Bill Gates Trying (Again) to Console Computer Users by Lying to Them

October 22, 2004

In response to Gates has a plan: Compu-tainment, Published by USA Today on October 12, 2004.

USATODAY Speaking of security, Internet Explorer has had well-publicized holes
Gates Understand those are cases where you are downloading a third-party software. USA Today
Elliot Wrong. Get it fixed, bitch. Elliot Schlegelmilch

Yes. Among the security holes in IE is the ability of script written on a web page to change configurations in your machine—including changing your security settings, just by visiting the page. These get patched, but new ones keep cropping up. However Outlook is much worse than IE for security holes you could slide a semi with two trailers through sideways...

One of the biggest security holes in IE is that it has been mistakenly embedded into the OS by a software company that was being sued for unethical business practices... I could go off on a rant here, but I wont.

or how about:
Gates We're big believers in interoperability. USA Today
Elliot Schelgelmilch

Well, Microsoft (M$) is a big believer in interoperability on hardware, as long as the hardware is really variations on a single theme (Wintel or x86) and the software platform is M$. The thing Gates is trying to get to here is that MacOS and Apple software solutions really require that you get Apple hardware—SOUP does not run on Palms, it only runs on Newtons, and iTunes run on iPods, but not on third party MP3 Players (of course, WinCE doesn't run on Palms and other companies are making iTunes compatible devices..., but that won't stop Gates from saying that M$ is doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong.)

It seems that somewhere about fifteen years ago, instead of making software that worked on the hardware available (or that was even usable, practical, or desired), M$ started making software that met a certain 'cool' factor, then telling everyone that M$ made it, therefore it was:

  1. good and
  2. absolutely vital to computer users everywhere.

Therefore, the ignorant masses, knowing that M$ was infallible and that M$ made computers work and made computers better, decided that they needed the new thing. Then hardware manufacturers had to make machines that the new thing would actually work well on. The real difference here between Apple and M$ (on this particular issue) is that Apple has to (well, does) make their own hardware. For Apple to make a product and deliver it to market requires the software and hardware development. This means that

  1. when it comes from Apple, it is likely to work with the hardware available for it to run on, and
  2. it costs Apple significantly more to get it to market.

The benefit of this to Apple is that they get to make more money on the product once it does go to market. The advantage M$ gets is also twofold

  1. development costs are far, far lower to develop software than to develop hardware (especially if you skip over most of the QA phases of software development), and
  2. M$ can blame many shortcomings in their 'perfect' software on insufficient, non-standard, or outright incompatible hardware... (or they can change their hardware specifications post-launch when they find out what actually doesn't work...)

How about

Media Center PCs are default-configured to what we call Auto Update... (Consumers are) receiving not only the latest in terms of security work but automatically receiving improvements without having to do anything. Bill Gates in USA Today
We need to use approaches that block people from ever getting software onto the machine they don't want. Bill Gates in USA Today

i.e. M$ knows what you want, and we'll put it there, and you'll want it, and it doesn't matter if your hardware can't support it, you need it and you want it and if your hardware is out of date, that's your problem, and if you can't afford new hardware because you just spent far too much on a stupid M$ application that you didn't need or want, that's also your problem. It doesn't matter that 1) what you had did far more than you ever used or wanted it to do, or 2) the new thing being downloaded is almost as likely to open a security hole as close one, or 3) if all the systems are being updated at the same time, then the hackers know that EVERY system out there has the same security hole currently, or 4) not everyone has the multiple T1 lines necessary to run AutoUpdate without significant losses of service run into their living rooms...

And how about,

More has been invested in making IE secure than any browser on the planet by a long shot. Nothing is going to change. That's the one over 90% of people are going to keep using. Bill Gates in USA Today

I do not doubt that more has been spent on making IE secure, however, most of the fixes are not being implemented because they prevent things like 'Windows Update' from running or in other ways 'significantly impair usability.' Whether more money has been spent on making IE secure or not does not really matter, what really matters is that IE is the least secure browser BY FAR.

As far as people still using it, well first, there's the fact the M$ still illegally forces it on users - whether they want it or not, then the fact that you can't remove it. And on that subject, there are issues where JUST HAVING IE INSTALLED on your machine presents security holes.

And then there's (re: anti-virus/spyware protection),

It's not a thing you build in. You have to offer a service. There are third parties who are doing a good job. We're always taking a hard look, but we don't have any concrete plans. Bill Gates in USA Today

Anti-virus software is far more important to have built in to the system than a web browser. One is actually going to provide functionality that will save time, money, effort, data, and reduce stress and frustration, and the other is a toy. Which one does M$ build in and say is necessary—the toy—and the toy DESIGNED TO INCREASE VIRUS AND SPYWARE DISTRIBUTION!