Software

Vendors cry foul on Halvorsen's Windows 10 recommendation

Shutterstock image. Copyright: T.Dallas

A group of software vendors has written to Defense Secretary Ash Carter in protest over what they say is Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen's "unprecedented" recommendation that DOD personnel adopt the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system for personal use.

Halvorsen's "recommendation cannot be fairly characterized as anything other than a commercial endorsement," wrote Ken Wasch, president of the Software and Information Industry Association.

The Pentagon's top IT official has been bullish on the virtues of adopting Windows 10, but he has caveated those comments by saying he does not formally endorse the product.

"If you're using a computer at home and you're not on Windows 10, you're doing yourself an injustice. So you ought to be moving to Windows 10," Halvorsen said in a recent call with reporters that SIIA cited in its letter.

"We're going to put out some guidance…to our employees in general -- not an endorsement of Windows 10 or Microsoft specifically -- but listing what the characteristics of Windows 10 would give you if you put it in your home system," Halvorsen continued. "[That is] about as close to an endorsement as I can get of a software product."

SIIA's letter to Carter asks Halvorsen to "publicly correct his remarks" and claims that the DOD CIO's comments "have already caused competitive harm."

"Mr. Halvorsen was talking about Windows for those who are current users," a Pentagon spokesperson told FCW.

Defense officials have set a department-wide goal of having all DOD IT systems upgraded to Windows 10 by Jan. 17, 2017. Officials say the move will bolster security and cut costs. Eighty-five percent or more of DOD will meet that deadline, Halvorsen has said, including major enterprise networks such as the Navy's Next Generation Enterprise Network.

Among the multiple media companies that are members of SIAA is 1105 Media, Inc., which owns FCW. Other members include Apple Inc., CenturyLink, and Cisco Systems.

Microsoft has touted the Pentagon's deployment of Windows 10 as an "unprecedented move for a customer with the size and complexity of the DOD."

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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