Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is to give the U.S. government priority in fixing security holes in Windows and other software, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Under a plan to take effect later this year, Microsoft will give the U.S. Air Force versions of software “patches” to fix serious security vulnerabilities up to a month before they are available to others, the paper said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will give advance notice of problems to other government agencies and distribute patches to them, the Journal said, citing officials at Microsoft and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
Two ways of looking at this: Since Microsoft releases all of its patches on a single day each month (Patch Tuesday), the Air Force could simply be getting the patches as they’re written, which is not a big deal. On the other hand, if MS is holding back completed patches till the following month, its not just bad for consumers, its bad for Microsoft, makin their products less safe (and hurting them, PR-wise). I hope its just the first one.
In legal news, Microsoft settled with Burst, who alleged they stole Burst’s technology and built it into Windows Media Player.