WinInfo Daily UPDATE, July 29, 2004

Microsoft Promises IE Patch for Download Ject Soon 

Tomorrow, or next week, out of sync with Microsoft's planned monthly security fixes the company will finally issue a critical security patch for the infamously buggy Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser. The patch will fix the flaw that led to last month's Download Ject malware attack and will be applicable to IE and 5.01. The patch will follow an unprecedented configuration change update that the company released to partially fix the Download Ject problem, an update that security experts quickly denounced as ineffective.

"We have people working around the clock on the patch," IE Product Unit Manager Dean Hachamovitch said yesterday in a public chat. "Our users should have confidence that as long as they're running the latest browser with all the latest security fixes they will have the most powerful and secure browsing experience."

How one security fix will suddenly make IE the most powerful and secure browsing experience is unclear, however. As I've outlined on the SuperSite for Windows, alternative browsers are feature packed and are more secure than IE.

In any event, Microsoft has declined to specify the precise day that the company will issue the patch, although the release could take place as early as tomorrow. A spokesperson said yesterday that the patch will ship when Microsoft deems it to be both effective and high quality.

Google Preps 36 Billion IPO 

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), search engine giant Google said this week that it expects the company's shares to sell for up to $135 when Google issues its initial public offering (IPO) next month. Such a figure would set Google's worth at as much as $36 billion. If Google can obtain such a high share price the company's value will equal or surpass that of established economic giants such as McDonalds and Sony.

Google will institute an unusual Dutch auction when the company goes public. Google underwriters will compile a list of bids from would be investors, rank the bids by price and calculate the highest possible price at which to sell the company's $24.6 million shares. Investors will then be allowed to buy shares at the calculated price even if their original bids exceeded it. When the IPO is issued each of Google's two founders will immediately receive more than $100 million and each of the company's principle investors will receive more than $250 million.

Ironically, on the day of Google's SEC filing a new version of the MyDoom computer virus kept the company's Web site offline for millions of users for several hours highlighting the fragile nature of a purely Internet based business. But malware is the least of Google's problems. The company's laid back demeanor is starting to wear thin on investors who were unimpressed with the presentations that the Google cofounders made during a recent road show. Investors who spoke to The Wall Street Journal this week said that they'd be unwilling to bid high prices for the Google stock unless the company is more forthcoming about its plans. Other investors are unhappy about the Dutch auction format.

Microsoft in Dubious Outsourcing Flap 

A Seattle labor group claims to have evidence that Microsoft is shifting mission critical work including parts of Longhorn, Microsoft's epic next generation Windows project to overseas contract workers. Microsoft denies the charges maintaining that company employees still produce its core products.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, WashTech, a union that's affiliated with the AFL CIO said that it's received leaked Microsoft contracts with Indian technology vendors that prove that the company is outsourcing core product development. The notion that next generation technology is going to be the exclusive domain of domestic based employees of the company is rapidly fading away with the disclosure of these documents WashTech Organizer and President Marcus, Courtney said.

According to WashTech Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computer Services, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Technologies, India's four largest software technology and services companies, are working on Microsoft projects. WashTech noted that these projects include building specialized tools creating user guides and other documentation and testing. One of the documents WashTech listed was a Longhorn migration guide. But none of these projects appear to be core Microsoft products, a fact that Microsoft noted yesterday in a public rebuttal of WashTech s allegations.

"These accusations don't reflect an understanding of our global business," a Microsoft spokesperson said yesterday. "As a global company with operations in more than 80 countries, we absolutely work with partner companies around the world but both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have clearly stated the majority of our core development work will remain in the United States. All core intellectual property development including Longhorn is done by Microsoft employees The spokesperson noted that for fiscal 2004 which ended June 30 outside companies performed only 4 percent of Microsoft s development work."

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