Microsoft Outlook patch delayed again

Microsoft Corp. said the security patch announced three weeks ago for its

Outlook 98 and 2000 e-mail clients will likely be released within the next

two weeks.

"They are doing extensive testing and targeting the next couple of weeks

[for release of the final version]," a spokeswoman said today.

Microsoft first announced the Outlook patch in mid-May as beta software.

The patch was issued in response to a growing number of virus attacks on

the vendor's e-mail software, culminating with the "ILOVEYOU" virus.

The company originally planned to release a full version of the patch in

the week of May 22. However, late that week, the company said it was modifying

the patch at the suggestion of users and would delay the release by a week.

Further rounds of compatibility testing have led to more delays, the Microsoft

spokeswoman said.

The patch will make it much more difficult for Outlook to launch and pass

on e-mail messages carrying computer viruses. A byproduct of the patch is

that some Outlook functionality is removed — certain attachments cannot

be read, for example — but Microsoft says a growing number of users are

willing to sacrifice such features in return for a higher level of security.

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