By Sumner Lemon
IDG News Service
25 June 2007
Symantec is to offer Chinese users compensation for a faulty update that
knocked out 50,000 PCs. The company hasn't acted fast, it's taken more
than a month to make the offer, which is only good for a couple of
Symantec's problems in China began on 18 May, when it released a bad
software update that caused its Norton anti-virus software to wrongly
identify two system files in the Simplified Chinese version of Windows
XP as malware and quarantine them. That mistake, which Symantec blamed
on "an automated process," left tens of thousands of PCs crippled and
Internet bulletin boards full of angry posts.
Chinese users who lost data because of Symantec's faulty update demanded
compensation, and at least two lawsuits were filed against the company.
But Symantec has been slow to respond, saying earlier this month it was
considering requests for compensation.
After five weeks, Symantec is ready to make amends. The company is
offering affected Chinese consumers a 12-month Norton licence extension
and a copy of Norton Save & Restore 2.0. Corporate customers are being
offered Symantec Ghost Solution Suite licences, depending on the number
of PCs affected. Symantec is not offering to extend Norton licences for
corporate customers affected by the bad update.
Symantec described its offer as "a gesture of our goodwill."
Chinese users will have to move fast if they want to take Symantec up on
the deal. The company is only accepting applications for compensation
during a brief window of time: from 27 June 27 to 15 July. The company
didn't say why the period is so short, but said it was a sufficient span
"We are offering more than two weeks for the registration period which
we believe is a reasonable period of time for customers to register,"
said Catriona Turner, a Symantec spokeswoman. "If there are legitimate
reasons why a particular customer is unable to register by 15 July, we
will give consideration to extending the date for that customer."
Turner said the terms and conditions of the compensation offer did not
require users to forego the right to legal action over damage caused to
their systems by Symantec's update. "We hope that our customers will
recognise that we are offering this goodwill gesture in recognition of
any inconvenience caused by this incident," she said.
Attend Black Hat USA, July 28-August 2 in Las Vegas,
the world's premier technical event for ICT security
experts. Featuring 30 hands-on training courses and
90 Briefings presentations with lots of new content
and new tools. Network with 4,000 delegates from
70 nations. Visit product displays by 30 top
sponsors in a relaxed setting. Rates increase on
June 1 so register today. http://www.blackhat.com