Businesses need immediate solutions to software problems, and if Microsoft does not deliver it will face a loss of public confidence, says Simon Moores.
When Bill Gates' "Security Progress Report” arrived in my inbox, it was almost lost when my Outlook client decided to treat it as dodgy and file it under deleted mail.
Bill’s message, however, presses all the right buttons.
Microsoft is doing better, trying harder and is ever so more humble than at any time in its history. It’s investing zillions in remediating its software and is supporting any initiative which encourages business and the public to avoid the danger of digitally communicated diseases.
So why are we still in a mess?
Consultancy mi2G tells us that in the first quarter of 2004 the economic damage from malware - virus, worm and Trojan - proliferation alone reached an all time high of between $122bn (£66bn) and $150bn worldwide, dwarfing the impact from malware throughout 2003, when the damage was estimated to have been between $82bn (£44bn) and $100bn worldwide.
Certainly, we can all agree that the past 12 months have been expensive, and that Microsoft is seen to carry much, if not most, of the responsibility for the problem.
This isn’t always fair because in a number of areas such as social engineering attacks - for example MyDoom - people are still opening suspicious attachments, and believe that a 1999 copy of Norton anti-virus software will keep them safe from the latest threats.
Bill Gates writes bravely of the future and downstream Microsoft technologies which demand “fundamentally new thinking about software quality, continuous improvement in tools and processes”.
However, the basics need to be sorted out before we start star-gazing into the future. For example, I have a wireless network at home and I can't get Wep encryption to work properly on Windows XP, which should be seamless.
As I take the train to London with my wireless card plugged into my laptop, other people's networks pop up as I pass through the towns.
Unless Microsoft quickly and creatively sorts out the runaway consumer and small and medium-sized enterprises security problem, it runs the risk of a catastrophic loss of public confidence when the next big virus or worm comes along.
Government and big business are fed-up. What we need is immediate solutions to today’s problems and we’ll worry about Microsoft’s next generation of products at a later date.
What do you think?
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Setting the world to rights with the collected thoughts and opinions of leading industry analyst Dr Simon Moores of Zentelligence.
Acting globally, Zentelligence (Research) advises governments, suppliers, business and the media on the evolution, application and delivery of leading-edge technologies and specialises in the areas of eGovernment and