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Notes from the field: Microsoft whacks Symantec

Notes from the field: Microsoft whacks Symantec

I think computers have become like toasters; it doesn't matter which one you use so long as it doesn't burn the bagels. So the idea behind Google Desktop 3.0 - you store your data online and access it from any machine - makes a lot of sense. But something about that scheme smells like burning bagels to me. Whether by cybersnoops or feckless Feds, somebody's data is likely to get creamed.

Bada-Bing Ka-Ching! Taking a page from Tony Soprano, Microsoft plans to get into the protection racket. Starting in June, OneCare Live will offer antivirus, firewall and security updates for $US50 a year. Meanwhile, Cringe informant David B reports that Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1 has whacked all of his IT group's copies of Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10. The beta mistook the antivirus software for a password-stealing Trojan and deleted its registry keys, rendering it dead as a doornail. Microsoft says it fixed the problem. There's an effective marketing strategy: $US50 buys basic protection, but if you want them to leave your other apps alone, it will cost you five large.

This Is Only a Test: Given last year's IE bug, which reportedly allowed attackers to scan Google Desktop users' hard drives, reader Jon C says he'd rather not have it pre-installed on his new Dell business machines. Too bad, says Dell. If he doesn't want the applet, he's got to nuke it himself. But that's all Dell has to say. The company admits to running "a test" with Google but is otherwise mum on exactly what it's testing - besides its customers' patience. Such a deal could net Dell $US1 billion. At least we know who the lab rats are: us.

Hold the Baloney: Sony BMG has figured out what a rootkit-infested PC is worth, and it's about the cost of a sandwich. The allegedly chastened record company has offered to settle a class-action suit for $US7.50 per XPC-infected disc, plus a free album download; or you can skip the cash and get three free downloads. Sony also promises to be less sneaky about how it uses copy protection in the future. Now if they offered to put a gag on Celine Dion, I might consider it.

Send hot tips to cringe@infoworld.com and you may get a cringe-worthy bag, or a free download of me singing On Ne Change Pas.


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