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Preview: CIO - Microsoft Informer

CIO - Microsoft Informer





Published: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 21:15:39 EST

Last Build Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 21:15:39 EST

Copyright: (c) Copyright 2006 CXO Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 



Microsoft Launches Linux Website

Thu, 06 Apr 2006 07:02:13 EST

(CIO)

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Microsoft Thursday at LinuxWorld is expected to unveil a new website for users to find information about its Linux and open-source interoperability efforts, according to the executive in charge of those plans.

Bill Hilf, general manager of the platform strategy group for Microsoft, will discuss the site during his keynote at the conference in Boston Thursday morning. The site will also go live on Thursday.

Hilf, who formerly worked on Linux deployments at IBM, has been overseeing Microsoft’s Linux and open-source interoperability lab at its Redmond, Wash., campus for the past two years. He recently moved into a more senior position, replacing Martin Taylor, who has moved over to the Windows Live team. Hilf now is in charge of all of Microsoft’s open-source compatibility efforts, including its controversial Get the Facts anti-Linux campaign and its SharedSource initiative, which is the company’s own version of allowing developers access to some of its proprietary source code.

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Microsoft Buys Maker of ’Fable’ Xbox Game

Thu, 06 Apr 2006 07:30:24 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft has acquired U.K. gaming company Lionhead Studios for an undisclosed amount, ensuring some exclusive content for its Xbox console from the company that designed the popular "Fable" games.

The move may also bring respected game developer Peter Molyneux, Lionhead’s managing director, into Microsoft’s fold. He’s credited with pioneering the so-called "god games" genre with games such as "Populous" and "Black & White," wide-scale fantasy games in which the gamer is lord of all around him.

The acquisition was made by Microsoft Game Studios, its game production group. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Chinese PC Maker Says It Will Address Microsoft Piracy

Thu, 06 Apr 2006 02:36:24 EST

(CIO)

China’s number-three PC producer, Tsinghua Tongfang, is expected to announce on Thursday that it will begin shipping products pre-loaded with authentic copies of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Lenovo Group, China’s number-one PC producer by market share, began shipping computers with Windows and another software pack already installed in December, and number two Founder Technology followed its lead shortly afterward, according to The Journal.

The agreement between Tsinghua Tongfang and Microsoft represents the most recent effort by a Chinese company to address the piracy concerns that are hampering trade between the United States and China. Microsoft operates a large-scale R&D lab in China, but the majority of users in that country use “bootleg” versions of the company’s products because they can be obtained for a cheap price on city streets, The Journal reports.

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Microsoft Pledges DRM Investments for Mobile

Wed, 05 Apr 2006 07:57:04 EST

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With ever more songs, pictures and video clips being sent over the airwaves to mobile phones, Microsoft plans to beef up its investment in digital rights management (DRM) technologies to help protect copyright material, the company said Wednesday on the opening day of CTIA Wireless 2006 in Las Vegas.

Microsoft provided no financial details, saying only that the investments would be "significant." It plans to extend its Windows Media Digital Rights Management software to support new types of wireless services, it said.

The company said it was responding to demands from its wireless partners who want new ways to deliver content protected by copyright. The more than 800 million mobile handsets sold worldwide each year represent a largely untapped market for digital entertainment, it said.

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Microsoft, Australian Gov’t Sign Security Deal

Wed, 05 Apr 2006 01:15:00 EST

(CIO)

The Australian federal government has signed a whole-of-government agreement with Microsoft to exchange information on security issues ranging from cyberterrorism to general security bulletins.

As part of the arrangement, Microsoft will provide the Australian federal government with a monthly security bulletin, and in return, Microsoft will have closer contact with government agencies to learn how Microsoft products are being used and operating.

The alliance, dubbed the Security Cooperation Program (SCP), is the first whole-of-government agreement for Microsoft.

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Microsoft to Beta-Test Speech Server ’07 in May

Wed, 05 Apr 2006 01:59:01 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft will release a beta of the next version of its speech and telephony server software in May, the company said Wednesday.

Microsoft plans to release a final version of Speech Server 2007, its second major release of the product, in late 2006. Microsoft launched Speech Server, which allows customers to deploy speech-recognition and intelligent voice-response systems, in 2004 and released an interim update last year. Speech Server is still in its early-adopter phase, with about 100 customers in Canada and the United States.

