Microsoft: the fox guarding the henhouse

It turns out that the bugs in Microsoft’s software that allowed an estimated $2 billion in damage and affected millions of PCs around the world, are only going to help the giant Redmond WA company’s cause. The rash of attacks has been a major boon to the antivirus software industry and now Microsoft is going cash in, according to a SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 story in Business Week.

“Says Laura Koetzle, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc.: “Microsoft will eventually monopolize the business.”'”

The prospect of Microsoft making money from its own shortcomings has prompted some cynical chatter in the industry. “The fear is of the fox guarding the henhouse,” says Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Counterpane Internet Security Inc.

Symantec CEO John W. Thompson asks “will they play fairly or will they abuse their monopoly position?” That’s a rhetorical question, right? Of course they won’t play fair. The government has shown Microsoft they have nothing to fear on the antitrust front.

Microsoft has not provided details, but the assumption is that they will make this a subscription service, offering the latest antivirus protection as new attacks emerge.

““When Microsoft enters an industry and includes the software in Windows, the sector disappears,” says Steve Chang, CEO of antivirus software maker Trend Micro (TMIC ) Inc. It’s a lesson the software industry knows all too well.”

A greater fear of mine is that they will use the fear of worms and security vulnerabilities, problems caused by bugs in their own software by the way, to justify the controversial “Palladium” which they are trying to sneak under rader under the new name: Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB, prononced ing-scub). There goes the Internet.