The Windows Update (KB4078130) in question is something of a rarity, as not only did Microsoft rush it out over the weekend (rather than waiting until Tuesday, the usual day Microsoft releases updates), but it directly disables a security patch released by Intel. In the meantime, I imagine Intel will be pushing out an updated version of its patch later this week.
Even before that news emerged, Intel and other technology companies were already under scrutiny for working quietly behind the scenes to resolve the chip-level flaws without notifying the public.
"Intel's tricky path - inform enough big customers to head off significant damage while keeping the information as contained as possible to limit potential leaks - continues to weigh on smaller companies that weren't given an early nod", the Journal's report read. On Friday, Intel wrote in a press release that patches to its chips "may result in adverse performance, reboots, system instability, data loss or corruption, unpredictable system behavior, or the misappropriation of data by third parties".
Update KB4078130 was delivered in haste to reverse the system instability that Intel's Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 Branch Target Injection) could cause. This update fixes the Reboot issues faced by Intel devices because of the earlier released official Specter fixes.
An Intel spokesperson said that the company was unable to notify others, including the USA government, as the bugs were made public earlier than the decided date which was January 9.
As of January 25th, there have been no known reports of these vulnerabilities being used to attack users but that doesn't mean that this will be the case going forward.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) announced recently that it had issued a warning to several customers, including the Chinese technology firms about the possible security flaws within its processor chips, but did not inform the United States government.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that they have committed to keeping their customers and owners appraised of their progress and, through their actions.
Intel's move isn't sitting well with USA security experts. However in these days of "cyberwarfare", there is some cause for concern that foreign companies may have communicated this information knowingly or not, to their respective governments.