Aug 112008

THIS just hit the wire Friday morning. Once exploits are created to take advantage of this, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The gist:

This week at the Black Hat Security Conference two security researchers will discuss their findings which could completely bring Windows Vista to its knees.

Mark Dowd of IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Alexander Sotirov, of VMware Inc. have discovered a technique that can be used to bypass all memory protection safeguards that Microsoft built into Windows Vista. (emphasis added)

The researchers were able to load whatever content they wanted into any location they wished on a user’s machine using a variety of objects, such as Java, ActiveX and even .NET objects. This feat was achieved by taking advantage of the way that Internet Explorer (and other browsers) handle active scripting in the Operating System.

While this may seem like any standard security hole, other researchers say that the work is a major breakthrough and there is very little that Microsoft can do to fix the problems. These attacks work differently than other security exploits, as they aren’t based on any new Windows vulnerabilities, but instead take advantage of the way Microsoft chose to guard Vista’s fundamental architecture.”

Glorious. Simply glorious.

Sep 052007

Mere hours before Apple introduces the next generation of iPods, Microsoft suddenly announced that they’re cutting the price of their 30GB Zune player by $50, to $200. To hear them tell it, it’s pure coincidence! Honest!

“It’s part of the normal product lifecycle, something we’ve had on the books for days months,” wrote Microsoft’s Cesar Menendez. “We just pulled some numbers out of our ass got some research back and customer satisfaction with the 30GB device is really high (around 94 percent of the 100 Microsoft employees who bought one) and we desperately pray expect even more consumers will now want to discover the Zune experience at the new lower price.”

Behold, the Zune Experience!

Seriously, I don’t understand why Microsoft doesn’t give up all this extraneous crap and focus on what they’re “best” at: Windows and Office. These are the only two products that actually generate a profit for them (almost entirely through OEM licensing to computer vendors); everything else has been a money pit billions of dollars deep (excluding mice and keyboards, which actually do well). Because they’re on top of the heap, they’ve lost the will to innovate, and are now reduced to playing catch-up with every company that actually has something to offer that people want.

Case in point, this other purely coincidental offering from Mindy Mount, VP and CFO for Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division: “…it’s not ‘unreasonable’ to think that Microsoft will integrate photo, music and touchscreen features into a Windows Mobile product in the future.”

Hey Mindy, what’s the difference between an Apple press release and a Microsoft press release?
About six months.

Add to all of the above the shenanigans over the Office Open XML Standard. What that article fails to mention, but has been covered elsewhere, is that Microsoft got busted stuffing the ballot box, so to speak, which forced a re-vote. As an aside, Apple’s new iWork 08 does support MS’s OOXML.

And so continues Microsoft’s slow slide off it’s throne. It happened to Apple in the mid-90s, and now history begins to repeat itself.

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