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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 08:27, June 26, 2007
Symantec compensates Chinese users affected by faulty update
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Symantec Corporation, the world's largest security software provider, announced on Monday a "goodwill" compensation package for Chinese users of a faulty update to its Norton anti-virus software, which paralyzed many computers across China last month.

Individuals users who were affected will have the period of validity for the anti-virus software extended by 12 months, plus free data backup and restoration software, according to a statement from Symantec.

Affected enterprise users would be permitted to use Ghost Solution Suite, the statement said.

The move came after angry Chinese users demanded compensation and even began legal proceedings against the company.

Symantec apologizes to users for "inconveniences" caused by the faulty update and so "sincerely provides a goodwill solution", said the statement.

The updating of the Chinese version of the Norton software, which started on May 18, wrongly identified two critical files of the Microsoft XP operating system as malicious codes and deleted them, causing computers to collapse.

Symantec sent a fix for the update 80 minutes later and the issue was resolved four and a half hours later, the statement said.

The company said it would draw lessons from the accident and reform its operations to solve such accident faster.

However, the "goodwill" solution may fail to offset the impact of its faulty update.

"Consumers are concerned about how the losses caused by the Norton software are compensated. Free software only is far from enough," said Lu Benfu, director of the Internet Development Research Center with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The compensation package is better than none, although it is not comprehensive," Lu said.

Symantec said about 50,000 users were badly affected, "which is different from media reports".

It had been reported that millions of computers in China have been affected by the faulty update, while some users said they suffered great losses from computer collapses.

A Chinese lawyer named Liu Shihui is seeking 1,644 yuan (213 U.S. dollars) in compensation for losses caused when his computer was paralyzed due to the update.

Liu claimed he had to hire technicians to restore his computer system and save data on May 20 after Norton service agencies refused to help him.

A Beijing client also filed a lawsuit seeking compensation of 50,000 yuan for data lost from his laptop.

An on-line survey by, a leading Chinese portal website, showed on Monday evening that about 74 percent of respondents said they would think twice when buying the Norton anti-virus software.

Symantec is one of the major players in China's corporate anti-virus market, accounting for about seven percent of the market by the end of last year, according to analysts International, a Beijing-based IT consultancy.

Source: Xinhua

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