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Microsoft spins Android malware into Windows Phone giveaway

Microsoft spins Android malware into Windows Phone giveaway

Free Windows Phone 7 handsets to the best five stories of Android infection, touts Microsoft evangelist

Microsoft is using the latest malware campaign aimed at rival Android to give away new Windows 7 Phones to the five Android users who tell the best tales of woe.

"More malware on Android! Been hit? Share yr #droidrage story to win a #windowsphone upgrade. 5 best (worst?) win!" said Ben Rudolph, Microsoft's Windows Phone evangelist on Twitter late Monday.

In his tweet, Rudolph linked to a Monday Computerworld story about Google scrubbing 22 malicious apps from its Android Market.

The offer appeared legitimate: An hour after Rudolph tweeted, Microsoft's official Twitter feed noted the deal.

"That @BenThePCGuy...always causing trouble," Microsoft said. "Now he's giving away free Windows Phones to people with #droidrage. See his feed for details."

Several self-reported Android owners replied to Rudolph's offer on Twitter, claiming that they'd been recently victimized by bogus apps that racked up major text bills to premium numbers.

"I fell for the Cut the Rope SMS exploit, they got me for $352.26," said someone identified as TruSupreme

"I downloaded a 'software' that could help save battery but turned out to get my phone sent sms to some Chinese number," added "Jzn," also on Twitter.

But not everyone took kindly to Microsoft's blatant marketing move.

On the #droidrage hashtag, several people blasted the deal.

"Android malware victims offered free WinPhones by MS - 'Haven't they suffered enough?'" asked "Lord_Tubz."

"I love you Microsoft, but the #droidrage thing seems a little below the belt," chimed in Lucius Stone . "I would have expected this of Apple, not you."

Others pointed out that Microsoft shouldn't be casting stones, and cited reports today of a bug in Windows Phone 7 that disables messaging services after the smartphone receives a specially-crafted SMS or chat message.

As of 11:30 a.m. ET, Rudolph said he would continue to take stories from Android users for several more hours before deciding who will receive the free Windows Phone 7 handsets.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com .

See more articles by Gregg Keizer .

Read more about security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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