Calling Microsoft's most-recent software security crisis a defining moment, CEO Steve Ballmer last week reiterated the company's vow to fix what is broken. Ballmer repeated promises to improve patching tools, including a single site to download patches, fewer installer technologies and smaller patches with fewer reboots. The improvements will come in mid-2004 along with an upgrade to Microsoft's Software Update Services 2.0, which will include platforms other than Windows, including Exchange, Office and SQL Server. Microsoft also will extend to next June security-patch support for Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 and Windows NT 4.0 and Workstation Service Pack 6a. Ballmer also said the network perimeter would be secured, starting with Windows XP Service Pack 2. That service pack is expected to ship by next September and reduce buffer-overrun and other vulnerabilities. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, due later this year, will inspect clients for malicious code before allowing them to connect to the network. Microsoft has been focusing on its Trustworthy Computing initiative since early last year, but bugs continue to plague the company's software.
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