Microsoft keeps on squeezing the life out of even more markets...Security vendors are afraid Microsoft might force them out of business with XP's free security software. The Redmond behemoth's latest operating system comes with a free personal firewall and encryption system which have caused concerns of a security monopoly among vendors. Some say the giant might use its dominant position to force smaller European vendors out of business. Declan Grogan, MD of Security Designers, said although a free firewall is good news for system security, Microsoft's desktop monopoly position might lead to problems in the near future. He added: "If users want to use an alternative firewall, they need to go through a driver validation. If the software used isn't part of the MS accreditation programme, the operating system will not install the alternative firewall. This is a major concern in the industry." This has also raised concerns of a US bias. Grogan said: "Microsoft will be looking to partner with all the big US vendors but might forget the smaller ones operating outside the US market." Niall Moynihan, northern European technical director at firewall company Checkpoint, said there are no free lunches offered at Redmond HQ's table. "You get what you pay for, as the saying goes. Lots of people do not trust free software do the job properly," he said. Tony Anscombe, director at firewall specialist Stonesoft, said free software might be good news to those who do not see security as a priority. "The free firewall might appeal to smaller companies but companies with more demanding security requirements might want to look elsewhere," he said. Microsoft was unavailable for a comment.