Speech Server 2007 will focus not only on making it easier for developers to build speech applications using the software, but also on ensuring those applications provide a satisfying user experience, said Clint Patterson, director of product management for Speech Server at Microsoft.

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Microsoft Releases Upgrade for Windows CE 5.0

Tue, 04 Apr 2006 07:45:25 EST

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Microsoft is set to release Tuesday a set of drivers and utilities for its Windows CE 5.0 operating system to make product development easier for device manufacturers.

The upgrade, called the Networked Media Device Feature Pack, is free for OEMs, said Hardy Poppinga, a Microsoft product manager. Windows CE 5.0, released in July 2004, is an embedded operating system that runs on PDAs, portable music players and other hardware.

Microsoft’s intention is to reduce the work involved in developing consumer electronics, such as networked media devices, as the market grows, Poppinga said.

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Microsoft-Led Group Promotes Life Sciences, Office ’07

Tue, 04 Apr 2006 01:40:09 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft Tuesday will launch an alliance that it hopes will kill two birds with one stone—use technology to promote bio-medical research and encourage customers to upgrade to the next version of Microsoft Office.

Don Rule, platform strategy adviser of Microsoft’s developer and platform evangelism group, is expected to unveil the BioIT Alliance at the Bio-IT World Magazine World Life Sciences Conference + Expo in Boston on Tuesday.

The aim of the group is to bring together pharmaceutical companies and independent software vendors (ISVs) to work on projects that advance medical and biological research and development, he said. And because Office 2007 will be a foundational software for the alliance’s projects, Microsoft also hopes companies in the life sciences market will upgrade to the software once it is available to business customers at the end of the year, Rule added.

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Microsoft Program May Ease Vista Delay Fallout

Mon, 03 Apr 2006 07:45:35 EST

(CIO)

Even though Windows Vista won’t be available until next year, Microsoft is working with hardware partners to prepare customers for its release. Starting next month, PCs with stickers saying "Windows Vista Capable" will be in stores, letting customers know what hardware can be upgraded to Vista once it is available, the company said Friday.

Microsoft and industry partners co-developed what the company calls the Windows Vista Capable PC program to identify machines currently running Windows XP that have the requirements to upgrade to Vista.

To receive a sticker, the PCs must pass certification requirements for the Designed for Windows XP logo. They also must meet hardware criteria that make them capable of performing well if running Windows Vista, Microsoft said. Those requirements are a modern CPU, at least 512MB of memory and a DirectX 9 class graphics processor.

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New Generation of IE Malware Now Circulating

Mon, 03 Apr 2006 08:47:43 EST

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Hackers have posted a new version of malicious software that will make it easier for them to exploit an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser. Based on a critical bug disclosed on March 22, the software was posted by hackers Friday to the Milw0rm.com website.

The code exploits a flaw in the way IE processes webpages using the createTextRange() method. Hackers have been using malware that takes advantage of this vulnerability to install unauthorized software on victims’ computers over the past week, but this new generation is considered to be more dangerous, according to security researchers.

Older versions of the malware could freeze victims’ browsers for more than a minute, giving them an opportunity to shut down their computers or stop the malicious software before it could complete its work. But the new software works more quickly, meaning it will be particularly effective on older machines with limited memory and processing capabilities, said Craig Schmugar, researcher with McAfee Avert Labs.

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Microsoft Buys ProClarity to Bolster BI Strategy

Mon, 03 Apr 2006 02:26:22 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft Monday said it has agreed to acquire ProClarity as a way to continue to develop its portfolio of business intelligence (BI) software.

The terms of the deal, which is expected to close in early May, are not being disclosed, said Chris Caren, a Microsoft Office general manager.

ProClarity, which has business analysis and visualization software for culling information from Microsoft SQL Server and exposing it to business users, is a privately held Microsoft partner in Boise, Idaho. The acquisition fits into Microsoft’s goal to be a prominent player in the BI market against competitors such as Business Objects SA and Cognos, Caren said.

