On Wednesday, Apple’s iPod support website acknowledged that a small number of video iPods were infected with a Windows virus. In addition to describing the scale of infection and providing instructions to remove the virus, the website blamed Microsoft Windows for the glitch.
“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.”
Apple’s “114,000 viruses? Not on a Mac” advertisements have lately targeted Windows users to ‘Get a Mac’. Presumably, someone at Apple [AAPL] believed that blaming Microsoft Windows for viruses on the iPod could extend its ‘Get a Mac’ campaign. The outcome is a cheap shot at the competition.
The iPods were apparently infected with the virus at one of Apple’s contract manufacturers. There is no reason for Apple to be “upset” at Microsoft for not being more hardy against such viruses.” Microsoft [MSFT] has invested significant resources (money and talent) fighting hackers and improving its software development process. As Jonathan Poon of the Microsoft virus-scanning group pointed out on his blog, Apple should blame its own manufacturing system.
“It’s not a matter of which platform that the virus originated. 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.”
Apple should also blame hackers, who were creative enough to get malicious code embedded on an Apple product while it was connected to a Windows machine on Apple’s manufacturing line.
The take-away lessons: (1) possess a healthy respect for the competition, and, (2) blaming the competition without cause constitutes poor taste.