This April, the big news in viruses is SARS, but in April 1999, the virus on everyone’s mind was Melissa. The Melissa virus wreaked havoc on corporate networks as well as homes
and small businesses worldwide, paving the way for future viruses including Michelangelo, I Love You, Anna Kournikova, and Nimda.
Back when the Melissa virus was a hot topic, industry analysts and virus watchers expected like viruses to sprout as more individuals and businesses became connected to the Web. In August 2002, a spokesperson for McAfee confirmed this saying that viruses are being generated in increasingly larger numbers.
April 1999 also saw companies ramping up their Y2K preparations, but according to a Gartner Group Inc. study, 23 per cent of companies worldwide had not yet started to focus on the problem. Further, 83 per cent of those companies were small companies who were relying on vendors to take care of the issue. This was largely blamed on Y2K testing being an expensive proposition for companies with small staffs and tight budgets.
This wasn’t a problem faced by the Canadian government, which put $2.5-billion into Y2K preparation and later claimed that it was money well spent.
Comdex 99 in Chicago saw Microsoft’s CEO Bill Gates preach the gospel of the PC and the Internet, predicting that common appliances such as TVs and phones will soon be connected to the Internet. He also suggested that the bandwidth bottleneck could be solved with ASDL, cable modems and satellite connections.
The show also saw some signs of panic from distributors and VARs who saw themselves as potential roadkill in the Net-based economy. They feared that the existence of a channel could be seen as an unnecessary barrier between the manufacturer and the customer, as IBM, Compaq and others adopting Dell’s direct approach sales strategy.