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US Diplomats Step Up In Microsoft’s EU Antitrust Case

Fri, 31 Mar 2006 08:13:58 EST

(CIO)

As it makes a final effort during two days of hearings to avert daily fines of up to 2 million euros (US$2.4 million) in its ongoing antitrust fight with the European Commission, Microsoft has received sympathy, if not support, from a powerful friend: the U.S. government.

U.S. diplomats have intervened, urging the European Commission as well as all 25 national governments in the European Union to be fair to the company, diplomats and commission officials said Thursday as the closed-door hearings got under way.

Microsoft has complained frequently in recent months that it has been denied the right to a fair defense in the commission’s continuing antitrust case. Microsoft has also accused the commission of collaborating with its software industry rivals, and denying it access to what it claims are documents vital for its defense.

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Microsoft Calls on EMC, Others in EU Antitrust Defense

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 06:38:22 EST

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At a hearing with the European Commission on Thursday, Microsoft will use success stories from its server protocol licensing program in the United States to try to convince European regulators that it is complying with an antitrust ruling and avoid being fined millions of euros per day.

Microsoft’s attorneys are to meet with commission representatives at a hearing in Brussels to determine whether the software maker complied with the regulators’ 2004 antitrust ruling against it. The commission contends that the company has not complied, and is threatening to impose daily fines of 2 million euros (US$2.4 million) until it does.

At issue is a provision that required Microsoft to license communications protocols for its workgroup server software to competitors, a measure intended to level the playing field by allowing them to build products that work well with Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows software. The company was required to offer a similar licensing program in the United States after it was found guilty of antitrust violations there.

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Microsoft Fails in Sun, Oracle Subpoena Bid

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 11:31:39 EST

(CIO)

A California judge denied Microsoft’s request to subpoena rivals Sun Microsystems and Oracle in an order issued Wednesday. Microsoft was seeking access to documents from the U.S. vendors in relation to its ongoing battle with the European Commission over whether the company has complied with a 2004 antitrust ruling.

In a six-page order, U.S. District Court for Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Patricia Trumbull granted motions from Sun and Oracle to quash the subpoenas and vacate the prior order that had granted Microsoft permission to serve the subpoenas.

Microsoft and the commission have been at a standoff since late last year when the European body ruled that Microsoft had violated the 2004 decision. The two parties are facing off in a two-day hearing beginning Thursday to debate Microsoft’s compliance with the ruling. Should no progress be made, Microsoft faces maximum daily fines of 2 million euros (US$2.4 million), backdated to mid-December, until the commission deems it is complying with the 2004 ruling.

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Microsoft Boosts Corporate Messaging Safeguards

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 03:19:33 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft is offering new and improved versions of its software suites designed to protect and archive e-mail, instant messages and other corporate electronic transmissions, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.

Formerly known as FrontBridge Technologies, the Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services suite is made up of four offerings designed to help organizations cut down on unsolicited e-mail, viruses and other scumware, as well as collect and order messages for compliance, according to the AP.

The four products must be purchased via the Web, instead of the typical form of software that users must install, the AP reports. Such software is becoming more and more common because it’s typically easy to install and update, and it’s cheaper on average, according to the AP.

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Microsoft Continues to Build IP Licensing Portfolio

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 06:54:44 EST

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In a continued effort to derive revenue from licensing patented technology, Microsoft plans to let third parties license intellectual property (IP) it developed for its own mouse products.

Microsoft will open up licensing for three technologies—Tilt Wheel, U2 and Magnifier, said David Kaefer, a director of business development for Microsoft. It marks the first time the company is licensing patents for hardware technology, he said.

Tilt Wheel is mouse technology that allows a user to scroll not only up and down but also horizontally with a mouse’s flywheel. U2 allows a mouse or other peripheral device to be immediately recognized by a computer’s port even if the port it is using is not native to the device. For example, if a USB device has to use a PS/2 port by using an adapter, the technology will allow the peripheral to work seamlessly without needing any extra software on the hardware device to which it is attached. Magnifier allows a cursor on a screen controlled by a mouse to immediately magnify parts of the screen with one click.

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EU Warns Microsoft Over Vista Features

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 07:21:44 EST

(CIO)

The European Commission has laid out specific antitrust concerns it has about Vista, Microsoft’s long-awaited new operating system, commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said Wednesday.

