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PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SEND IN NEWS ITEMS LIKE THESE. THEY ARE INFORMATIVE AND
OFTEN LIKE THIS ONE, HILARIOUS.


Microsoft ad pulled by ASA

BY STEPHEN WHITFORD , ZAFINANCE JOURNALIST

[Johannesburg, 20 March 2003 ] - The Advertising
Standards Authority of SA (ASA) has ordered that a Microsoft ad implying
that its software will bring about the extinction of the hacker is to be
pulled for being "unsubstantiated and misleading".

The ad under the spotlight. Its caption states: 'Microsoft software is
carefully designed to keep your company's valuable information in, and
unauthorised people and viruses out. Which means that your data couldn't
really be safer, even if you kept it in a safe. Which is great news for the
survival of your company. But tragic news for hackers.'

An objection was lodged by freelance journalist Richard Clarke, in his
personal capacity, who complained that the advert was untrue. He claimed
Microsoft software is littered with vulnerabilities.

The advert depicts a dodo, a woolly mammoth, a sabre tooth tiger and a
hacker. The caption claims that not everyone benefits from Microsoft
software and that with it, a customer's data couldn't be safer even if it
was kept in a safe. It was published in the November issues of ITWeb
Brainstorm and Time Magazine.

"Microsoft's software is littered with vulnerabilities," Clarke says in his
submission.

Microsoft was asked by the ASA to provide information, substantiated by an
independent, credible expert, on the degree of security of its software in
accordance with Code of Advertising Practices. Microsoft was also asked to
defend the advert against Clarke's claim that the advert was misleading.

Microsoft submitted documentation to substantiate its claims about the
security of the software and said the advert was not designed to mislead the
consumer, but was merely a tongue in cheek dramatisation that the software
would threaten the survival of hackers.

MORE HERE:
<http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/business/2003/0303201315.asp?A=SFT&S=Softwa
re&T=Section&O=FPSH>
 

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You'd think Microsoft would want to avoid any connotations of security and hackers in its ads. This was just asking for trouble. Unless Microsoft is truly delusional about the fact that its own servers were hit by the last viral outbreak (I've forgotten what it was called as it was irrelevant to Mac users).

Touch wood, there hasn't been the predicted increase in Mac viruses based on the unix underpinnings. But I think that might be more due to the fast reactions of the unix community to close loop holes which Apple is clearly taking advantage of in its security updates.
 
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