October 09 Patch Tuesday and Other Microsoft-related Bits
Article by George Norman
On 10 Oct 2009
Each month, on the second Tuesday of the month (which this time falls on the 13th), Microsoft releases updates and patches for its product. This October Microsoft will release a total of 13 security bulletins out of which 8 have been deemed critical – the remaining 5 are rated important. In total, the October ’09 Patch Tuesday will plug a grand total of 34 security vulnerabilities which affect the Windows operating system, Internet Explorer, Office, Silverlight, Forefront, Developer Tools, and SQL Server. More details here.

That takes care of the Patch Tuesday part in the title, now let’s move to the “Other Microsoft-related bits” part.


Internet Explorer and AVG

AVG Technologies recently released AVG Anti-Virus 9.0 which promises to be faster, lighter on computer resources, and provide an enhanced level of protection against security threats. But the Internet Explorer team is not all hyped up about AVG Anti-Virus 9.0, it is excited about the new AVG Security Toolbar. The IE team says the improvements are a direct result of the guidelines for add-on developers that were revealed last month.

Here is what the IE team liked about the new and improved AVG toolbar:
  • It no longer takes over the search provider. Instead it uses the proper IE8 set default provider API so that users can choose their default.
  • The close button is visible so that users can manage it like other toolbars. Additionally, the toolbar is positioned in a supported location which improves stability and performance.
  • It no longer modifies the new tab page to maintain a predictable new tab experience for users.

Office Starter 2010 – Free, Lightweight Office Suite

Microsoft is pretty excited about the feedback it’s been getting on the Office productivity suite. It seems that worldwide, about 500 million people use Microsoft Office. With the upcoming release, Office 2010, Microsoft plans to give more people the chance to try the software out. In this regard it is talking with major PC manufacturers and its retail partners to offer Office 2010 software pre-loaded on new PCs.

Corporate Vice President with Microsoft Office, Takeshi Numoto, comments: “As part of Office 2010 software that will be pre-loaded by the PC manufacturers on their PCs, we’re introducing Microsoft Office Starter 2010. Office Starter 2010 is a reduced-functionality, advertising-supported version of Office 2010, available exclusively on new PCs. Office Starter 2010 will provide new PC owners with immediate exposure to the Office 2010 experience on new PCs right out of the box. Office Starter 2010 will include Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, with the basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents. Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product.”

IE8 and Ballot Screens

The fact that Microsoft ships its Windows operating system with Internet Explorer included is frowned upon by the European Commission. Which lead to an antitrust case -> which lead to Microsoft proposing Windows 7 E (a browser-less operating system) -> which lead to more controversy because having no browser was even worse (not for us) -> which then lead Microsoft to propose the introduction of a ballot screen that asks the European user if he would like to install another browser (thus dropping its plans for Windows 7 E)

The European Commission has mulled things over and came up with a decision: Microsoft will be allowed to market test the browser ballot screen. European Commissioner for Competition Policy, Nelie Kroes, commented: “The Commission's preliminary view is that Microsoft's commitments would indeed address our competition concerns. Microsoft's proposal in particular recognizes the principle that consumers should be given a free and effective choice of web browser. It would empower all current and future users of Windows in Europe to choose which browser they wished to use. It would therefore have a direct and immediate impact on the market.”

Microsoft and Swine Flu

Microsoft has launched a new web page called H1N1 Response Center where you can find detailed, comprehensive and relevant info about swine flu.

General Manager with Microsoft Health Solutions Group, David Cerino, comments: “Any pandemic has the potential to create major disruptions in society. Now more than ever, we are in a position to implement solutions to help people make better decisions during these outbreaks, such as social distancing, because of the technological advancements that companies like Microsoft have made over the past few years.”

Windows Mobile 6.5 and New Windows Phones Released

This one is self-explanatory: the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system has been released. To accompany the launch several new Windows Phones have been released: HTC Imagio, Samsung Intrepid, HTC Pure, HTC Tilt 2. By the end of the year Microsoft expects its partners will deliver more than “30 new Windows phones in over 20 countries.”

Rumor Mill: Windows 8 and 128-bit Technology

You might remember that one of the requirements of the tweaked Windows 7 Logo Program was that all products work with 32-bit as well as 64-bit versions of Windows 7 – because 64-bit systems are becoming the standard. You can forget about 32-bit and 64-bit for the next iteration of the Windows operating system. Rumor on the web has it that when it will be released in 2011, Windows 8 will be 128-bit. The rumor is based on what the LinkedIn profile of one Robert Morgan says:

“Working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects. Research & Development projects including 128bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP, and IBM. Robert Morgan is working to get IA-128 working backwards with full binary compatibility on the existing IA-64 instructions in the hardware simulation to work for Windows 8 and definitely Windows 9.”

This seems to be just a rumor and a bad one at that. DownloadSquad’s Grant Robertson explains why: “There is no IA-128. The Abominable Snowman and the Easter Bunny could hold a press conference about the lost s*x tapes of The Tooth Fairy and it would have more credibility than this rumor. In fact, calling it a rumor lends too much credence to the story. There may be a Robert Morgan, there certainly is a Windows 8, but there is no IA-128.”

New Windows 7 Ads Courtesy of Microsoft Germany

Microsoft Germany put together 4 ads called “Wir Lieben Windows 7” (translates to We Love Windows 7). They won’t blow you away, but they might make you raise an eyebrow.

See the ads on YouTube here, here, here and here.

Tags: Microsoft, Patch Tuesday, Windows, Internet Explorer, Office Starter 2010, Swine Flu, Windows Mobile, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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October 09 Patch Tuesday and Other Microsoft-related Bits
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