"We are concerned about the possibility that Vista will include software elements which are available separately either sold by Microsoft or by other software companies," Todd said.

"There is also the possibility that we won’t have all the technical information needed for competitors to make their software interoperable with Vista," he added.

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After IE Attacks, Microsoft Eyes Security Betas

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 08:35:27 EST

(CIO)

With hackers actively exploiting an unpatched bug in Internet Explorer (IE), and some users unhappy that a fix for the problem may still be two weeks away, Microsoft says it is looking at ways of providing more rapid security updates.

Hackers began circulating code that exploited this newest IE vulnerability late last week, and to date it has been used on several hundred maliciously encoded websites, according to security vendor Websense.

With Microsoft on track to patch the problem on April 11, some in the security community are saying the software giant is too slow to respond to serious threats.

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Microsoft Offers More Time on Eolas Changes

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 02:52:54 EST

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Corporate developers who are not ready for an upcoming Internet Explorer update are getting a reprieve.

The next security update for Internet Explorer, expected by April 11, is scheduled to include changes to the way ActiveX processes dynamic content. These changes will force developers to make changes to their websites and intranets, but Microsoft said Wednesday that it now plans to also release a second "compatibility patch" that will undo the ActiveX changes.

Without the compatibility patch, programmers must make changes to their server software. Otherwise, Internet Explorer will force users to click on a pop-up "tool tip" dialog box before being able to interact with things like Flash or QuickTime.

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Ballmer: No iPod, Google for My Children

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 10:51:23 EST

(CIO)

According to a recent article that ran in Fortune, posted on CNNMoney.com, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has not purchased iPods for his children, and they’re not allowed to use Google.

In response to Fortune’s question of whether Ballmer has an iPod, Redmond’s CEO said, “No, I do not. Nor do my children—in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.”

The article is regarding Microsoft’s recently slouching stock price, and the emerging competition that is causing that drop.

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Microsoft Faces Another Lawsuit in South Korea

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 07:22:51 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft faces more problems in South Korea after a company sued the U.S. software giant over its bundling of Windows Media Player with the Windows operating system.

The suit was filed in the past week, just as Microsoft lodged its appeal against a December ruling by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) that levied fines and other punishments on Microsoft because of its business practices in South Korea.

Sanview Technology is suing Microsoft for US$10 million in compensation for damages allegedly caused to the company by Microsoft’s inclusion of Windows Media Player with its operating system, said JL Yoon, a general director of Sanview, in a telephone interview.

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IDC: Vista Delay Won’t Affect PC Sales

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 07:38:16 EST

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Microsoft’s delay in shipping its Windows Vista operating system won’t put a big dent in PC sales, although growth for the PC industry is going to slow in the coming years, IDC predicted this week.

Microsoft said earlier this month that the pre-installed versions of Vista will not be available until January, although the OS will be released to business partners through its volume licensing program in November.

"Some consumers will certainly delay PC purchases until Vista is available, but we expect the delay to shift only moderate volume from
the fourth quarter of 2006 into 2007 and will not cause a loss of sales," Loren Loverde, director of IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly
PC Tracker, said in a statement.

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Microsoft Joins Group Key to ODF Standards Adoption

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 07:48:34 EST

(CIO)

In a move some think has the potential to stall the adoption of OpenDocument Format (ODF) as an international standard, Microsoft has joined a group that takes part in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) voting process to standardize ODF.

Microsoft has joined the V1 Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface group within the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), a Washington-based organization. INCITS is involved in recommending what technologies should become ISO standards, and the V1 Text Processing group in particular deals with office document formats.

ODF is overseen by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and is supported by Microsoft rivals IBM and Sun Microsystems, among other companies. They want to see ODF adopted internationally as the standard for office documents and software that creates and manages these documents, such as Microsoft’s popular Office suite and rivals such as Star Office from Sun. The government of Massachusetts in the United States already has put in motion a plan to migrate its documents to ODF from proprietary formats, a process it hopes to implement beginning in January 2007.

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Gates Lays Out Future of Enterprise Apps

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 07:54:35 EST

(CIO)

Corporate users will increasingly combine traditional enterprise software with online capabilities to create composite applications, Bill Gates said Monday.

