September 28, 2004

Microsoft's dilemma - they finally changed the mantra!

Over in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of Microsoft security, people are reacting in shock and horror at the decision to not upgrade (read: make secure) browsers older than the current Internet Explorer.

Can this be? Has Microsoft lost its collective marbles? The analysts are spinning on this one.

Yes, and no - wake up guys! This is as obvious as it gets. When Bill Gates sent around his security memo, and turned the focus over to security, we all knew this was an impossible task. Now, 2 years later, the impossible task has been realised. In the sense that now they know, not that they've done the impossible!

How do they deal with it? Well, there is no way that Microsoft can just turn around and release "secure" patches for all its software. That's not how security works, and that's not how big projects work.

This is a rewrite. Operating systems are not built in a day, nor a year. And security is done from the ground up, from the beginning, if it's to be any good.

To fix the OS for security, where before there was the kiss of marketing, is fundamentally a rewrite. Can it be done? Unlikely. Microsoft's internal challenge is to do as much as possible as quickly as possible and not blow their market away in the process. Something has to give, the task is just too big.

What has given is the older releases. Makes sense! If Microsoft has to concentrate its forces, it has to put the older stuff to pasture. Even if it means that the older users now find themselves loading up Opera, Firefox, Konqueror and others...

I believe this to be a conscious decision on the part of Microsoft. In military terms, this is a strategic withdrawal. They are giving up territory that they can't defend. The surprising thing is that it has taken this long to be revealed, even to them. Maybe Bill Gates vaunted ability to spin the company on a dime was a once off.

Posted by iang at September 28, 2004 05:55 PM | TrackBack