|PC Data has released statistics on a recent spike in virus protection software in the Windows world as a direct result the Melissa virus. The Melissa virus was a Word Macro virus that was able to propagate itself by grabbing names out of the Microsoft Outlook address book and e-mailing itself to those addresses. Mac users were not directly affected by the virus but could have been unwitting carriers passing it on to unsuspecting PC users. According to PC Data:
Retail sales of virus detection software increased more than 67 percent during the week of the "Melissa" computer virus scare, according to PC Data. The public announcement warning PC users of the virus spreading via infected emails motivated many consumers to seek assistance from virus detection software such as Norton Antivirus by Symantec (SYMC), and VirusScan and Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus by Network Associates (NETA).
Unit sales of Symantec's Norton Antivirus increased 78 percent and Network Associates' two virus detection titles, VirusScan and Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus, were up 51 percent during the week of March 28 to April 3, 1999.
"The increased use of virus detection products is one of few positive impacts of the Melissa virus," said Ann Stephens, President of PC Data Inc. "Virus detection software is currently installed on only 35 percent of PCs in the US and Canada. Melissa provided a wake-up call that the Internet may increasingly become a conduit for fast-growing, destructive viruses."
The Editor's Spin: I am writing this from my own perspective today. It amazes me what PC users put up with on a near-daily basis. Events like the Melissa virus are just part of the routine as far as many Windows users are concerned. "Time to buy the virus protection...." "Time to fix the IRQ conflict..." "Time to reinstall Windows..." " Time to pay someone to figure out why my scanner won't work after I installed it..."
I am not trying to suggest that Macs don't break or that we never have to reinstall the operating system, but events like the ones I mention are a COMMON occurrence in the Windows world. I personally see it all the time with my association with a Mac and PC repair and consulting company. Windows users put up with constant mediocrity and just lap it up looking for more. Most PC users put up with the kind of crap that would have most Mac users in an uproar.
Despite this, Windows-based PCs continue to sell like there is no tomorrow, which come December 31st will actually be the case for some PC owners.
It's enough to get frustrated about sometimes which is what happened when I read the press release from the good people at PC Data.
Before I get inundated with "You're Wrong!" mail, I am not saying Apple is perfect (they aren't) or that Macs never break (they do). But they do tend to work right most of the time.