A Microsoft executive has claimed Windows users faced fewer days of security risk last year than users of other operating systems, including Mac OS X. Jeff Jones, strategy director at Microsoft's security technology unit, said on his blog that Microsoft ships patches more quickly than rival operating systems Apple Mac OS, Red Hat, Novell SuSE, and Sun Solaris.

Jones posted findings that claim to show Microsoft released patches for vulnerabilities in Windows faster than four competitors, and the data is backed by a Symantec executive. Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering at Symantec's security response group, said Jones' numbers looked reasonable: "Our latest ISTRs (internet security threat reports) had more or less the same."

Jones' calculations found that Windows boasted an average days-of-risk last year of just under 29 days, compared to Mac OS X's 46 days, SuSE Linux Enterprise's 74, Red Hat Enterprise Linux's 107 and Sun Solaris' 168. Windows XP was patched after an average of 53.3 days of risk, just 1.6 per cent faster than Apple's Tiger at 54.2 days of risk. SuSE and Red Hat came in third and fourth, with 56.2 and 70.5 days, respectively.