Microsoft slapped Apple in more ways than one during the company’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010 event. After it mocked the iPhone 4 calling it “their Vista,” Kevin Turner, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer, also noted that Microsoft’s software is superior in terms of security to that from Apple. The Redmond and Cupertino companies are locked in a relentless face-off, incessantly comparing products.

One of the main Apple marketing techniques designed to push the Cupertino company’s products over those of Microsoft was to claim that they offered better security. To this very day, one of the tactics used to sell Mac machines is to advertise an operating system that is not vulnerable to Windows malware. But malicious code aside, Turner emphasized that Apple’s software products are riddled with security vulnerabilities. Moreover, Microsoft’s COO pointed the finger at Apple software for being plagued by more security flaws than Microsoft’s products.

“And so we’ve got so much innovation, and it’s coming faster, and faster, and faster. We’ve got execution excellence in our product groups. We’re putting out some of the highest quality products in the history of Microsoft right now. And the number one product that we’ve ever produced from a quality standpoint, this will be no surprise in this room, is Windows 7, highest quality product we’ve ever put out. That’s all from customer feedback,” he stated.

“And when you look at one of the last surveys that I saw in the marketplace, Microsoft is not at the top on vulnerabilities and exceptions anymore. Number one is Apple. Number two is Oracle. They can have that first place mantle all they want as it relates to defects and vulnerabilities. That’s the only thing we’re going to give them. We’re delivering this innovation, and we’re committed to it,” Turner noted. (emphasis added)

Microsoft’ COO was citing data from a recent report published by Secunia. According to Secunia Half Year Report 2010, Apple is indeed the maker of the most vulnerable software available on the market today. Moreover, Secunia made it clear that Apple software has constantly accounted for more security vulnerabilities than Microsoft’s. Still, the Redmond company’s huge market share works in the detriment of the software giant, as Microsoft’s software is attracting the vast majority of attacks, despite being less vulnerable than Apple’s.

“Oracle (including Sun Microsystems and BEA Logic) ranked #1 in four out of five years overtaken by Apple in the first half of 2010, with Apple consistently ranking higher than Microsoft. Despite increased investments into the security of their products, none of the seven vendors who occupied the Top-10 group in 2005 as well asin 2010 managed to decrease the number of vulnerabilities discovered in their products. On the contrary, the vulnerability count of each of these seven vendors has increased to reach in 2009 between 136% and 440% of the 2005 count,” Secunia stated in the report.

“This analysis also supports the general perception that a high market share correlates with a high number of vulnerabilities. Apple (iTunes, Quicktime), Microsoft (Windows, Internet Explorer), and Sun Microsystems (Java, now part of Oracle) consistently occupy the top ranks during the last fi ve years, with Adobe (Acrobat Reader, Flash) joining the group in 2008. The ranking shown in Figure 2 does not indicate the actual security (or lack thereof) in the different vendors products; it rather shows that vulnerabilities continue to be discovered in significant numbers in products from even the largest and most popular vendors including those who spend significant resources on improving the security of their products,” Secunia added.

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