Some Microsoft tidbits in the news...
From Internet Week: Microsoft's IE Losing Users
Granted, losing 1.8% in three months isn't much. But it's the first time that's ever happened. Good signs for those who are champions of choice.
From the Indianapolis Star: Microsoft Warns Big Clients Early On Security Patches
Apparently Microsoft has a quiet program designed to give large clients an early heads-up on security issues related to Microsoft products. I find this practice right up there with corporations who used to give certain analysts and brokers advance peeks at their quarterly earnings so that they could act in advance of the general market. This is just flat wrong.
From Netcraft: Exploit For Microsoft JPEG Flaw Is Published
The genie is out of the bottle on this one... Script kiddies can now pile on and start attacking boxes. Turning off HTML images in your email is sounding like a better idea all the time...
From eWeek: JPEG Bug Raises Many Questions
Larry Seltzer writes:
After reading the descriptions I've read, I have to say I'm surprised at the sloppiness of the code in the error. It sounds like a very elementary error and one that should have been caught.
And speaking of when it should have been caught, TruSecure's Russ Cooper raises an excellent point when he points out that this bug was probably found some time ago. It had been found for Service Pack 2 and must have been so a while ago, so why wasn't it fixed in SP1 earlier?
One can only imagine that they thought SP2 was a higher priority, and perhaps they were also comforted by the fact that the vulnerability wasn't generally announced yet. Now, I have to wonder how many other problems were found in the SP2 project that are still lurking in SP1 until Microsoft gets around to patching them there.
From eWeek: Is Microsoft Poised To Sue OpenOffice Licensees?
Mary Jo Foley writes:
Fear has been mounting in the open-source community that Microsoft could start suing users at any time for alleged patent violations.
That possibility became even more worrisome to some with a new disclosure by Sun Microsystems this week regarding terms of its sweeping legal settlement with Microsoft, hammered out earlier this year.
According to the settlement between the two, Microsoft and Sun agreed not to sue each other or their respective customers for patent infringements that were alleged to have occurred before April 2004, as well as 10 years into the future.
But a new SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filing by Sun notes in the fine print that while Sun's StarOffice product is covered under this patent-infringement clause, OpenOffice is not.
Not only is Microsoft allowed to sue any company–including Sun–for alleged patent violations connected with OpenOffice, but Sun is required to provide Microsoft with legal help in bringing such lawsuits against OpenOffice users.
"The language in the settlement contract in which Microsoft reserves the right to file a lawsuit against OpenOffice users is not all that unusual," concurred Yankee Group senior analyst Laura DiDio. "I believe Microsoft is hedging its bets and leaving all potential areas of redress open to the company."
"That said," DiDio continued, "I do not believe Microsoft is currently constructing a strategy or scenario in the near or intermediate terms to quash OpenSource via litigation. So, while it's undeniably possible that Microsoft could sue OpenOffice users, the probability is low—at least for the next two years."
OpenOffice has barely made a dent in Microsoft's massive market share for desktop office suites. But "if OpenOffice mounts a serious challenge to Office three, four or five years down the road and we see Office experiencing market erosion similar to that of NetWare against Windows NT, then Microsoft would fiercely defend its turf," she predicted.
If Microsoft were to ever take that path, it would endear them to the user community at just about the same level of SCO. Still, when your cash cow is being sliced up for hamburger patties, you may just end up doing whatever you can to keep the cow alive.
From eWeek: Study Shows Visual Studio .NET Tops WebSphere
Microsoft Corp. has commissioned a study showing that its .Net development environment is more productive than comparable Java environments, a top company executive said at the VSLive! Orlando conference here.
Microsoft Developer Division Corporate Vice President Soma Somasegar said Microsoft commissioned The Middleware Co. Inc. to study productivity and performance comparisons between Microsoft's Visual Studio .Net 2003 and IBM's WebSphere and other tools, and Microsoft fared significantly better.
I haven't read the study, nor do I have any plans to. But I would like to commend eWeek for prominently stating that the study had a sponsor, and not surprisingly the sponsor ended up having the better software.