Many Microsoft Windows users who downloaded the recently released AntiSpyware program from Microsoft, or had it installed through an automatic Windows update, woke up to a surprise. Unintentionally, the heuristics of the software detected Internet Explorer as spyware, and removed the program from their systems.
AntiSpywareMicrosoft has pulled the program from its website until the problem can be corrected. Elias Weatherbee, a Microsoft representative, said the program was "only in beta" and that "a fix was forthcoming."
"It shows how powerful our AntiSpyware program is," said Weatherbee. "Not only is it able to remove spyware from the system, but also the source of most spyware. Our competitors can't match that."
A representative from Lavasoft, which sells Ad-Aware another spyware removal program, complained that Microsoft was using its monopoly and knowledge of the operating system to "offer features that others can't match."
"Tough s**t," said Weatherbee.
Many computer users did not view this new "feature" positively. "I tried to check the weather this morning and all my little blue 'e' icons were missing. I couldn't get to the Internet at all. I guess I'll have to get a new computer," said Windows XP user Graham Newton.
Users of alternative browsers were happy to see Internet Explorer gone. Thad Freeman of the Mozilla Users Group said, "I've been trying for years to get rid of Internet Explorer. I never imagined that Microsoft would do it for me. I'm ecstatic."
Microsoft technical support was advising customers to reinstall Windows to regain Internet access and to disable automatic updates.
Symantec Antivirus Research reported that virus sightings were down by 95% this morning.