Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Don’t Blame Me, I’m Only the Windows User

Windows PCs face ‘huge’ virus threat
By Kevin Allison in San Francisco

Computer security experts were grappling with the threat of a new weakness in Microsoft's
Windows operating system that could put hundreds of millions of PCs at risk of infection by spyware or viruses.

That’s from today’s FT.com—the web site of the Financial Times of London.

I know some readers will accuse me of grinding my ax on poor old Microsoft again, just a few days after my final 2005 post stating that the undermining of the Microsoft desktop software monopoly was the biggest news story of the year—but believe me, I didn’t intend to start the new year attacking the Evil Empire.

It's just that stuff, as they say, happens. And it happened over the weekend, when my Microsoft Hotmail inbox started
automatically moving emails from my inbox to my trash can.

I am not making that up.

For about half a day I thought the unusually small number—i.e. zero—of emails in my Hotmail inbox merely reflected the fact that not a lot of people were cranking out emails over the weekend.

But then in the course of finishing up year-end business I sent myself an email from a Google Mail account established last year as a back-up to Hotmail.

The email never arrived.

Actually, what I discovered was that it had arrived but was immediately transferred to my trash can—without me doing a thing.

This morning I found 6 emails in my Microsoft inbox, and
26 unread, unseen emails in my Microsoft trash can.

I suppose I should thank Bill Gates for deciding what is really important and what can be discarded without viewing.

I also suppose I should contact Microsoft’s so-called Help Desk and tell them about my new Hotmail problem. But if they are as useless as they were the last time I had a major Hotmail problem (it took me 4 weeks to receive a response to my email requesting help), I would rather spend the time simply moving the rest of my email business to the Google Mail account I established during the last major Hotmail problem.

And if readers still think I am being too tough on Microsoft here, well, check out the following from today’s FT.com article:

Unlike most attacks, which require victims to download or execute a suspect file, the new vulnerability makes it possible for users to infect their computers with spyware or a virus simply by viewing a web page, e-mail or instant message that contains a contaminated image.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2005 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations.


Its_strange said...

And there are reports Google will offer a PC with its own operating system . Something for a few $100. This is getting interesting . Perhaps soon we can do a peice " Who won the week ? GOOG or MSFT " you know...like the political shows

npugypok said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
npugypok said...

It turns out gmail isn't free of problems. This information is a couple of months old, but it made me think whether I should switch to another e-mail service. Google operating system - no thanks.

Gmail accounts 'wide open to exploit'

step by step guide how to exploit Gmail vulnerability

From the second page:

"OK, it's a Beta version, and they don't have to report anything. But if they would have recognized it and published a thank you note, this information wouldn't had been published. We have 3 ways to get to the same result, the others 2 are quite easier, and because of that easily we can deduce that it's a multibug, and a design error. With all these clues, they will not take too much to discover new methods."

Jeff D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff D said...

It's really mind boggling to watch Google stock ascend virtually every day! It's now worth the same as IBM. Mind boggling.....

Gone to the blogs said...

In (halfhearted) defense of MSFT, Google's "support" is just about non-existent, too.

Ed said...

This is the rumor that has the potential to ruin microsoft:

"Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

Bear Stearns analysts speculated in a research report last month that consumers would soon see something called "Google Cubes" — a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.

Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, will give a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Analysts suspect that Page will use the opportunity either to show off a Google computing device or announce a partnership with a big retailer to sell such a machine."


shinkdew said...

You can already buy a computer for a few hundred dollars, why would people buy a Google computer? Google is slowly losing focus of what made them Google, search. This will be their downfall.

Alex Khenkin said...

Jeff, with upwards of 90% of the world's computers running Windows (a system of staggering complexity) and millions of bright minds having nothing better to do with their time than trying to find a flaw in it - I'm shocked, shocked! to learn that every now and then one of them succeeds.
Small Investor Chronicles

BDG123 said...

