the US security software firm, has incurred the wrath of Chinese
businesses by releasing a flawed anti-virus signature update that has
caused their PCs to stop working.

The problem only affects those who use the Simplified Chinese
version of its anti-virus scanner on PCs running Windows XP SP2, which
is probably why the bungled update has not made much of an impact in
the west.

But it has in China. According to ZDNet Asia, Symantec's enterprise customers are now seeking damages for losses as a result of the error –damages which are could top 1m yuan in some cases.

The story is interesting on two counts. First, Symantec's China
operation apparently does not enforce the rigorous testing of product
updates that is now second nature for software companies in the west —
we rarely hear of fatal flaws in Symantec software released for western

Second, Chinese businesses have learnt quickly from lawsuit-mad US
and now threaten to sue western vendors who supply them with faulty
goods. If only it was so easy for western customers to sue Chinese

Symantec's Greater China representative apologised to affected
customers last week but stopped short of indicating if the company will
pay damages.

Happier news for Symantec in China:

  • Symantec is to create a JV with Huawei, the Chinese telecoms
    equipment maker, to develop and distribute security and storage
    appliances for telecommunications carriers — Huawei's core market.
    “Appliances” are a new fast-growing category of IT products that are
    dedicated to a particular function and combine both software and
    hardware. The JV, 51% owned by Huawei, will be based in Chengdu.

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