If Microsoft wanted to make me happy in 2005—which the company keeps telling me (and all its other customers) is a top priority—I have a very easy way they could do it: Make me a non-combatant.
Like most of you, I am spending inordinate amounts of time and a fair amount of money (even with free review software) fighting computerized evil. But I am doing it as a Microsoft conscript. Fighting Redmonds battles seems to be a war without end, either in time or money.
Most of the security challenges I fight each day relate to something Microsoft did or did not do. This is one loop I want to be taken out of. It should be Microsoft that fights its enemies, not you and me.
The naïve "fathers of the Internet" also own a big share of the blame, but they are harder to pin down. They can also claim to have created a monster that broke out of their labs and into the world at-large, doing something it was never intended to do.
In 2005, Microsoft needs to take responsibility for its security troubles and unburden its customers. And once Microsofts customers become non-combatants, the company should respect the Geneva Conventions, which require that civilians be protected as much as possible.
Microsoft has an obligation to provide, for free, all the security software that a typical customer would need, including the ongoing updates. OK, maybe not an obligation—Microsoft didnt sign the Geneva accords and only seems like a government. Still, doing the right thing usually is obligatory.
Microsoft is perfectly capable of protecting its customers and is already doing it to an extent with anti-spam and firewall technology. In mid-2003, Microsoft purchased GeCAD, an anti-virus company, but so far has nothing to show the public for it.
So maybe Microsoft needs to buy another security company and keep it independent but start giving its products away. I think Symantec would be a good candidate for this. Ive never understood why Microsoft allowed the company to exist in the first place.