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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2010 - issue > Tech Tracker

McAfee’s Antivirus Fiasco – A Delight for Microsoft?

Eureka Bharali
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Eureka Bharali
When a 20-year–old, trusted antivirus firm muddles up, what may ensue is a scene of security fiasco and users of McAfee learnt it the hard way, however the same may serve a positive route for the software giant Microsoft.

A pop up of an antivirus update from McAfee turned a debacle for many organizations, as the program identified a normal Windows file, ‘svchost.exe’, as a virus. The update crashed largely the PCs flaunting Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), the newest version of XP. Much to their dismay, the McAfee site that offered EXTRA.DAT file, the official remedy for the problem, went offline. Of course, the company has promised a one year free subscription to its automated security assessment service. Yet the victims, who are mostly XP users, are venting their anger in the blogosphere and social networking sites, with equal share of brickbats for Microsoft too, putting XP too on the defensive. Then why would Microsoft rejoice?

In recent times, the company is ‘Micro’softly turning the users from XP to Windows 7, as the company’s open advices didn’t work. For instance, in 2009 on the sidelines of a press conference on their further collaboration with EMC, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer explicitly warned the enterprises to shift to Windows 7 from XP. "If you deploy a four or five-year old operating system today, most people will ask their boss why the heck they don't have the stuff they have at home," he said. Yet even today, most of the organizations flaunt XP. Now, with XP being hit and Windows 7 lolling in a safe zone proves a better USP for the latter. In fact many are deferring the shift, considering the fact that XP’s SP3 is enjoying 50 percent share in the enterprise market could be a huge boost for Windows 7 in the sphere. Whether McAfee’s faulty footstep turns Windows 7 a winner or sweeps out XP’s share to non-Microsoft players is yet to be seen.
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