In the keynote address at Convergence, an annual conference for users of Microsoft’s business software running in Dallas through Tuesday, the Microsoft chairman and chief software architect also shared his vision of a world of work in which "smart" tables will function as ad hoc screens for mobile devices.

He barely touched on the company’s announcement Monday of its increased push into facilitating hosted versions of its CRM (customer relationship management) software as well as providing new integration capabilities for its Dynamics GP ERP (enterprise resource planning) product.

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Microsoft Let Down Smaller US Partners

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 01:28:31 EST

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Microsoft let down some of its smaller partners in North America during the rebranding of its business applications, according to Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions.

"We inflicted some partner pain," Burgum said. "We effectively went dark on advertising sub-brands." He was speaking during a question-and-answer session with financial analysts Monday at Microsoft’s Convergence business software user conference in Dallas, which was also webcast.

Unlike rivals Oracle and SAP, Microsoft sells its business applications through partners.

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SAP: Office Delay Won’t Affect Mendocino

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:11:31 EST

(CIO)

Delivery of Mendocino, the joint integration product from Microsoft and SAP, won’t be affected by the delay in Microsoft’s next Office productivity suite, an SAP spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Mendocino will ship as scheduled toward the end of the second quarter, according to spokeswoman Astrid Polchen. "Our first joint product will be based on Microsoft Office 2003 and, as such, won’t be affected by any delays with the new Office version," she said.

Last week, Microsoft said it would push back the broad availability of its new Vista operating system and its Office 2007 productivity suite until next year. Both products will be available to business customers by the end of 2006 through Microsoft’s volume licensing program, but will not be sold to consumers until January 2007.

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Security Vendor Patches Dangerous IE Bug

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:00:31 EST

(CIO)

With Microsoft saying that it may wait until April 11 to patch a critical vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser, security vendor eEye Digital Security has released what it calls a "temporary" patch to address the problem.

The bug, which concerns the way IE processes webpages using the createTextRange() method, is now being exploited by attackers on hundreds of malicious websites. Users who might be tricked into visiting these websites could have unauthorized software installed on their computers, security experts warn.

Though Microsoft has described these attacks as "limited" in scope, the problem is being taken seriously by the software giant because the exploits can be used to seize control of a user’s machine.

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Microsoft Appeals Korea Antitrust Ruling

Mon, 27 Mar 2006 06:55:05 EST

(CIO)

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Microsoft on Monday filed an appeal to the Seoul High Court in South Korea seeking to reverse a decision by the country’s antitrust regulators that included an order to offer versions of its popular Windows operating system without its Media Player and Instant Messenger software.

"The appeal is a lawsuit seeking revocation of the [Korea Fair Trade Commission’s] decision," said Microsoft in a statement. The company said it has not broken South Korean law, and formally requested the decision be reconsidered.

In December, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Microsoft 33 billion won (US$34 million) and ordered several remedies by the world’s largest software maker, including offering two versions of Windows in the country: one without Media Player and Instant Messenger, and another that includes links to websites offering rival software.

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Microsoft Security Chief to Step Down

Mon, 27 Mar 2006 07:04:02 EST

(CIO)

After four years at the helm of Microsoft’s security group, Mike Nash is taking a break. This June he will go on sabbatical after handing over responsibilities to his replacement, Ben Fathi.

Nash led Microsoft’s Security Technology Unit during a period in which the security of Microsoft’s products was increasingly scrutinized following a number of worldwide worm attacks, including Slammer and MyDoom.

The 15-year Microsoft veteran was responsible for directing Microsoft’s response to these threats as well as for setting its overall security strategy as the software vendor struggled against a public perception that its products were insecure.

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Microsoft Tests Fix for IE Bug as Exploits Appear

Mon, 27 Mar 2006 07:53:06 EST

(CIO)

A recently identified Internet Explorer security hole is now being exploited, and Microsoft hopes to include a fix for it in its April 11 patch or maybe even earlier, according to a posting on a Microsoft blog.

So far, attacks are limited in scope, Stephen Toulouse, head of Microsoft’s Security Response Center, wrote on the center’s blog on Saturday.

The vulnerability, first identified last week before actually being exploited, allows hackers to entice Web surfers to visit websites where malicious code can then be automatically run on the visitor’s computer. It exploits a vulnerability in the way that IE renders HTML and affects Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Toulouse said. Users of IE7 Beta 2, the most recent version of IE, won’t be affected by the bug, Microsoft said.

