Microsoft is Killing Another Product: OneCare
Over the past few months we have given many examples of services, divisions, staff and products Microsoft gives up on. In this latest case, a Microsoft product called Live OneCare is being bundled so that it is no longer sold separately in the form of a subscription. One interesting question would be, “What about Forefront, and security products from other vendors?”
Apparently, Microsoft finally reached the conclusion that that selling ‘security’ separately is wrong. Security really needs to be offered as a trait or feature that’s bolted onto the operating system, which ought to be inherently secure. As TechDirt puts it in its informative headline, “Microsoft Realizes No One Wants To Pay Microsoft To Fix Its Own Security Flaws.” It explains further that “[b]ack in 2005, when Microsoft was first mulling the idea of offering security software, we noted that the company was between something of a rock and a hard place. If it decided to charge for the software, people would accuse the company of trying to get people to pay to protect themselves from the security vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s own software.” The Microsoft-friendly BBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], on the other hand, already produces more promotional ‘articles’ which defend Microsoft’s mischiefs, including this one.
Creating more revenue by making deficient software and selling a solution to its ills is an unethical thing to do. There is actually some interesting history related to this announcement. As pointed out by a reader, Bill Gates used “security” as an excuse to reward himself time share on computers a few decades ago. As the page states, “The Computer Center Corporation’s business was beginning to suffer due to the systems weak security and the frequency that it crashed. Impressed with Gates and the other Lakeside computer addicts’ previous assaults on their computer, the Computer Center Corporation decided to hire the students to find bugs and expose weaknesses in the computer system.”
Prior to this it says: “In the fall of 1968 [...] Gates and his friends] caused the system to crash several times and broke the computers security system. They even altered the files that recorded the amount of computer time they were using. [...] the Computer Center Corporation decided to hire the students to find bugs and expose weaknesses in the computer system.”
They later got jobs this way: “…defense contractor TRW was having trouble with a bug infested computer similar to the one at Computer Center Corporation. TRW had learned of the experience the two had working on the Computer Center Corporation’s system and offered Gates and Allen jobs. However thing would be different at TRW they would not be finding the bugs ”
This may seem familiar because of claims like “Microsoft creates jobs,” where the jobs involve something like people cleaning viruses and wrestling with Windows. This also means that Gates et al had engaged in Technical sabotage long before DR-DOS days [1, 2]. In a way, Gates’ company continues to cripple or make deficient a system, which results in more labour and therefore more revenue. This relates to the “Broken Windows” theory, which goes like this:
“Imagine the town baker’s shop window is broken by an errant baseball throw. A unfortunate expense to the baker, one might say. But that is a narrow parochial view. Look instead at the benefit to the whole community. The window will cost $300 to replace. That money will go to the glazier who will then use his profits to buy a new sofa from the furniture store, who will then use his profits to buy a new bicycle for his child from the toy store, and so on. The money will continue to circulate in over-widening circles, bringing joy to all. The original loss of $300 by the baker will more than be made up for by the aggregate increase in the amount of goods and services exchanged in the town. Instead of punishing the little boy who broke the window, he should be raised up and praised as a Universal Benefactor and Economic Sage of the First Order.”
In summary and conclusion, contrast to Bill Gates, Richard Stallman did everything possible to give everyone access to computing resources that were not being used. It is the same problem which is computing scarcity, but the solutions were very different. One was entirely selfish and continues to exploit the position for personal gain. The other continues to help his neighbors. █
Gates: No! There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.
FOCUS: Oh, my God. I always get mad at my computer if MS Word swallows the page numbers of a document which I printed a couple of times with page numbers. If I complain to anybody they say “Well, upgrade from version 5.11 to 6.0″.
Gates: No! If you really think there’s a bug you should report a bug. Maybe you’re not using it properly. Have you ever considered that?
FOCUS: Yeah, I did…”
–Bill Gates, FOCUS Magazine, 1995