You want a good, solid, free antivirus program? Microsoft Security Essentials fills the bill nicely. Unfortunately, even though it was officially released more than a year ago, it’s still one of the best-kept secrets in personal computing. Its installed base of 30 million users worldwide might sound big in raw numbers, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the billion-plus Windows PCs in use.
All that’s about to change, as Microsoft has now begun delivering Microsoft Security Essentials via Microsoft Update to customers in the United States (a pilot program in the UK started earlier this year). If Windows detects that you’re currently running without up-to-date antivirus protection, this is what you’ll see in the Optional Updates section:
read more Microsoft tempts antitrust lawyers with expanded antivirus offering | ZDNet.
Microsoft has been at the top of the heap for almost as long as people have used PCs. They’ve managed to sustain an overwhelming competitive advantage, even after a decade’s worth of antitrust action and the astonishing transformation of Apple into a profit-making machine that has built one billion-dollar business after another while the entire rest of the tech industry is stuck in neutral. Indeed, the presence of Apple and Google as direct competitors suggests that maybe Microsoft is overdue to take a tumble.
There is never a shortage of Apple-versus-Microsoft yammering in the blogosphere, but I haven’t seen much in the way of actual data. Is Apple really making a dent in Microsoft’s long-standing Windows monopoly?
Read more Microsoft vs. Apple: Who’s winning? The numbers don’t lie | ZDNet.
Well, Google has taken the next step in its world domination plan, banning Microsoft Windows from internal use.
Employees will be given the choice between Apple’s Mac OS and Linux.
Adding insult to injury, Google is also publicly citing Windows security problems for the decision and blaming Windows vulnerabilities for the China hacking incident.
So that’s 20,000+ Windows licenses that won’t be sold and renewed at Google in future years.
Given that Google is in the process of introducing a competitive platform and operating system (Android/Chrome), this move isn’t surprising. The important question for Microsoft is whether other companies will follow suit.
via Google Dumps Microsoft Windows Company-Wide — Blames Windows For China Hacking Attack.
April security fixes for Windows will not install if the user’s machine is infected with the Alureon rootkit.
The company’s latest security patches, released on April 16, will spot the rootkit if present and refuse to continue with installation. The Alureon rootkit was responsible for crashes in February’s security updates, including Blue Screen of Death errors for XP users due to the way it interacted with the KB977165 patch, which required kernel access.
via Microsoft patches fail on infected Windows | Tech News on ZDNet.
A US Court of Appeals panel has upheld a judgement that Microsoft infringed on another company’s patent with its custom XML tags in Word 2003 and Word 2007.
The judges were asked to reconsider a 2009 ruling regarding i4i’s patent, which covers a “method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other”. Microsoft lost its first appeal in December, and then lodged a second appeal for a panel hearing and for an ‘en banc review’ before the full appeals court. The Texas federal circuit panel’s decision on Wednesday is part of that process.
via Judges uphold Word patent-infringement ruling | Tech News on ZDNet.
Microsoft is re-releasing the patch that caused Windows systems to crash in February with a Blue Screen of Death.
The software maker has re-written the installation package for the update, MS10-015, and will push it out automatically to users. It has written logic into the update to prevent the fix from being installed if the Alureon rootkit is present, it said in a Microsoft Security Response Center statement on Tuesday.
The Alureon rootkit, which makes changes to the operating system kernel, caused the February crashes, according to Microsoft.
via Microsoft re-releases Blue Screen of Death fix | Tech News on ZDNet.
Ray Ozzie’s ambitious plan to revitalize Microsoft’s software, beef up its services, and kick the crap out of Google
It can’t be easy being Ray Ozzie. Microsoft’s chief software architect is just 18 months into the job as Bill Gates’ handpicked successor, yet depending on whom you ask, his tenure will either signal a bold new era for the company or mark the beginning of its terminal decline.
From the perspective of Microsoft shareholders, the picture certainly looks grim. After a decade of timid stock performance, the fiscal year that ended June 2009 saw Microsoft’s net revenue decrease for the first time in its history. It also announced its first-ever layoffs and has since exceeded its original estimate of 5,000 pink slips. But worst of all, for the first time in recent memory, Microsoft confronts a rival of goliath proportions that actually seems capable of going the distance with the software giant.
via Microsoft vs. Google: The empire strikes back | Windows – InfoWorld.
Some Windows users reported on Thursday that they were getting the “blue screen of death” on their computers when they installed Microsoft’s latest security updates released two days earlier.
Most of the people complaining on a Windows forum said they had the problem on Windows XP, but one person also reported problems on Windows 7.
Users posted a fix on the site that they said seemed to work, but that didn’t necessarily quell the anger.
“Where at Microsoft do I send my invoice for hours spent fixing this BS?” one person wrote on Thursday.
via Windows security update causes ‘blue screen of death’ for some | InSecurity Complex – CNET News.
A flaw that has been present in Microsoft software since 1993, and still affects Windows 7, has been published by a security researcher.
Tavis Ormandy published details of the flaw on the Neohapsis mailing list on Tuesday.
The problem lies in the Virtual DOS Machine, Heise security explained on Wednesday.
“Microsoft isn’t having an easy time of it these days,” said the Heise article. “In addition to the unpatched hole in Internet Explorer, a now published hole in Windows allows users with restricted access to escalate their privileges to system level – and this is believed to be possible on all 32-bit versions of Windows from Windows NT 3.1 up to, and including Windows 7.”
via 17-year-old Microsoft flaw affects Windows 7 – ZDNet.co.uk.
Although its name suggests perhaps even grander capabilities, Windows enthusiasts are excited over the discovery of a hidden “GodMode” feature that lets users access all of the operating system’s control panels from within a single folder.
By creating a new folder in Windows 7 and renaming it with a certain text string at the end, users are able to have a single place to do everything from changing the look of the mouse pointer to making a new hard-drive partition.
via Understanding Windows 7′s ‘GodMode’ | Beyond Binary – CNET News.