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September 27, 2006

Microsoft rumors and rants – September 27, 2006

Posted by David Hunter at 1:19 PM ET.

Microsoft to buy eBay? This one has been around for a while, but yesterday traders looking for any light at the end of the eBay tunnel drove up shares over 5% based on this and other wishful thinking.

Why the PlayStation 3 Will Bankrupt Sony. Interesting assessment of the financial hurdles Sony will face in subsidizing the pricey PlayStation 3, although the suggestion that Sony may sell their videogame division to Microsoft seems a bit farfetched.

These corporate takeover rumors are a little remote, but here’s one closer to home – Microsoft May Use Incentives to Tempt Users to ‘Soapbox’. Rewarding frequent users at social networking sites seems to be the latest Web 2.0 thing. I guess it helps to break the ice.

Uh-Oh – Microsoft antivirus software gets the jump on Windows zero days:

Microsoft Corp’s antivirus software knows about in-the-wild zero-day attacks against Windows products before the company has officially acknowledged they exist.

It’s an interesting predicament for Microsoft, which will often find itself in the position of wearing both the “vendor” and sometimes the “discoverer” hats when trying to play by the responsible disclosure rulebook.

Commercial vulnerability researchers have generally agreed not to release full information about security holes until a patch is available, on the basis that the information would also be useful to would-be attackers.

One time that agreement breaks down is when the attackers already know about the vulnerability and are actively exploiting it. In this case, discoverers will often release more information, to help users protect themselves while waiting for a patch.

In this case, it appears that Microsoft knew about the zero-day attacks, but had not yet disclosed that fact.

Then there is this Neelie Kroes bait – Symantec accuses Microsoft of withholding Vista security APIs:

Symantec has partnerships with equipment manufacturers Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Sony and Toshiba, among others. The antivirus vendor is worried that Microsoft will hand over the APIs so late that Symantec won’t be able to make its antivirus software compatible with Vista in time.

“Microsoft will provide information about two days before the October shipment date, and say “We’ve given you the APIs”. Now we’re good, but we’re not good enough [to integrate Norton with Defender] in that time,” said a Symantec spokesperson.

Speaking of Neelie Kroes, she apparently spotted another reporter:

The European Commission’s Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told a Dutch newspaper this week that she was pressured by the United States government to go easy on Microsoft. In the article, she criticized government officials for interfering in an EU matter.

Representatives have confirmed that Kroes was annoyed by the U.S. government’s attempts to intervene, although she wouldn’t say it herself. “In my work, I cannot have a preference,” she told the Financieele Dagblad. “I have, however, a personal opinion, but that is for Saturday night.”

Stunned by the thought of Neelie Kroes as a party animal, I’ll only observe that this is old news and wonder why she thinks anyone would mistake her for an impartial arbiter after all her grandstanding for the press. Maybe the EU could get her predecessor Mario Monti back and return a little professionalism to the office of Competition Commissioner?

And while we’re talking about software that won’t work on Vista, Mary Jo Foley points to an unofficial application compatibility list for Vista. It’s not bad at all, but not comprehensive at this point either.

As for Vista itself, Robert McLaws wonders What’s the deal with all these analysts? His objection is to all the various analyst theories that Vista won’t be ready in November in the USA at least.

Finally, Ed Bott spanks Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage program again in Microsoft admits WGA failures “coming up more commonly now:”

Scrolling through the posts on Microsoft’s official WGA Validation Problems forum is like reading accident reports from a multiple-car pileup on Interstate 5. Many of the victims are completely innocent and have no idea what hit them, and cleaning up the mess can be a nightmare.

Maybe they can get a new product key by posting frequently on MSN Soapbox?

Filed under Acquisitions, Antitrust, Coopetition, General Business, Genuine Advantage, Governmental Relations, Legal, Licensing, MSN, MSN Soapbox, Microsoft, OS - Client, Public Relations, Security, Sony, Symantec, Technologies, Viruses and Worms, Windows Vista, Xbox, eBay

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2 Responses to “Microsoft rumors and rants – September 27, 2006”

  1. McAfee joins the anti-Microsoft chorus and the EU ups the ante -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Last week Symantec complained that Microsoft was being very stingy with information on the APIs they needed to join the Vista party. Now McAfee chimes in: McAfee got in on the action today with a full-page ad in the print edition of the Financial Times. The ad accuses Microsoft of engaging in dangerous practices that are creating “inherent weaknesses” in Windows Vista. And by “inherent weaknesses,” McAfee means limitations on what their own products can do. [...]

  2. Genuine Advantage comes to Office -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage program for detecting unlicensed copies of Windows has a less than sterling reputation as I’ve mentioned previously, but that didn’t keep Microsoft from quietly implementing it on Friday for Microsoft Office under the name Office Genuine Advantage: Microsoft on Friday made an anti-piracy check by Microsoft Office XP and 2003 mandatory for users of most versions of the application suite, the company said. [...]

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