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Microsoft Warns of Nasty IE Bug

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 06:49:42 EST

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Microsoft is warning users of its Internet Explorer browser to use caution on the Web, after the disclosure of an unpatched bug that could allow attackers to seize control of a PC running the browser software.

The bug, disclosed Wednesday, relates to the way that IE processes information using the createTextRange() method. By presenting the browser with specially crafted code, attackers could corrupt the system’s memory and trick it into running unauthorized software.

"We’re still investigating, but we have confirmed this vulnerability and I am writing a Microsoft Security Advisory on this," wrote Lennart Wistrand, security program manager with the Microsoft Security Response Center, in a blog posting. "We will address it in a security update."

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Office Consumer Editions to Trail Vista Into ’07

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 07:04:11 EST

(CIO)

The delay in Windows Vista will affect the next version of Office, too. Microsoft said Thursday it will put off the consumer release of Office 2007 so it is in line with the new release schedule for Vista.

Like Vista, Office 2007 will be available to business customers through Microsoft’s volume licensing program by the end of 2006. However, the product won’t be sold to consumers until January 2007, the company said.

Through a spokeswoman for its public relations firm Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft called the change a "business decision," and said the development of the software will be completed on schedule before the end of the year.

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Eolas Changes to Go Widespread With Next IE Update

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 07:14:30 EST

(CIO)

Web surfers may start noticing some unusual behavior from their Internet Explorer (IE) browser after installing Microsoft’s next round of security patches, expected April 11. That’s because the software giant is planning to make changes to the way its browser handles dynamic content like Flash or QuickTime—changes that were made necessary following Microsoft’s highly publicized patent dispute with Eolas Technologies.

Microsoft has already made these changes available as an optional IE patch, but now they are being rolled into IE’s next security update, which will make them effectively mandatory for most users.

"Currently that update is in the testing phase and could be released as early as April," said Stephen Toulouse, security program manager with Microsoft’s security response center. "But of course, that isn’t final," he added.

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Microsoft Execs: PCs Will Be Ready for Vista

Thu, 23 Mar 2006 06:40:05 EST

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A delay in the latest upgrade to Microsoft’s popular OS, Vista, won’t impact PC hardware makers very much in terms of technology because no matter when the software comes out, hardware components will already be in place, a DRAM (dynamic-RAM) executive said Thursday.

"We’re already selling lots of 1G-byte [DRAM] modules for notebooks that are compatible with Vista," said Pai Pei-lin, vice president of global marketing and sales at Nanya Technology, in an interview.

Computer hardware in general will be ready for Vista on time despite the delay, he said, so any further change in the schedule—such as an early release—would be possible.

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Microsoft Restructures Windows Unit

Thu, 23 Mar 2006 02:54:09 EST

(CIO)

On Thursday, Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth Microsoft announced that it is restructuring the unit that includes its popular Windows operating system (OS), the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News.

The news comes just two days after the company bumped the consumer launch date of its upcoming OS, Vista, to January 2007, too late to be available for the upcoming holiday season. Microsoft’s business partners will be able to license the OS in November. For more, read Microsoft Bumps Vista Launch to Jan. ’07.

Steven Sinofsky, a company executive currently tasked with the development of Office business products, will head up the new unit, encompassing the Windows OS and Windows Live, an ongoing initiative to build the company’s Web-based products, according to the AP. For more, read Report: Sinofsky to Take Over Windows Team.

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Microsoft Tries to Placate EU ... Again

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:08:46 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft will offer free and unlimited technical support to those who license its workgroup server protocols, its latest move to satisfy the European Commission that Microsoft is complying with the 2004 antitrust ruling against the company.

Microsoft had previously offered 500 hours of technical support but said licensees can now get unlimited support as well as on-site assistance. Microsoft said the move was voluntary, although it had been suggested by the commission during talks in January, said Tom Brookes, a Microsoft spokesman.

The commission’s response was guarded, although it called the proposal a "constructive" one.

