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This week in Microsoft

Virus writers are targeting a new Microsoft tool that will be part of Windows and is set to ship as part of the next Exchange e-mail server release.

Virus writers are targeting a new Microsoft tool that will be part of Windows and is set to ship as part of the next Exchange e-mail server release.

A virus writer has published the first examples of malicious code that targets Microsoft's upcoming command-line shell, code-named Monad, according to Finnish antivirus maker F-Secure.

The tool was initially intended to be included in Vista. When news of the exploits came out, it triggered reports that they would be the first viruses for Windows Vista. But later Friday Microsoft clarified that the Monad viruses will not affect the client version of the operating system update, formerly known as Longhorn.

Readers quickly started offering feedback on this late-breaking story. Some, like Rob Rodriguez, wondered, "Since when is it the responsibility of the OS vendor to protect the user from viruses? It would be an impossible task to create an OS where it was simple impossible to create viruses. You would have a completely useless environment."

But Carl Johnson called some readers "dysfunctional and codependent apologists" and said the problem lies with the way Windows is written.

To help make its software more watertight, Microsoft wants its "Blue Hat" date with hackers to become a regular affair, with twice-yearly events where outsiders demonstrate flaws in Microsoft's product security.

In March, Microsoft invited several hackers to its Redmond, Wash., headquarters for the first time. The two-day meeting of Microsoft insiders with independent researchers provided each side with a glimpse into the other's world.

More news from Redmond
Microsoft appears to be moving toward accepting Web browser standards long supported by advocates such as the Web Standards Project.

Web authors, who have spent inordinate amounts of time coding Web pages specifically to accommodate Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, say that a Microsoft shift toward standards will mean they spend far less time and money developing work-arounds to accommodate IE, and the Web as a whole will grow more quickly.

That news followed word that Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 7 browser won't pass a stringent standards test that rivals have embraced.

In its browser blog, Microsoft acknowledged that IE 7 would not pass the Web Standards Project's Acid2 test, which examines a browser's support for W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) recommendations including CSS1 (Cascading Style Sheets), HTML4 and PNG (Portable Network Graphics).

On the personnel front, Microsoft Thursday named a Wal-Mart Stores executive to serve as its chief operating officer, a role that has not been separated out at the software maker for some time.

The software maker hired Kevin Turner to fill that post, in which he will oversee sales, marketing and other aspects of the company's functional units. Product units will continue to report up to CEO Steve Ballmer. Turner, who is 40, has been serving as CEO of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club warehouse unit. Before that, he was Wal-Mart's chief information officer.

In a hotly contested hiring, court documents unsealed this week showed that when it hired Kai-Fu Lee away from Microsoft, Google anticipated the prospect of legal wrangling with its rival. Google in fact had devised a Plan B for Lee--12 months of paid leave in the event the executive is barred from working at the search giant because of a noncompete clause with his former employer.