2001: The Year in Review, part 2
Part 2 of 2
On the subject of Microsoft and its business practices, litigation was the order of the day in 2001 for the world's largest software company. First they were to be spilt up, then they could stay together, then some states were happy, then some were not. Just when you thought that Microsoft had spent as much time in a court room as any one company could want, lawsuits were filed in December against a company called Lindows which is intending to release a new product that allows Windows applications to be run on a Linux platform. According to Microsoft, the company is attempting to trade on the reputation of the Windows product line. It was from the Microsoft vs Lindows argument that perhaps the best quote of the year came. In an interview with Reuters on the topic, Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows.com, was quoted as saying "All I know is that I'm being sued for unfair business practices by Microsoft. Hello pot? It's kettle on line two."
Viruses made regular appearances in the headlines of 2001. July saw the Code Red worm wreak a degree of havoc with sites that used Microsoft's IIS product, though the predicted mass shutdown of the Internet that the virus was forecast to cause didn't materialize. This was largely attributed to diligent system administrators rather than the virus not spreading.
End users didn't have it any easier. With the 'Love Bug' and 'Anna Kournikova' viruses taking advantage of peoples curiosity, it seemed like each day opening email was going to become an adventure in its own right. The cost of the virus outbreaks was calculated in the billions - 2.6 of them for Love Bug alone, in fact. The effect on the stock of anti-virus companies was not as distinct as some had expected, they too being subject to the general economic downturn.
As the season of goodwill approached, the virus writers were good enough not to forget the rest of us with an early Christmas present in the form of the Goner virus. Not content with that, they then produced a virus that circulated in e-greetings cards. On the subject of greeting cards, the Hallmark.com site, which provides free e-cards, couldn't keep up with the demand. A sign of our increasing acceptance of such things perhaps, or an indication that budgets were even tighter than everyone had expected for the festive season?