I am not so sure that the demise of Microsoft is at hand. But, the progession of technology will bite at their heals and likely force them to adopt new strategies or face significant changes in current trend. As pathetic as Microsoft's support is, I can assure you, especially in the business world, CIOs are not going to likely pull out all of the hundreds of thousands of applications written around Windows to cut their acquisition costs by $20 a pc. I could even argue a TCO could be built, as I've seen some pretty compelling studies, that Linux is more expensive for a company to digest. Training, new help desk applications, new software, still paying support to Red Hat, IBM or whomever, etc, etc, etc. If a desktop PC costs $500, how much are you really quibbling about in the agreement to preload Windows? $70 bucks? The old phrase that you never got fired for buying IBM now also applies to MS.

Consumers? Are you kidding? They can't even figure out their TV remote. And they are going to move to Linux? Uhhh? Not! And do what with all of their apps? Never say never. It's just not now.

And for those who believe trends last forever and crucified me for saying the unknown will eventually bite Sirius and XM, digital terrestrial radio was just announced this week and Motorola just announced a music service with 500 channels that works with cell phones, car radios, etc.


Funny, how competition is created once someone figures out there is gold in them thar hills. What's next? Who knows. But I do know it will include more competition for SIRI and XM thus creating even more concern over their ridiculous valuations.

tahoe kid said...

Jeff d -

While Google's market cap is $128B vs. IBM's $129B, IBM's EV is $142B. Google's EV is $120B. If one is doing comps why does Dell sell for 14x book, the same as Google?

Chug-A-Bug said...


The Motorola iRadio is a joke. Come on, this is a device that, for $7 a month, lets you record music onto a cellphone docked on a computer for later playback.

It's the worst of all worlds.

I hope your commute is shorter than the 2 hour time limit on the phone, and that you remember to dock and download each night, or it might get a little repetitive.

XM might give you a buying opportunity here if they don't touch their 6 million target tonight. You won't get too many of these.

Good luck.

dkman said...

It does seem that GOOG is grasping at straws (AOL acquisition, PC announcement) in order to meet the ever-growing growth/earnings expectations.

At the same time (as the WSJ pointed out last week), the insiders there are selling at a fairly high rate.

I have been a GOOG bear since the stock hit $300, but now it looks like the momentum is turning.

The stock is running into some formidable resistance now. Today is shaping up to be a second high-volume reversal in less than a month.

I have made this call (prematurely and unsuccessfully) before, but I am more and more convinced that the top is nigh.

Johnny Debacle said...

What's happened to your blog? MSFT and OSTK, MSFT and OSTK, but without any good or insightful analysis.

The story of the year is the non-story of the year since how many computers consuming the Chronic are running Windows? Well it's possible that no Windows PC's were used to produce it, it's also unlikely. The creators are these guys, http://www.thelonelyisland.com/, who all work for SNL in some capacity now, and based on the content they have produced (the Nintendo animation, music, videos) I'm 95% sure that they have used and do use Windows PCs for creating their stuff, possibly in conjunction with Macs, but I don't think your point was "Some producers of art use Macs!" it was "M$ Is Going Down!!" or something.

And now a computer program has a virus and your email account doesn't work. Is that different than any other provider of email or OS's? They all get viruses and have problems and it's generally positively correlated with the number of users.

Blogger regularily doesn't work, loses posts, lacks stability and is feature poor. And yet it's not made by MSFT, it's owned by GOOG. Wordpress, a competitor to Google's Blogger, has had exploits and issues with their blogging software despite being an open source web-app with no OS dependence.

What is my point? Most people use software that works well enough and is convenient because they are sane. The perfect software, the perfect OS, the perfect blogging tool would never be used because it can never be made. Good enough is what people are looking for and MS tends to make products that are competitive and good enough.


yanor said...

All this talk about a google computer is interesting as there is already a free computer financed for philanthropical purposes by a Taiwanese billionaire (see http://asiatotal.net). Interestingly enough, for no lack of trying the folks at asiatotal can't get any traction. Seems like people either don't want a free computer or will only want one from people they know. Like google.

Jeff D said...

You can't really blame insiders for moving Google at an all-time high.

Most of them probably have 95% of their net worth tied up in the stock. Might as well diversify when the options are in the money.