But I feel a full on rant coming on, brought on by my favorite corporate shill, Robert Scoble. I know, I know, he's an easy target, but he really brings it on himself with absurd nonsense in defense of Microsoft.
My rant today is response to this bit of absurdity which Scoble posted in response to Dan Gilmor's criticism of Microsoft's position on security:
In winning and sustaining its monopoly in the operating system and browser markets, Microsoft has exposed countless millions of people to woes from security holes that have become conduits for viruses, worms and spyware. Now the software giant is planning to charge its captive customers to clean up the mess it created.
Robert Scoble goes on to describe how Microsoft are really good guys, after all, they released Windows XP Service Pack 2 for free, they released their (beta) Anti Spyware product for free, how more altrusitic can you get?
I suppose in Scoble's world, he thinks that when he buys a car which is later found to have serious defects, that the manufacturer's are being altruistic when they fix those shortcomings for free. But he's mistaken. Recalls are forced upon manufacturers because consumers need to be protected against systematic defects in automotive design and manufacturing which can cause loss of property or life. While consumers don't pay for these repairs when they are fixed, consumers do pay for them in the form of higher sticker prices on automobiles when they purchase them.
Software of course, is shipped without any warranty of any kind. Script kiddies break into your business' computer and deletes all your files? Not Microsoft's fault. Lose all your personal data to an identity theif? Not Microsoft's problem. Oh, and that will be $180 for XP, thank you very much.
Last I heard, Microsoft was still making stacks of money. They aren't doing anything for free, they are doing the bare minimum necessary to try to keep their business alive and growing. Often, this is more about creating the appearance of doing something about security than actually doing something about security.
The other thing to note is that part of the reason that IE7 and Longhorn have such substantial security updates is because Microsoft wasn't really ever focussed on security. Many of their systems are virtual construction sets for virus writers, and always were. Now they are playing catch-up, and asking to be praised for doing the work that they could have done years ago.
Sorry Robert, no free rides for Microsoft from this blogger.