Windows users line up to pay for spyware removal; Mac users surf Web with impunity

“Spyware’s explosive growth has become a ‘very alarming trend’ that could scare away computer users and undermine the industry, Michael George, general manager of Dell Inc.’s US consumer business, said last Friday,” Marilyn Geewax reports for The New York Times. “Spyware, code that allows outsiders to monitor computer activity, now affects about 90 percent of computers, he said.”

“‘It’s not just an annoyance,’ George said. ‘Increasingly, it’s becoming more and more pernicious. It can degrade a system’s performance to the point of being unusable, it can block access to the Internet, it can prevent you from accessing e-mail (and) it can redirect your browser to some other home page,” Geewax reports. “In July, Dell began offering tech-support services for customers willing to pay $39 per incident for diagnostic help in fighting spyware. George declined to say how many people have paid the fee, but said ‘demand has outstripped capacity.'”

Geewax reports, “Addressing spyware attacks is both expensive and time consuming because each caller could have as many as 200 spyware programs downloaded onto his computer, he said. Dell, the world’s largest computer maker, usually does not become deeply involved in software issues. But in recent months, it has accelerated efforts to root out software viruses, worms and spyware because they are turning off potential computers users.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: $39 per incident? Folks, just 33 incidents (achievable in about 9 seconds on a Windows box) equals the cost of a new Apple iMac G5 running Mac OS X. Name for us anything else in history where people clung to the obviously inferior product and paid extra for the privilege of doing so?

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  1. The ISP I work for charges $60 for a full spyware scan & Removal/Virual Scan & removal/Security updates & patches. That’s an hour and a half of bench time. And we have a backlog of computers usually lasting for days. It’s insane! I love subtling pointing out to people who bring in their computers (and ask me how to never have to deal with this stuff again) that my Macs don’t have spyware or virus/malware issues. It just simply doesn’t happen on Macs. In the meantime, people still bring in their computers for this problem, some have brought in their systems 3 to 4 times in a 3 month period. It just boggles the mind.

  2. My stock reply now to Windows using friends asking for help:
    “You have a virus, or a malware programme, or a worm, or a trojan, or a this, or a that, all because Microsoft designs software that allows idiots to make your life miserable! My best advice is to throw the PC into the toilet and go out and buy an Apple Macintosh. You�ll never need another computer, you never switch it off, it doesn�t get viruses or other malware and it makes computing fun and productive again � all without becoming a geek, or paying a geek to keep it working! But if you can’t do this, prepare for many happy hours tearing your hair out…”

    When oh when is the critical momentum going to change in favour of Macs – as they say has happened now with iPods?? Sheeesh.

  3. Why are Dell’s profits so low? They sell crap hardware at higher prices than similar spec (but higher quality) from Apple. They employ almost any tactics to reduce costs, they get tax breaks, financial support from MS and Intel.

    Now they are charging $39 to run an anti-malware software program.

    Where does the money go?

  4. Let’s me tell you were the money have gone to. Go to the man himself and look at where he live and what he drives and what his wife wear and the kids and it all total up to the billions. That what microsoft software get for the PC companys. Just think about it, you the PC user sitting there spending your hard earn money thinking how fast your little crap can run and how many games you can play. But you forgot your PC comes with half the software and hardware for $495.00 ho yea your get a free dvd burner if you act now.( Ha Ha Ha ).So company like Dell and HP get you with the small things like spyware protection and you keep call in everytime to fix this at $39.00 a pop. Let me start a PC company let see I call it Bottom Feeders Computers.*I need to ride around in a nice car or limo with a bodyguard call Bruno and a wife that say yes all the time cause got the money.

  5. ” Name for us anything else in history where people clung to the obviously inferior product and paid extra for the privilege of doing so?”

    Easy! There’s….no, not them. OK, there was…uh, no. Oh yeah, I remember! It was…no.

    OK, MDN. You are right again. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Every time when somebody says that Windows is superior I hit with the facts
    1) that there is over 90 000 viruses for the Windows and
    2) over 29 000 pieces of spyware.
    3) Windows gets more than 1000 new viruses every month.
    4) Windows is compromised when it is connected to the Internet under 20 minutes.
    5) Windows is down 1 months working time (5*8 hours) every year
    6) Microsoft has not done anything for these facts in the last 10 years and the situation only gets worse
    7) Cost of running Windows in the enterprise world is ludicurously high because of these facts.

  7. As many as 200 pieces of spyware? So there’s an upper limit? I don’t think so. Just yesterday, a friend of mine ran a spyware removal tool on his family’s Compaq and found well over 400 pieces of adware and spyware! It was so much that the checker bogged down and crashed. And yes, he is desperately trying to get his mother to replace that machine with a Mac.

  8. What’s really funny to me is when I’m at work viewing this website (on my PC, during lunch of course) I get pop up ads galore. But when I’m home using Safari… nothin, nada zip… it’s a beautiful thing.

  9. From the article:

    George said Dell is working with Microsoft to improve the security of the Windows computer operating system, but said no computer could ever be completely protected.

    No Windows computer, that’s for sure.

  10. A sign of the times-Last week I took a friend who is very high up in the accounting department at Microsoft to buy her first Mac. She said she felt guilty using her MS check to pay for a Powerbook but she had had enough with the PC virus problem.

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