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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, February 10, 2005

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In the News

- Kollar-Kotelly: Settlement Might Not Curb Microsoft Dominance
- Microsoft Investigating Anti-AntiSpyware Trojan

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Kollar-Kotelly: Settlement Might Not Curb Microsoft Dominance

US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly finally owned up to the obvious yesterday, noting that the weak-kneed settlement she agreed to between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) was unlikely to curb the software giant's market dominance. Judge Kollar-Kotelly, who's overseeing Microsoft's settlement, commented on the negligible effects on Microsoft's businesses during a court review of the company's compliance, which, incidentally, she found to be excellent.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly asked DOJ lawyers what, if any, effect the settlement has had on Microsoft and its dominance of the PC market. The lawyers said that there was "no demonstrable change" in that dominance and that the DOJ had "no good answer" for that question. However, a Microsoft lawyer noted that the terms of the settlement have created a more level playing field for competitors and that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) rival Mozilla Firefox was introduced in that environment.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly appeared to like that bit of evidence but agreed that it would probably be a long time before Microsoft ceded any real market share to rivals. "How the marketplace responds to that is not under the control of this court," she said yesterday. "I have a feeling it's going to be a long-term process in terms of knowing what happens in the marketplace." Much of the meeting yesterday dealt with concerns about Microsoft's distribution of technical documentation to competitors. The DOJ expressed its hope that someone would use that documentation to create products that compete with Microsoft's dominant software products.
Critics, predictably, have opined that the settlement is a total failure. As proof, they point to the competitive landscape of the PC software market, which hasn't changed at all since the settlement was first announced. But Microsoft argues that the settlement's goal wasn't to curb Microsoft's market share but rather to remove competitive barriers.

Microsoft Investigating Anti-AntiSpyware Trojan

Microsoft is investigating a new electronic attack that, ironically, attempts to disable the Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta) product and surreptitiously install spyware on users' systems. Dubbed the Troj/BankAsh-A Trojan, this new electronic attack also seeks to steal passwords and online banking information. Here's how the Trojan works. If successfully installed on a PC system, Troj/BankAsh-A attempts to disable Microsoft AntiSpyware and the notification messages that the application generates during attacks. Then, the Trojan tries to delete all the files in the Microsoft AntiSpyware installation folder and install other spyware applications that will monitor your PC use and steal important data, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Although the attack was just recently launched, Microsoft says it's actively investigating. "Microsoft will continue to work with law enforcement and the industry to help protect customers from these types of threats," a company representative said yesterday. "We also encourage users to use extreme caution when opening unsolicited files from known and unknown sources. Microsoft continues to recommend that customers evaluate the Microsoft AntiSpyware beta." It's likely that a forthcoming automatic update for Microsoft AntiSpyware will be able to repel this attack.

==== Events and Resources ====

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