Microsoft upset with Apple for partially blaming Windows for iPod virus

“Security and quality assurance experts reacted negatively to Apple Computer’s efforts Tuesday to blame manufacturing problems that resulted in iPod MP3 players shipping with a virus that affects Microsoft’s Windows operating system,” Paul F. Roberts reports for InfoWorld. “Security professionals, including Microsoft’s own product release virus scanning chief, called Apple’s efforts to deflect blame onto Microsoft misleading and said the batch of factory-infected iPods reveals a troubling lack of thoroughness in the company’s manufacturing process.”

Roberts reports, “On Monday, Apple released a statement on its Web site noting that a ‘small number of video iPods shipped with a Windows virus,’ which the company identified as RavMonE.exe. The number of affected iPods is small — less than 1 percent of all Video iPods available for purchase after Sept. 12, 2006, the company said in its statement, adding ‘as you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.'”

Roberts reports, “That statement drew criticism from security experts, including Jonathan Poon, the man in charge of scanning Microsoft products for viruses before they ship. ‘It’s not a matter of which platform the virus originated [on]. The fact that it’s found on the portable player means that there’s an issue with how the quality checks, specifically the content check, was done,’ Poon wrote in a blog entry.”

Roberts reports, “James ‘Randy’ Abrams, who held Poon’s job for more than a decade at Microsoft and is now director of technical education at ESET, agreed. ‘The Apple iPod incident was not about Microsoft having a hardy operating system, it was all about security and process,’ Abrams told InfoWorld in an e-mail message.”

Roberts reports, “Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPod product marketing at Apple declined to comment in detail about the iPod infections, but did acknowledge that around 25 systems were infected by a Windows system that was used during manufacturing to test compatibility with the devices. The RavMonE virus did not spread to the system through a network connection, but was installed by a peripheral device, he said.”

“Joswiak declined to speculate on whether the worm was intentionally introduced, or whether it was spread from an iPod to the machine,” Roberts reports. “He did, however, defend the company’s manufacturing and quality control procedures. ‘It was an exception to our process,’ he said. ‘We believe we have a good process and we’re going forward.’ Joswiak also stood by the company’s statement regarding Windows. ‘Isn’t that true?’ he responded when asked about the company’s statement about Windows not being robust in the face of viruses. ‘We tried to be open and explain what’s going on. We’re not trying to dismiss our role.'”

Full article here.
Apple stated that they were “even more upset” with themselves for not eradicating the Windows virus before it shipped on a small batch of iPods than they were with Windows for “not being more hardy against such viruses.” Apple clearly took the bulk of the blame and Windows’ astoundingly galling porosity certainly deserves its fair share of the blame. Yes, it should have been scanned perfectly, but let’s face facts, when even Bill Gates can’t manage to avoid Windows malware and Steve Ballmer spends two days unsuccessfully trying to clean Windows PC malware, something’s rotten in Redmond. Of course, Microsoft lackeys can’t handle the truth. Tough.

Related article:
Apple shipped Windows virus on small number of 5G video-capable iPods – October 17, 2006


  1. Best line ever:

    Security professionals, including Microsoft’s own product release virus scanning chief, called Apple’s efforts to deflect blame onto Microsoft misleading and said the batch of factory-infected iPods reveals a troubling lack of thoroughness in the company’s manufacturing process.”

    If that isn’t a whole ball of irony I don’t know what is.

  2. Microsoft — SFTU!

    The FIRST TIME you can release an OS or piece of software the can’t be hit by a virus for a DAY – then and only then can you complain about someone else blaming YOU for virus trouble.

    So I’ll say it again. Microsoft STFU!

  3. MDN Take: Right on.

    It’s incredible how websites (and people) are so quick to jump on the fact that Apple mentioned the truth about Windows without recognizing that Apple was “even more upset” with itself (actually, the subcontractors!).

    Anything to generate a controversy and traffic. So shallow!

  4. Found in a folded note tucked into M$’s desk:

    Check one and return:

    ____ I am known to be be infected with cooties, so leave me alone

    ____ I am known to be infected with cooties, and don’t remind me

    —- Secunia, McAfee, and Symantec already have cooties, and they like the itch

  5. I really hope this creates a trend for businesses to outright blame Microsoft for all the down times that will hit them due to that OS.

    It’s time to change the perception that Windows is normal computing and therefore you can’t do anything about it.

    Think different indeed.

  6. I’m sick of the media choosing to say “less than 1%” over “less than 25” when talking about how many iPods were affected.

    Apple should have never said “less than 1%” in their document to begin with.

    When you are talking millions of units, “1%” means a lot and saying “less than 1%” still implies a far greater number than “less than 25”.

    The media loves it because they can have a shocker teaser promo to keep people glued to the news until the segment comes up in the last 30 seconds of the broadcast.

  7. If mafia$oft would bite the bullet, and create an OS based on Unix, instead of staying with DOS, maybe they could get a real handle on the Swiss-cheese mess known as ‘Doze ..
    Sure, it would piss off some people cuz their 3.1 apps wouldnt work anymore, but wouldnt the end result be better security ?

    On second thought, maybe not..

    We are, of course, talking about MS, arent we ?
    They would probably find a way to screw that up, too !

    mdn mw = “Group” … as in… Do the folks in Redmond need a group-hug now ?

  8. “”Security and quality assurance experts reacted negatively…”

    Err the emperor’s minions don’t take kindly to being reminded that they never saw the nakedness.

    Maybe, the *kissers liked it that way, or it just made their life easier—same thing.

  9. Let me get this straight…Microsoft is mad at Apple for partially blaming them for having a POS OS that can pass on a virus that came from a machine using Microsoft’s OS that only affects other Microsoft OS’s? Awww…poor Microsoft. Sounds like someone needs a hanky. I think this is just about the karma that Microsoft deserves and I think it will only get worse. My friends at school are amazed at the things my mac can do that I take for granted everyday. Microsoft is on the way down and so are all the box assemblers. Educating the public is the key here. People are just so ignorant when it comes to computers–still! The FUD needs to stop and fast. You IT guys out there and you Windows fanboys: you arent doing your friends justice by telling them to get a Windows machine. Noobs need the protection of OS X. Windows is for uber geeks who like to walk the tightwire and hope not to fall.

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