Microsoft Realizes No One Wants To Pay Microsoft To Fix Its Own Security Flaws

from the that's-how-it-works dept

Back 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. Yet, if they went free, then they would face screams about antitrust violations for undercutting competitors in the security software market. We also suggested a third option: design better software that doesn't need security software. But, failing that, Microsoft chose what I think was the worst of the three options: selling security software. Perhaps not too surprisingly, not too many people took Microsoft up on the offer. It could be a combination of reasons why. First, Microsoft just doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to security. Second, that whole issue of paying the same company that created the security holes in the first place. Finally, it might just be inertia. People buy from McAfee or Symantec because they're two names that have been around forever and are recognized (and, most importantly, bundled on many brand-name computers).

So, after a couple years of failing to make much of a dent in the market, Microsoft has abruptly shifted to option number two. It will no longer be selling its OneCare security software and, instead, will be offering a free security suite for users, though with fewer features than the old OneCare offering. The various security software companies put out statements saying, of course, that this is no big deal, but you have to believe they're now doing whatever possible to stir up some complaints out of the Justice Department that this is an antitrust violation. Maybe a few years down the road Microsoft will simply move on to option three, and make software that doesn't require separate security software.
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Filed Under: antitrust, free, security, software
Companies: mcafee, microsoft, symantec


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  1. identicon
    RealisticComputer, 19 Nov 2008 @ 12:52pm

    Apple fan boys are the worst. They surf the net with their over priced PC's thinking they are immune to everything. Ever think why Macs are not massively adopted by corporations? IT personnel will tell you they are not secure. Even the best architecture is not immune to security holes. The only reason this hasn't been realized yet is due to it's relatively small user base.

    While this doesn't prove anything, I found it interesting in some recent hacking tournament between Windows, Linux and OSX; OSX was exploited first and early in the tournament. The Apple fan boys cried.

    Whether people want to believe it or not, Windows is relatively secure. I have nothing against OSX, I think they have done a great job overall especially with the UI design and could give MS a serious run for their money if they released the OS on non Apple PC's for general home use where top security is not as important.

    - posted using an Ubuntu box

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