The "butterfly effect" gained a lot of popularity with the release of the less-than-Oscar-worthy Ashton Kutcher movie of the same name. But the concept has been around for a lot longer -- since the 1960s, as a matter of fact, when a meteorologist postulated that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a ripple in weather patterns that generates a tornado in Texas.
As fellow Fool Rich Smith has recounted, Microsoft
Microsoft's wing flap sent ripples -- and shivers -- across the industry and sent the stock prices of antivirus makers McAfee
Computer security is a growing concern, particularly with Microsoft products. At the same time it announced buying Sybari, Microsoft also released a security warning about eight new "critical" flaws in its Windows and Office products that could give access to hackers. (It also identified four lesser threats.) In January, it began offering free spyware-blocker downloads to prevent programs from generating unwanted pop-ups and secretly recording user activity.
While Symantec does account for a substantial portion of Digital River's revenues, the sell-off in its shares seems a bit overblown. Sybari is in the enterprise market, selling antivirus and anti-spam software to more than 10,000 businesses and government agencies. It's not in the PC business, though one imagines that Microsoft might be able to convert it to such use in the future. This is more akin to Symantec's Brightmail, which it purchased last June, and which would seemingly have little impact on Digital River.
Equally important, the e-commerce provider has joined forces with Microsoft to offer digital downloads to more than 200 online retailers, including Best Buy
Last month, shares of Digital River sold off following news that Computer Associates
It looks to this Fool as though it's more of a butterfly caught in a breeze instead of a gale.
Read more about the digital-download revolution:
Fool contributor Rich Duprey enjoys canoeing on the Lamoille River in Vermont. He owns shares in Digital River but does not own any of the other companies mentioned in the article.