Paying Micro$oft TwiceΒΆ

date:2005-11-06 18:01:17
category:Economics of Software

MS AntiSpyware “free” beta [link ]. Also, it appears [link ] to be called Windows Defender.

eWeek’s slavish lack of clue [link ]; Paul Thurott’s lack of clue [link ]; ComputerWorld, too [link ] had a sidebar “Plugging the Windows Hole” which was almost embarrassing.

Everyone treats this like it’s A Good Thing. Okay, so MS pays a lot of advertising dollars. That appears to be why no one says “MS Created The Problem ”, or “How Is a New Product Necessary? ” Couldn’t we fix the root cause of of malware: the unapproved installation of software with root-like powers? Couldn’t we have someone in MS-Land say “No” to installations on-the-fly? Couldn’t we fix the core OS to simply not do this?

I find it hard to believe that MS had to buy a spyware product at bundle it with their OS. I find it hard to believe for the following reason.

They claim that they wrote this “Windows” product. But they can’t seem to locate the bugs.

Just think about this for a moment. (1) They wrote the software. (2) The software permits malware. But, inexplicably, (3) they can’t locate the bugs which permit the malware. They can’t stop the surprise installation of software.

I read about products that “lock out spyware” [link ] with incredulity. If MS can’t fix the software they wrote, what does that mean? They didn’t write Windows; or the people who did write Windows are long gone; or worse, they don’t want to fix it. Spyware, it appears, is good for business. Or, Microsoft found Windows lying under a rock and can’t improve it or even correct it.

First, MS sells an operating system. Not to users, of course, but to Dell, IBM, HP, et. al. Second, MS sells patches to fix that operating system. They sell the fixes to the end users: a far larger revenue base with no ability to negotiate. And this also spins off an industry of admins, security consultants, hackers and patchers. All of which is no-value work that drags away time and money from value-creating activities.

I can already hear CP telling me that Microsoft has done great things for the world. Before MS Office, desktop integration was a nightmare. And I have to tell you CP, again, I’m not talking about their office suite, I’m talking about their bug-filled OS. And if you say that the bug-filled OS is the barrier to entry for using the Office Suite, I’ll have yet another embarrassing shouting fit in a public place. So, please, don’t bother. Just download Open Office and stop this – well – extortion.

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