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Microsoft Bumps Vista Launch to Jan. ’07

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 07:52:19 EST

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The broad availability of the Windows Vista client OS has been pushed back to next year, Microsoft Co-President of the Platform and Services Division Jim Allchin announced Tuesday.

Microsoft, however, plans to release Vista to business partners through its volume licensing program in November 2006, he said in a conference call. This will enable them to begin the deployment process of the OS throughout their business.

In an interview in January, Allchin said he would delay releasing Vista if the OS did not reach a standard of quality with which he was comfortable. In a conference call Tuesday, he said Microsoft wanted to give customers a firm date for when the company could deliver Vista broadly, and so decided to push back the release to January of next year.

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Report: Sinofsky to Take Over Windows Team

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 02:06:55 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft plans to appoint Steve Sinofsky as the new head of its Windows development team in the wake of the shipping delay of Windows Vista that was announced yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported that Sinofsky, currently senior vice president of Office at Microsoft, will oversee the development of Windows, taking over the duties that are now Jim Allchin’s, co-president of the Platform Products and Services division.

Allchin announced last year that he will retire at the end of 2006, which is when Vista—the release of which had already been delayed—was expected to ship.

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Microsoft to Update IE After Bugs

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 08:15:09 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft is readying an update to Internet Explorer following the recent discovery of two unpatched IE vulnerabilities, including one bug that could allow attackers to seize control of a victim’s PC.

"We’re working on an update to Internet Explorer, and that update is currently in our testing process and could come out as early as April," said Stephen Toulouse, a security program manager with Microsoft’s security response center. "However there’s no firm date."

The most significant of the two vulnerabilities was discovered earlier this month by Web developer Jeffrey van der Stad. He claims to have discovered a way for attackers to trick Internet Explorer into executing HTA (HTML application) files without the user’s permission. HTA is a Microsoft-created format that is used to create HTML-based applications.

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Microsoft Eyes XAML to Wed Designers, Developers

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:34:18 EST

(CIO)

Bridging the gap between application developers and Web designers has always been a problem for companies building high-impact websites. Now Microsoft thinks it has the answer through its use of an XML-based language called XAML.

The language will be used in two forthcoming technologies—Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E) and Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer—one of which was discussed in detail for the first time Monday at MIX 06 in Las Vegas.

WPF/E lets graphics created for Windows Vista applications run on other OSs as well as on the Web, said Forest Key, a director of developer tools product management for Microsoft.

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Microsoft to Preview IE, Atlas at MIX 06

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:36:13 EST

(CIO)

For all the hype about its inaugural MIX 06 show in Las Vegas this week, Microsoft will have scant news at the show, according to a company executive. Microsoft plans to release two previews of forthcoming technologies--its Internet Explorer 7 browser and Atlas development framework--at MIX, which kicks off Monday with a keynote by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates.

In his keynote, Gates will unveil a refresh of a test release of Internet Explorer 7, as well as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft’s Atlas development framework, according to Tim O’Brien, a group manager at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s IE team already stole Gates’ thunder on the former in its IEBlog last week; the group posted a link to a transcript of an IE Expert Zone chat that already revealed that a new test version of IE 7 would be released at MIX.

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Microsoft Gives Brown $1.2M for Software Development

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:44:37 EST

(CIO)

On Monday, Microsoft Research said it will give Rhode Island’s Brown University $1.2 million over the next three years to develop software for recognizing complex handwriting and gestures, the Associated Press reports via Boston.com.

A number of computer systems already process handwriting, such as credit card readers.

Brown is currently working on applications that can interpret lettering and symbols of increasing complexity, for use in such areas as math, chemistry and music, according to the AP.

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Microsoft Launches Global Antiphishing Initiative

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:37:39 EST

(CIO)

Microsoft Monday unveiled a global initiative to crack down on cybercriminals who engage in phishing. The company will set in motion more than 100 legal actions against phishers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by the end of June, according to a release.

Phishing attacks use spam to entice Internet users to visit what appear to be legitimate e-commerce websites but are in fact phony sites controlled by cybercriminals. Users are encouraged to enter personal data such as passwords and bank account or credit card details, which the criminals can then exploit to commit crimes.

Neil Holloway, president of Microsoft EMEA, introduced the company’s Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI) at a technology debate in Brussels hosted by the European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) and cosponsored by Interpol.

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