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No Unfair Advantage In Early Patches, Says Microsoft

The fact that Microsoft makes patches available to some organizations before it rolls them out to the rest of the Windows world is not "preferential treatment," Microsoft says.

InformationWeek Staff

March 15, 2005

1 Min Read

The fact that Microsoft makes patches available to some organizations -- in particular the U.S. Air Force -- before it rolls them out to the rest of the Windows world is not "preferential treatment," a spokesperson said Tuesday, but is only part of the closed beta test Security Update Validation Program (SUVP)

"Microsoft formally implemented the [SUVP] for testing security updates, providing a small number of dedicated external evaluation teams limited and controlled access to security updates to test for application compatibility, stability and reliability in simulated production environments," the spokesperson wrote in answer to a question posed during Tuesday's security Webcast.

SUVP was disclosed by the Wall Street Journal last Friday; until then, the year-old program had been a closely-guarded secret. It's so secret, in fact, that a search on Microsoft's Web site for "SUVP" comes up empty.

Microsoft said that SUVP's testing is beneficial to everyone, since "the end result is high-quality update for customers."

The spokesperson denied that the Air Force, or any other organization or company participating in SUVP -- the Air Force is the only participant that's been named so far -- gets a jump when it comes to patches.

"The program is not designed to give the Air Force or any customer who participates in SUVP, a competitive advantage, and the service does not receive mission-critical patches before any other customer."

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