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11/9/2006
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Fake Sites Insist Microsoft Bought Firefox

The parody sites tout the new Microsoft browser as "It's better now like seriously," but actually download Internet Explorer 7.

Tongue-in-cheek Web sites are claiming that Microsoft Corp. purchased Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox browser and then renamed it "Microsoft Firefox 2007 Professional Edition." However, when you try to download the new Web browser you actually get a copy of the Redmond, Wash. developer's for-real Internet Explorer 7.

Two sites -- www.msfirefox.com and www.msfirefox.net -- both direct to similar parodies that tout the newly purchased browser as "It's better now like seriously" and sport IE 7-esque features, including one dubbed "Cut Away Effect," which disables rendering of nine-tenths of a page to "save system resources." It also claims: "This is not a bug."

Other faux features include Firefox 2007's "TakeOver" technology that, according to the site, "protects the Windows Kernel by automatically recognizing all McAfee and Symantec programs as viruses."

In the last two months, Symantec and McAfee have both publicly criticized Microsoft for the PatchGuard technology in the 64-bit of Windows Vista, claiming that it blocks their access to the kernel and makes it impossible for them to create advanced security features.

The "Microsoft Firefox 2007" system requirements also tip toward the absurd. On the www.msfirefox.net site, the list includes "A Credit Card" and "Microsoft Office 2007 (Provides the ability to scroll webpages)."

Another feature claims that "Visiting the following sites using MS Firefox 2007 will cause your computer to shut down unexpectedly," then lists examples such as Google, iTunes, Apple, and Yahoo. The final item on the banned list: "Any sites with the phrase: microsoft/windows/explorer/vista/bill sucks."

Any attempt to actually download the bogus Microsoft Firefox 2007 Professional Edition from www.msfirefox.com actually retrieves Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's real browser. A download from www.msfirefox.net, however, pulls down a copy of Mozilla's Firefox 2.0 for Windows.

As of early Thursday morning, the www.msfirefox.com site was available; later in the morning, however, it was offline. The www.msfirefox.net site remained up.

Neither site's owner could be tracked down. The .com site's domain owner's information was cloaked by a privacy feature of the registrar, while the information for the .net owner was clearly fake.

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