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September 29, 2006

Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, September 29, 2006

Posted by David Hunter at 4:00 PM ET.

Some Microsoft related news items from this week that did not find posts of their own:

Internet advertising shoots past estimates:

This week the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers released their half year figures for 2006, and it totalled up to a $7.9bn spend in the US. At the end of last year these same two forecast a $15bn market for US advertising and last quarter gave a heads up that it had already reached $3.9bn, growing at 38 per cent, rather than the 30 per cent plus that was originally forecast. This quarter took it beyond $4bn up 36 per cent and the likely result for the year end is going to be closer to $16.5bn, perhaps higher

And while we’re doing market stats, over 100 million Americans viewed video online in July according to comScore Media Metrix. There’s potential there for MSN Soapbox but currently Yahoo and MySpace are duking it out for the lead with Microsoft’s sites in 5th place.

IDC predicts end of BlackBerry’s reign. The would-be usurpers are Nokia, Motorola, and Palm of which the latter two use Windows Mobile and Microsoft Exchange. Windows Mobile devices are predicted to have a third of the market by 2010.

Mary Jo Foley reminds us that October 10 is the last day that Microsoft will support Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1).

It’s not just Symantec – European security vendors are concerned that Microsoft is abusing their Windows monopoly too.

The BBC and Microsoft signed a non-exclusive agreement to talk to each other. Apparently the humor is unintended. Also on the agenda of this year’s junket of BBC bigs to the USA are RealNetworks, IBM, and Linden Labs. Could more signing ceremonies be in the offing?

Filed under Advertising, Antitrust, Exchange, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, MSN, MSN Video, Microsoft, OS - Client, Obsolescence, Public Relations, Servers, Windows Mobile, Windows XP

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Another bad week for Microsoft’s patching efforts

Posted by David Hunter at 3:33 PM ET.

First Microsoft had to rush out a patch for a zero-day exploit that couldn’t wait until October’s monthly “patch Tuesday.” Then came word that the pesky author of FairUse4WM had once again bypassed Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management. That would be more than bad enough for most weeks, but it turns out that it was just the beginning:

Attackers targeting new PowerPoint bug:

Attackers have been exploiting a newly discovered bug in Microsoft’s Office presentation software in extremely targeted attacks, McAfee Inc. reported Wednesday.

Researchers were made aware of the attacks when a customer submitted two different malicious PowerPoint files, both of which exploited the same vulnerability, said Craig Schmugar, a virus researcher at McAfee. Both files installed malicious remote access Trojan software that then attempted to connect to an outside Web server, he said.

Microsoft issued a security advisory on the matter Wednesday, saying that the issue affects users of Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office 2003, and Microsoft Office XP, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 for Mac. Microsoft’s advisory can be found here.

Meanwhile, Microsoft still scrambling to patch July bugs:

It has become a familiar pattern: A hacker posts exploit code to a security Web site; Microsoft follows soon after with a warning to customers.

The pattern was repeated again Thursday, only this time Microsoft’s warning that it is investigating “new public reports” of a critical bug in Windows comes more than two months after sample code showing how to take advantage of the flaw was posted to the Web. Microsoft’s advisory can be found here.

The flaw that Microsoft warned about is in an ActiveX control (called WebViewFolderIcon) used by the Windows’ graphical user interface software. It was first disclosed on July 18 as part of a month-long project by hacker HD Moore to expose problems in browser software. Moore’s blog post on the flaw can be found here.

Moore called his project the “Month of Browser Bugs” and ended up disclosing a total of 22 Microsoft vulnerabilities during the period.

So far, Microsoft has patched only two of Moore’s flaws. In fact, Microsoft engineers haven’t even been able to investigate close to a third of the vulnerabilities, Moore said.

Microsoft has even more work ahead of it, according to Moore. In early August, he handed Microsoft another 70 bugs that he had not publicly disclosed.

Too bad exploits aren’t a cash crop.

On the other hand, patching them seems to be endless amusement – Microsoft Repatches Third August Patch:

The same day that Microsoft Corp. went out-of-cycle to issue a fix for a critical flaw in Internet Explorer, it also re-released a security update that had corrupted data on some users’ PCs. It was the third patch from August’s batch that has had to be re-issued.

Microsoft has recently had to regularly re-issue patches, occasionally multiple times, to fix newly introduced bugs or overlooked flaws.

Filed under Microsoft, Patch Tuesday, Security

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Yahoo corrals HP PC buyers

Posted by David Hunter at 11:25 AM ET.

First it was Google and Dell, now it’s Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard:

Yahoo Inc. said Thursday it has struck a deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. to plant its Internet search engine on millions of computers, the latest volley in a high-stakes battle with Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

The agreement requires HP to set up its desktop and notebook PCs in North America so Yahoo’s search engine appears in the toolbar of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7, the next version of the Web’s most widely used browser. Yahoo is hoping that the tool bar will generate more search requests, providing a springboard for more ad revenue.

For PCs sold in Europe, HP will program the settings so Yahoo will be the automatic home page.

Yahoo didn’t disclose how much it will pay HP to spotlight its search engine — a detail that Google also left out in its Dell deal.

It’s no real surprise that the OEMs are monetizing their preloads since they have always tried to, but one can’t help but wonder if Microsoft is even participating in the bidding.

Filed under Coopetition, Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft, Yahoo

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Microsoft beta roundup – Forefront for SharePoint and more

Posted by David Hunter at 10:56 AM ET.

Some new Microsoft betas this week (so far):

Microsoft Launches Forefront Security for SharePoint Beta

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 28) is launching the public beta of Forefront Security for SharePoint® ( This latest release of Microsoft® Forefront security products for businesses is based on Antigen for SharePoint Server, the multi-engine security solution acquired by Microsoft as part of the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.

Forefront Security for SharePoint is optimized to provide advanced protection for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows® SharePoint Services 3.0. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies facilitate easy collaboration across an organization, connecting people, processes and systems within and beyond organizational boundaries. Forefront Security for SharePoint uses the combined power of multiple antivirus engines from leading security providers to protect against viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content.

While we’re on the subject, Microsoft was also touting Gartner’s glowing assessment of their email security offerings including including Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.

Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon
. It’s the replacement in Vista of ActiveSynch for synching up mobile devices with a Vista machine. It was AWOL in Vista RC1.

Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 was released. The scripting tool (codenamed “Monad”) for system administration tasks is expected to ship in the 4th quarter and/or embedded in Exchange 2007 when it ships.

The Windows Live Writer blogging tool beta got an update which fixed a number of problems in the original beta released in August.

Windows Live Expo started a limited beta in the UK.

Microsoft Releases First Broad Beta Developer Kit for .NET Micro Framework:

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 26) released a beta developer kit for the Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework, a new development platform for use with devices that are typically constrained by cost, memory, processor and/or power consumption. Announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the .NET Micro Framework broad beta extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio® toolset into a class of the smallest of devices.

The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft.

Here’s an explanation:

The framework currently provides the software platform for all Smart Watches for MSN Direct. Additionally, the company plans to include it in Windows Vista SideShow displays and in an upcoming version of Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, the statements say.

Filed under .NET Micro Framework, Acquisitions, Antigen, Beta and CTP, Exchange, Forefront, Hosted Services, MSN, MSN Direct, Microsoft, Microsoft TV, OS - Client, OS - Server, Office, PowerShell, SPOT, Servers, Service Providers, SharePoint Server, Sybari, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo, Windows Live Writer, Windows SharePoint Services, Windows Vista

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