Edo the Reliable ("Amin")

Microsoft: It’s a hoax; Symantec: Not hoax

In Design flops on October 25, 1999 at 5:10 pm

Originally Published in The Register, 25/10/1999

nortonWhen Microsoft and Peter Norton’s people do not agree on a Y2K issue, whose side will you be on? Just this situation developed when anonymous chain emails recently warned of a Y2K problem right in the heart of Windows default date format. The emails claimed that the “short date format WILL NOT rollover in the year 2000. It will roll over to 00”. According to the mail, this may have consequences in actual application software in millions of systems worldwide.

Although the mails I’ve seen were not rude or faked, Microsoft calls those mails “hoax” in a page on the Microsoft site. The page is titled Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT Year 2000 e-mail hoax and quotes an email similar to the ones I received, albeit slightly more anti-Microsoft. In another page, introducing Y2K issues, Microsoft bundles up the Y2K email with virus email, and urges home and small business users to “delete it or report to the sender’s Internet Service Provider”.

However, like the “hoax” email, Norton 2000 — a Symantec Y2K diagnostic application — warns the user against having two-digit year dates in the Windows short date format found under Regional Settings in Windows’ control panel. Like the “hoax” email, Norton 2000 suggests changing this format. I asked Symantec’s people for their reaction to Microsoft calling a Symantec-recommended, Norton-branded procedure a “hoax”. “As is often the case, they are mincing words quite fine,” said Colleen McKenna of Symantec.

My complete article on TheRegister.com

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