Microsoft's new security mojo

Thursday, 13 November 2003, 11:37 AM EST

Recently, Microsoft announced a program to offer rewards in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who exploit its flagship Windows product through viruses, worms, and other forms of malicious code. Yet, despite the software giant's own executives saying publicly over a year ago that their products "weren't designed for security" the company continues to point fingers at third parties, hackers, and crackers as the source of the many problems plaguing the Windows-based portions of the Internet. It also demonstrates the ineffective organized chaos that remains Microsoft's response to the marketplace demands for better-developed, better-tested products.

Security (or lack thereof) in Microsoft's products has adversely impacted corporate profits for years, and finally is beginning to affect Microsoft's future profit potential as well. As a result, Microsoft suddenly is committed to improving security, despite its years of sitting idle. Hence the company's mad rush to inject "security" into every product, speech, and statement to reassure its customers that Windows is still a worthy operating environment to spend money on. It's even sponsored an upcoming report critical of Linux security to help spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Microsoft's chief competitor and underscore why Windows is a better product. Sadly, rather than address its own problems, the company is content to use creative marketing as a substitute for good security and software development.

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