend disabling or modifying Windows Update in any way as this could expose a customer to increased security risks. We are in contact with Samsung to address this issue.
The line is clear, and Samsung has crossed it. Microsoft does not allow large modification of its operating system like Google does with Android, but it does allow firms to add their own software to a PC before shipping. Sometimes that software doubles a Windows function, and sometimes it directly replaces it.
Samsung said that the original change was made in order to preserve specific driver files which Windows Update was over-writing, but the firm appears to have backed away from that explanation in favors of one that balances on the firm offering a simple choice to its PC users.
Windows is one of the most important assets that Microsoft has, and the firm can’t afford to let a company like Samsung alter it and make the user experience worse.
Google Inc allowed Samsung and other firms to do just that with its handset OS, and it is now broken beyond all recognition. The variety of forms of Android out there makes it much harder for devs to work on the system.
That, and leaving users open to data theft and other issues, is why Microsoft must force Samsung to change its ways.