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Charles on… anything that comes along

Friday 7 April 2006

Filed under: — Charles @ 5:23 pm

Another Microsoft insider blogs (updated); and a security worry

  • The Vista saga: an opinion
    Talk is cheap. Every time I read rants about gutting Windows, firing all the VPs or making Windows open source I have one comment: I don’t believe you’d do it if it were your job to manage Windows. As easy as it is to yell orders from off the boat, I doubt most people, if given the helm, would put an $8 billion machine at risk. Certainly not now, as it would mean another 2 years of development. Besides, no one wants to be the one that tanked one of the greatest franchises in technological history (regardless of how that franchise was built). Even if big, bold moves are in order - I doubt most of us would have the guts to take those risks if we were personally accountable for the results. It’s a classic innovator’s dilemma situation.

    Very interesting (and long; but worth it) post by Scott Berkun, a UI designer who left Microsoft in 2003. Put like that, you would halt a little and say “Uh, what will we replace that $8bn with? Online adverts?”
    (Seen at Berkun blog)

  • (Scott added - in a comment that regrettably got eaten by my spam filters - “In the history department on how to replace a $8 billion business - the debate within Microsoft over how to move past the Windows platform has come up several times. The book How the Web was won by Paul Andrews, although heavily pro-Microsoft, does get into how Brad Silverberg (VP for Internet products) and others wanted to move to an Internet platform, leaving windows behind in 1998 (IE 4.0 was going in that direction). Jim Alchin according to the book, defended the Windows platform, BillG made his choice and Silverberg eventually left the company.” Thanks, Scott.

  • PBS | I, Cringely . April 6, 2006 - A Whole New Ball Game
    Last week, a Microsoft data security guru suggested at a conference that corporate and government users would be wise to come up with automated processes to wipe clean hard drives and reinstall operating systems and applications periodically as a way to deal with malware infestations. What Microsoft is talking about is a utility from SysInternals, a company that makes simply awesome tools.

    The crying shame of this whole story is that Microsoft has given up on Windows security. They have no internal expertise to solve this problem among their 60,000-plus employees, and they apparently have no interest in looking outside for help. I know any number of experts who could give Microsoft some very good guidance on what is needed to fix and secure Windows. There are very good developers Microsoft could call upon to help them. But no, their answer is to rebuild your system every few days and start over. Will Vista be any better?

    You’ll have to read it to find out. But I hope I’m not alone in finding it scary that someone from Microsoft could consider it as true that malware might be better than the average user at getting at a hard drive on a corporate system. Because if you wipe the HD clean, presumably there’s nothing of user value on it, because otherwise you’d keep that, but doing that might preserve the malware, right? Our systems are locked down from us, but not from those exploiting them. That’s perverse.
    Though Cringely does then rather spoil it with his signoff:

    I predict that Apple will settle on 64-bit Intel processors ASAP (with FireWire 800 please), and at that time will announce a product similar to Boot Camp to allow OS X to run on bog-standard 32-bit PC hardware, turning the Boot Camp relationship on its head and trying to sell $99 copies of OS X to 100 million or so Windows owners.

    No, Apple’s not about to do that. At all. It’s all about creaming off the Windows users with more money - as John Gruber points out.

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