A day after Apple Computer posted a grammatically and politically dubious statement on its Web site complaining about a Windows virus that made its way onto a small number of iPods, Microsoft and security experts responded with some common-sense observations.
Microsoft software engineer Jonathan Poon, responsible for ensuring that Microsoft products don't ship to the public with any malware, says Apple was wrong to blame Windows and, implicitly, Microsoft for its own quality-control problems.
"It's not a matter of which platform that the virus originated \[on\]," Poon wrote in his personal blog. "The fact that it's found on the portable player means that there's an issue with how the quality checks, specifically the content check, was done. This also indicates that through the manufacturing cycle, the base device from which the image was duplicated to the other devices in the manufacturing run, was connected to a PC that most probably did not have, and I quote their press release, 'up to date antivirus software which is included with most Windows computers'."
Poon compared Apple's curiously childish public pronouncements about this concern with a similar event that occurred this week at McDonald's restaurants in Japan. "McDonald's in Japan encountered a similar incident just a few days earlier as well," he wrote. "Indeed, they published a press release, apologized for it, and did not insinuate that Windows was the cause of their issue. Furthermore, they provided a very specific fix to their issue, compared to a general set of linkages to trial and/or free versions of anti-virus scanners."
Others were even less impressed by Apple's tactics. Randy Abrams, director of technical education at ESET, a global provider of security software for enterprises and consumers, wrote in his own blog that the contrast between the Apple and McDonald's incidents is even more embarrassing to Apple that it would seem at first. "Apple doesn't seem to get it," he wrote. "It isn't that there was a virus on the iPods, the issue is that they did not know what they were releasing. I don't expect McDonald's to understand technology, but Apple should."
"McDonald's did the responsible thing and accepted responsibility," Abrams continues. "Apple tried to deflect blame by pointing fingers at Microsoft ... \[This is\] a complete lack of security in a manufacturing environment. Manufacturing completely failed to institute basic quality assurance and moderate quality control. But hey, why waste an opportunity to blame Microsoft for content on an iPod?"